How to use message testing to boost B2B SaaS sales
Testing is a fundamental part of marketing. Very few websites launch without usability testing. Paid media specialists A/B test their creative. However, when it comes to messaging, most marketers rely on their instincts.
Messaging is hugely important in the success of marketing programs. The clarity, resonance, and persuasiveness of your copy has an outsized impact on the performance of everything from ads to landing pages.
In this article, we’ll explain why testing messaging throughout the marketing and sales funnel is critical and provide an implementation guide. You’ll have all the knowledge you need to gain an edge against competitors in your market.
The SaaS sector came into existence around the turn of the millennium. It’s now made up of an estimated 30,000+ businesses, according to Latkas’s database. The vast majority of those businesses are based in the USA:
Global spending on SaaS products has grown year-over-year for almost a decade. In that time, it’s increased by over 5x and is now projected to surpass $200 billion in 2023.
New market entrants are flooding into the space and creating a more competitive sales environment.
Leveraging the power of messaging in the marketing and sales funnels is one of the most effective methods of fighting back against the competition. It offers the potential for outsized returns because messaging is present and central at every audience touchpoint.
Unbounce applied an AI deep learning model to measure landing page performance and found that copy is twice as important as design in driving conversions. This indicates that under-optimized messaging is one of the biggest factors holding back sales performance for most businesses.
Message testing is key to effective marketing. Rolling out paid ads with untested messaging or driving traffic to a landing page with low conversion rates is wasteful. However, many marketers still struggle with optimizing their message.
How successful would your sales pitches be if you couldn’t see or hear the person you were pitching to? Without body language cues, verbal feedback, or nods of agreement, it would be impossible to figure out where your pitch hits and where it misses. The only indicator of its effectiveness would be whether the prospect converts. Even if they did, you wouldn’t know why.
This is the situation most marketing departments face with their sales messaging.
They run a campaign, analyze results, and try to make improvements using the few insights available to them. But those insights are top-level and binary—often limited to conversion statistics. They only tell you whether the ads were successful or not.
Trying to improve click-through or conversion rates with these insights is marketing with a handicap. You lack nuanced detail about what specific elements of the ads or messaging approach held back performance.
A/B testing is one of the most popular ways of measuring messaging performance. Builtwith reports that over 40% of the top 10,000 websites by traffic used this method in 2022.
But A/B testing doesn’t align with the idea of “testing before investing”—budget must be spent before any insights are delivered. It also suffers from the same binary output problem that analyzing the conversion results of a campaign does. It can tell you which out of a set of two messaging options is more successful, but not why.
The best way of optimizing messaging for conversion is to test it qualitatively before deployment.
Qualitative testing using a panel of relevant respondents offers several outstanding benefits:
Panel-based message testing allows you to fine-tune each step of your marketing and sales funnels. Implementing changes based on the findings results in messaging that certifiably resonates with your ICP. That, in turn, improves the efficiency of each touchpoint and drives more sales.
Wynter is a B2B message testing product, featuring a panel of verified professionals across a range of job roles and sectors. It can be used to get detailed feedback on messaging from people who fit your ICP within 48 hours. The benefits of testing with Wynter can be broken down into five specific outcomes:
Messaging is not either perfectly clear or uninterpretable. Some messages are more easily understood than others, and the objective is to write copy that is as quickly and easily absorbed as possible.
This is especially important to understand in the context of Nielsen’s findings that only 16% of web users read pages word-by-word. 79% scan instead.
Effective messaging should leave users no choice but to understand. Nielsen’s recommendations—to be concise and use objective language—are a great start to achieve this objective. But you can only verify the clarity of your messaging by getting specific feedback from real users.
Wynter’s customizable question sets facilitate this, allowing you to get quantitative Likert Scale data that helps you answer questions like:
You can also get qualitative insights by asking follow-up questions that highlight what makes the message unclear.
“Features tell, benefits sell” is a common saying in product marketing. Your audience doesn’t want your product, they want the results your product offers.
