The 12 Best Product Marketing Software for SaaS in 2021

Best product marketing software for SaaS

Put simply, good product marketing software helps your SaaS solve two fundamental problems:

  1. Build a product that users love on the basis of customer feedback
  2. Acquire and retain users of that product

Although these are fundamental issues in any business, the term “product marketer” is itself still fairly new, and defined slightly differently from business to business.

Having the right software at your disposal can make product marketing significantly easier, especially if you’re new to the profession.

But how do you choose good product marketing software? And what value does it add to both the product and the marketing departments?

This post will explore these topics in detail.

Contents

 

TL;DR

  • Product marketing is concerned with marketing to leads at the bottom of the funnel, or to existing customers.
  • Quite a lot of this marketing is done in your product itself.
  • Having dedicated product marketing software can make or break the success of someone in a product marketing role.
  • Product marketing software tends to focus on either user analytics, in-app communication, user engagement or product adoption.
  • Userpilot excels in 3/4 of these categories.

What is product marketing?

Compared to most marketing, which focuses on acquiring leads at the top of the funnel, product marketing is more concerned with the consideration and decision parts of the buyer’s journey.

In particular, product marketers need to focus on marketing to existing customers inside the product itself. Since it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one, upsells and subscription renewals are critical revenue sources.

Natália Kimličková, product marketer at Kontentino, describes her job as follows:

natalia kontentino

What is product marketing software?

Unfortunately, most product marketers still depend on tools like Docs and Sheets to get their work done.

While there’s nothing wrong with Docs or Sheets per se, they’re generic tools by design. They don’t have the features product marketers need, such as tracking user data and communicating it across your whole team.

This is where product marketing software comes in. Good software will, as far as reasonably possible, automate the processes of:

To be frank, it’s almost impossible to be a good product marketer without the right software supporting you with the above processes.

What are the different types of product marketing software?

You can think of product marketing software as largely broken down into 4 categories:

  1. User analytics: software that analyzes users’ in-app behavior and discerns their needs.
  2. In-app communication: software that surveys and starts interactive conversations with users inside your product.
  3. In-app user engagement: software that keeps users engaged with your product and helps with retaining them as customers.
  4. Product adoption: software that ensures users activate, plus adopt any secondary features relevant to their specific use case.

Let’s look at the best product marketing software for each category in turn.

Best product marketing software for user analytics

Tool 1 – Userpilot

userpilot logo

Userpilot is a great tool for gathering data about your customers, analyzing it, and turning that analysis into actionable insights for both product and marketing alike.

Unlike other tools, which often acquire data by emailing your customers, Userpilot creates insights by processing users’ in-app behavior.

In particular, Userpilot is known for its in-app microsurveys, which are short surveys that are shown to a user inside your product according to a given user’s individual behavior.

userpilot nps

Once a user has filled out a quantitative microsurvey, such as an NPS survey, Userpilot is able to automatically follow up with a qualitative microsurvey, as a means of gathering further data for customer analysis.

follow up survey

Source: Postfity

Once this data has been collected, Userpilot gives you a range of different options for categorizing it. For example, if you wanted to organize data collected from an NPS microsurvey, you could potentially do so in the following ways:

  • By NPS score
  • By promoters, passives and detractors
  • By company email
  • By keyword, using custom tagging
  • By customer segment
  • By demographics

(Read this post about segmentation for step-by-step instructions on how to organize customer data with Userpilot.)

Organizing customer data makes it much easier to see patterns. For example, your analysis might show that enterprise customers tend to be promoters, but new users tend to be detractors. This would be a sign that you need to improve your onboarding, perhaps with an interactive walkthrough.

Userpilot is available starting from $249 per month for up to 2500 MAUs. Get a demo today!

Tool 2 – Hotjar

hotjar

Hotjar is a behavioral analytics tool best known for its eponymous heatmapping function.

It primarily gathers user data by recording browser actions from inside your product. This process is called session recording, and involves everything from clicks to mouse movements. It’s possible to rewatch session recordings multiple times to deepen your understanding of your user journey.