Ahrefs, a market-leading SEO tool, demonstrates how to apply this concept in messaging on their homepage. They lead with the benefit that they know their ICP is interested in—higher keyword rankings and the resultant organic traffic:
Imagine if they were to instead dedicate their homepage headline to features:
Not only is this approach less concise and harder to scan, it’s far less compelling. SEO beginners, who make up a portion of their addressable market, might not even understand some of the terms.
With that in mind, it’s clear that knowing which product benefits most resonate with the needs of your ICP is a huge advantage.
Message testing with Wynter can be tailored around understanding your ICP’s thoughts on the benefits your product offers. Most importantly, you can learn which product benefits resonate most and create messaging that focuses on them.
In overly complex or technical sectors where knowledge and proficiency ares amassed through years of experience, messaging written by anyone outside the industry can lack important nuance.
This results in a discord between the message and the reader. Whether it’s misuse of a technical term or a problem framed in the wrong way, small mistakes stand out. They delegitimize the copy and, by extension, the product.
That makes message testing particularly important in complex sectors, where nailing the details is the difference between resonating with the ICP and invalidating your business.
Wynter’s B2B panel is made up of professionals spanning 50+ job functions across a range of industries. You can tailor your message testing audience to the people that matter most to you, allowing for valuable insights into how well your messaging conveys competence and understanding.
“Kill your darlings” is a common piece of advice in creative writing. It refers to the idea that, no matter how attached you are to an element of your work, you must be prepared to “kill” it if it detracts from the whole.
Brand messaging and marketing copy is often composed based partly on internal preferences. It’s not uncommon for a CEO or Marketing Director to strong-arm messaging in a certain direction for reasons that are far from objective.
The danger here is that it doesn’t matter how much the message resonates internally, it only matters how well it resonates with the intended audience. Becoming comfortable with the idea of critically editing and “killing your darlings” is crucial to avoid falling into this trap. Message testing is how you tell which darlings need to die.
This is another example of a situation where qualitative insights are the only solution. There’s no way to tell which elements of your messaging fall flat without detailed responses from real people.
Wynter allows you to get these responses, by customizing the question set to query your ideal audience on the relevance of specific sentences or phrases. It’s a way of settling messaging debates with data.
Panel-based message testing with qualitative outputs presents a unique opportunity to get the answers to questions no other testing method facilitates, such as:
When the margin between your business and a competitor is razor-thin, insights like these can inspire edits that transform your messaging from good-enough to better-than-the-rest.
Testing sales and marketing messaging through Wynter is a simple process that delivers incredibly detailed and formative outcomes:
Wynter has a proprietary panel of B2B professionals that make up the audience for message testing. They cover various roles and levels of seniority across a broad range of sectors.
You can narrow down your target audience to panel members who fit certain criteria, including the size of the business they work for and what sector they operate in.
Next, configure the test parameters by choosing how large the panel is. You can also ask one of our CRO experts to compile a detailed summary of the message testing results for you.
With the test audience and parameters set up, you can add the creative you want to test. If it’s already live on-site, simply paste the URL. If not, upload image files.
Wynter also allows you to highlight up to three areas you want particularly granular insights on. This provides a unique opportunity to get detailed responses about headlines or specific sections.
Finally, you can create or customize the test questions. Wynter provides a pre-made set, ready to go as soon as you load up your creative. If you’ve got specific aims, you can write your own questions from scratch and get more targeted insights.
The more clear, resonant, and compelling the messaging throughout your marketing and sales funnels is, the better it will work to drive clicks or conversions. This makes message testing one of the most lucrative opportunities most marketing departments are missing out on.
By adopting message testing as part of the rollout strategy for your marketing campaigns or using it to fine-tune your existing sales funnel creative, you can gain an all-important edge in an increasingly crowded market.
Out now: Watch our free B2B messaging course and learn all the techniques (from basic to advanced) to create messaging that resonates with your target customers.