Less well known, but no less valuable, is Hotjar’s ability to survey users in-app. You can use Hotjar to create survey widgets in multiple formats, including NPS. This feature is comparable to Userpilot’s microsurveys.

If you put both of these data sources together, you get a nice blend of qualitative data (session recordings) and quantitative data (NPS surveys). Having this data to hand will make your life as a product marketer much easier than if you were just analyzing on the basis of pure intuition.

In my experience, the best use of Hotjar’s user analytics is to identify areas of friction in your product adoption journey. Remember: the smoother your customer journey, the more customers you will activate and retain. Both of those things have a direct impact on the profitability of your SaaS business.

Hotjar starts from $39 per month.

Tool 3 – LogRocket

logrocket

Logrocket is a behavioral analytics tool that is much like Hotjar in scope. Like Hotjar, it gathers user data by means of session recordings and heatmaps.

Logrocket differs from Hotjar only in as far as the owners of Logrocket seem to have decided to go all-in on session recordings, disregarding other forms of data collection such as NPS surveys.

On the product side of product marketing, Logrocket allows you to combine session replays with network logs, JS errors and console analysis. This means that you’ll be able to detect both the root cause of a bug and its impact on user behavior.

If a particular UI feature remains buggy after that, it’s even possible to co-browse with a user to fix the issue at hand.

On the marketing side, watching session recordings allows product marketers to correlate UI issues with feature adoption and NPS. This has a tangible impact on activation and retention, which are two of the most important growth metrics in the product marketing space.

One minor issue with Logrocket is that the session recording videos are so high-resolution that they tend to make all but the best computers run slowly. This can be a little frustrating, but the powerful user analysis you can perform with this tool makes up for it.

Logrocket is free for up to 10,000 sessions a month. Thereafter, it will cost you $99 per month.

Best product marketing software for in-app communication

Tool 1 – Drift

drift

Drift is well known in the SaaS space for its chatbots. These make use of “conversational AI,” which is a way of saying that the bots can have meaningful interactions with customers without immediately requiring an employee’s time.

Drift’s chatbots are primarily designed to qualify leads pre-sale, but they also make communicating with existing customers inside your product straightforward and automatic.

At Userpilot, we talk a lot about how essential it is to treat your customers as individuals, and customize their product experience to their individual needs. A Drift chatbot will allow you to give each customer a personal experience without having to pay a huge salary every time you need a new customer success person.

Automating in-app communication also reduces the time it takes for a customer to get a response, which is great for product marketers because it will reduce the odds of an angry user churning.

If you need to analyze customer communication in order to identify patterns to relay to your product team, Drift makes it easy to segment conversations by a user’s location, browser, or in-app behavior.

And if you still need to follow up manually to get further insight that the Drift chatbot can’t provide, you can always do that as well to complement the previous automated communication.

The only downside we can see is that Drift’s pricing on their website is rather lacking in transparency. Further research suggests that their Standard plan starts from $40 per month.

Tool 2 – Intercom

intercom

Intercom is a messaging and live chat software suite.

Much like Drift, you can use Intercom to create a chatbot that will communicate with your users in-app — or indeed on any other part of your website. This will save your team time, and responding to customers quickly is a good way to prevent churn.

When testing Intercom against Drift, I had the sense that Intercom bots are looking to gauge a user’s intent or problem and then pass them on to a suitable team member. Contrast this with Drift, where the chatbots seemed to be more focused on automating the entire communication flow.

Intercom’s chat interface is arguably slightly more intuitive than Drift’s, reminiscent of familiar tools such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.

Intercom has solid segmentation options, including things like:

  • Engagement level
  • Last seen
  • Plan type
  • Location
  • Browser
  • Local time

Product marketers can customize their subsequent communication with users based on this segmentation data. Paid plans come with email templates in HTML that make these follow-ups look really slick.

Intercom integrates with a lot of other tools you’re probably using already, such as Slack and Mailchimp. In total, more than 100 different integrations are possible.

All in all, this is a great tool for product marketers. One word of caution though: please don’t use Intercom to create product tours! They are super generic and will turn your customers off in no time. You have no option to create branched experiences and trigger each step based on whether or not the user has performed the previous one (with custom events). Intercom is not a product adoption tool and it seems they only added the “product tours” on top of their pretty good in-app communication tool based on feature requests…It’s a very limited, stop-gap solution. You have been warned…

Intercom prices start from $59 per month.

Tool 3 – HelpCrunch

helpcrunch

HelpCrunch is an all-in-one communication platform that combines live chat, in-app messaging, ticketing, and email automation.

It’s best used to sync up communication with customers across all your different channels, so in-app, web, mobile, email, and even social media.

You can also pull customer conversations from other third-party software onto HelpCrunch, including familiar tools like WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and Slack.

Addressing all your customers’ communication needs in one place will mean you’ll respond to their queries much faster, which will promote better customer retention.

On the product side of product marketing, using HelpCrunch will make your customer communications look professional because the tool gives you a range of options to match the communications UI to your unique brand.

You can customize:

  • Logo
  • Agent avatars
  • Localization
  • Colors
  • And custom CSS

HelpCrunch pricing starts from $15 per team member per month.

Best product marketing software for in-app user engagement

Tool 1 – Userpilot

Userpilot has a whole bunch of useful features for when it comes to keeping your customers engaged in your product.

In the SaaS world, it’s actually surprisingly common for users to become disengaged before they even activate. This is terrible for user retention and for the bottom line, both metrics that matter to product marketers.

Userpilot helps product marketers solve this problem in a number of ways.

First, in order to keep the users engaged, you need to make sure you’ve segmented them based on their personas, Jobs to be Done, and Goals. This allows you to show them highly relevant, personalized, and interactive onboarding experiences that will get them to activation faster. We call such experiences interactive walkthroughs.

Rather than serving users with a generic overview of millions of features, as is the case with traditional product tours, interactive walkthroughs keep new users engaged by only showing them the narrow range of features they need for their particular use case.

Product walkthroughs accomplish this by segmenting users at the beginning of their product experience using a welcome screen.

welcome screen

Source: Postfity. Built with Userpilot.

Then, on the basis of the user’s answers, they are served with a walkthrough that only covers the features they’re actually interested in.

Past the new user onboarding activation stage, what really helps is the reactive onboarding. Reactive product experiences, e.g. tooltips, slideout or modals that appear in response to a certain user action (or lack thereof).

That way, you can push your activated users to adopt more advanced, secondary features – and progress in their user journey.

Another part of Userpilot that promotes user engagement is its microsurveys. We mentioned those previously as a way of collecting data-driven insights from users.

The nice thing about microsurveys is that they collect user data in-app, not via email. If your email inbox is anything like mine, you’ll know how easy it is to get distracted when you check your email.

So by using microsurveys, Userpilot keeps the user in your product, which is ultimately where you want to keep them. Removing the distraction of answering NPS surveys by email is great for customer engagement.

Tool 2 – Typeform

typeform

Typeform is well known in the SaaS space for its long-form customer surveys.

These promote customer engagement in two main ways:

  1. Typeform’s surveys are incredibly easy on the eye and enjoyable to fill in.
  2. The data gained from survey responses can be used to improve product and market positioning.

Let’s look at each of those in turn.

Users find Typeform surveys intuitive to fill out because of one main component: logic jumps. This means that you can program Typeform to ask users different questions later on in the survey depending on how they answered questions earlier on.

As a result of logic jumps, users are only taken down a path of questions that makes sense for their individual use case. The more you convey to an individual user that you care about their unique problems, the more engaged he or she will be.

The fact that Typeform gives you so many different survey template options also ensures that the survey you send your users looks and feels really professional. They have templates for just about every use case you can think of, including:

  • NPS
  • CSAT
  • Product Feedback
  • Success Stories

Typeform’s logic jumps mean that you can reach an unparalleled level of depth when it comes to getting to know your customers and their problems. That data translates into better product experiences for your customers, and therefore higher engagement and better retention.

Typeform starts from $35 per month.

Tool 3 – Zendesk

zendesk

A truism of the SaaS world is that customers tend to disengage from businesses due to poor customer support.

Zendesk’s multi-purpose support suite is a great solution to this problem.

Like Userpilot, Zendesk has the philosophy that the best way to keep users engaged is to support them in-app, as opposed to by email.

They’ve therefore devised a web widget that allows you to display your knowledge base in-app. Users can search it for solutions without having to look for the knowledge base on a separate part of your website.

Engagement is almost always correlated with delivering a personalized solution to the user as quickly as possible. Zendesk’s contextual help feature achieves this by delivering 3 relevant help articles to users according to what page they’re on at the time.

If users want to follow up with your support team manually after reading the automated help documents, Zendesk will let you manage that as well.

Putting so many support features at your customers’ disposal is bound to make them feel cared for and want to stick around for longer. And given retention is one of the key metrics product marketers care about, Zendesk is definitely a piece of software to look at.

On the product side of things, it’s worth knowing you can also customize the UI on Zendesk to make it match your brand. This looks slick and keeps users’ attention.

Zendesk prices start from $29 per month.

Best product marketing software for product adoption

Tool 1 – Userpilot

We’ve already discussed how Userpilot’s product walkthroughs help with customer engagement. It also stands to reason that they make users more likely to adopt using your product since the customer is being shown features that benefit their specific use case.

You could equally argue that Userpilot’s user analytics capabilities that we mentioned earlier lead to a better understanding of users, a better fit between user and product, and therefore higher adoption rates.

But I want to draw your attention to the numerous ways in which Userpilot allows you to segment your users. It’s possible to serve a different experience flow to each individual user segment, which massively raises the odds of a user liking a particular feature they’re being shown.

Userpilot can segment by:

  • Demographics, eg location or occupation
  • In-app behavior, eg users that have or have not completed a custom event defined by your developers
  • User attribute, eg account type, language or device
  • Account age, eg new users or power users
  • User sentiment, eg NPS score

nps

If you combine these types of segments, it’s possible to create really unique product experiences, such as:

A feature aimed at enterprise users in Albania who have given a negative NPS score, have not used secondary feature X, and use MacOS.

Users are bound to appreciate your SaaS if you go the extra mile to serve them with something that’s really specialized to their use case, so Userpilot’s segmentation power correlates with improved product adoption rates.

Tool 2 – Mixpanel

mixpanel

If you want your users to adopt your product, you have to go to great lengths to understand them. That’s where an analytics suite like Mixpanel can come in handy.

Mixpanel gathers user data through in-app survey forms and A/B tests. This isn’t quite as smooth as Userpilot’s microsurveys, but it’s definitely a serviceable approach.

Mixpanel is perhaps best known for its impressive data visualizations. They’re easy to build and read, without requiring a data scientist in each case.

mixpanel graphics

The model this tool can make are all based on real-time data analysis, and are so scientifically sophisticated that they even take into account personal biases.

If you want to pass insights from Mixpanel onto your product or marketing teams, it’s extremely easy to share data across your entire organization.

And if the feature you build based on your analysis is still not adopted for whatever reason, Mixpanel has A/B testing built into their platform so you can iterate until you get the result you want.

Mixpanel pricing starts from $36 per month.

Tool 3 – Canny

canny

Finally, if you want to succeed at product marketing, you need a tool that would help you understand your users and their needs better.

Canny is a platform for collecting user feedback and integrating it into your product roadmap.

The heart of Canny is a Reddit-style interface in which users can add feature requests and upvote feature requests made by other users. Like Reddit, the most popular ideas rise to the top of the platform.

Like many of the other product marketing software ideas on this list, Canny offers you lots of different ways to segment your customer feedback.

Particularly notable is the ability to sort feature requests by type, so whether it’s an integration request, a new feature, or a bug, for example.

Put all this together and you can see why Canny is a great tool for product marketers to solicit feature requests, pass them to the product team, and ensure the features have a high chance of being adopted.

As a bonus, the UI is extremely intuitive to use.

Canny pricing starts from $50 per month.

Conclusion

And that’s a wrap! We hope you’ve got some value out of this exploration of product marketing software.

For best results, your product marketing team should think about picking a tool from each of the 4 categories. Alternatively, you can choose software that excels in more than one of the categories.

If you want to give Userpilot a spin, click on the banner below to get started.

 

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