19 SaaS Founders Tell Us Their Worst Marketing Strategies & Sales Channels

SaaS Entrepreneurs open up about their poorest performing marketing and sales channels.


Written by Sterling Sweeney: Published Sept 13th, 2019 | Updated Sept 13th, 2019.

Sterling Sweeney is a growth hacker and the driving force behind WhalePages, a SaaS digital marketing agency. Today he asks SaaS founders what their least successful marketing strategies and sales channels have been.  


4 Minute Read

We Asked 19 SaaS Companies What Their Poorest Performing Marketing Strategies & Sales Channels Have Been. Their Answers Are Below.

Over the next couple of days Whalepages will have some very special posts being published on our SaaS marketing blog. We’ve interviewed dozens of SaaS founders and asked them intimate questions about the inner workings of their SaaS companies. Previously we asked the SaaS founders what their best marketing strategies have been.

Today, we round up the SaaS teams again to ask them the following opposite question: 

“What Are Your Least Effective Marketing Strategies and Sales Channels?”


1. Karsten Madsen, CEO of morningscore | SEO Platform

Lately we’ve had very little success. Some paid placements were just horribly underperforming. It hurts to think about it. We joke at the office that every time we pay there is zero effect and the opposite is true with organic placements. Of course this is not always true, and I hope we will get some strong results soon. It has happened in the past.

2. Sonya Siderova, Founder of Nave | Efficiency Analytics Platform

The least effective channel? That would have to be PPC. The nature of our business makes it really difficult to implement a successful pay-per-click campaign as we need to compete with the biggest players on the market. What makes much more sense for us is to partner with them instead.

3. Tobias Knobl, CEO of Mailbutler | Email Platform

In the past we payed magazines and blogs to promote us by writing articles about Mailbutler. This was definitely a learning experience because we realized that smaller, more affordable “niche bloggers” benefited our company more than well known, more expensive magazines and blogs. The lesser known blogs we worked with had very attentive audiences and served their niche perfectly, whereas articles about us that were published on popular blogs seemed to perish quickly. 

4. Mike Myer, CEO of Quiq | Business Messaging Platform

When we look at ROI from all our activities, tradeshow/3rd party events have performed the worst to date. 

5. Emad From CyberStockroom | Inventory Management Platform

In terms of ROI, display advertising is pretty bad followed closely by CPC advertising.

6. Simon Chatfield, Founder and CEO of OptimumHQ | Business Solutions Platform

Probably Google AdWords. We’re just not ready to throw the type of money at it that’s required to see a definitive ROI.

7. Faik From dbBee | Spreadsheet Publishing Platform

Paid advertisements.

8. Michael Payne From Intervals | Time Tracking & Task Management 

Social media hands down. Social media and a B2B SaaS are an odd pairing. We continue to experiment for brand awareness but we don’t want to be annoying. When someone is using social media they likely aren’t looking to solve their businesses problems tracking time and billing their clients properly. 

9. Kaushal Sutaria From MyEasyISO | Compliance Platform

Participation in the trade shows.

10. Jake, CoFounder of Dubsado | Business Management Platform

Facebook ads. They were fun, but SAAS seemed to be one of the most challenging to funnel through the typical directed sales flow. Nothing to say about FB ads at all as I think they innovated the space and employ many useful algorithms to make sure your ads target the right audience. It’s just perhaps because we still consider ourselves B2C even though our clients own
Dubsado for WhalePage 4 their own business. Our target demo for the last 3 years has been the
entrepreneur and small teams. We have a lot in the pipeline for scaling our solutions and expanding how nicely we can play with other systems so that Dubsado can be a small to big piece of any size industry, profession, small business, and sole proprietor. We will never for get early support from the Douala community. Without that! Maybe we’d still be around, but entering all of those questionnaires left us incredibly knowledgeable in pre and post delivery services. And we love our Douala’s to date and we’re always looking to expand our feature set into the medical and hospitality industries.

11. Casey Sullivan, Founder of Bookafy | Appointment Booking Platform 

Facebook/Instagram… we had good conversions from view to click to trial… but we had a very low conversion to paid customers. I think customers get into a bit of an ADD mood on social channels… they think, hey this is awesome, I should totally use this software… then hey, look at that cute puppy, I want to go on vacation, lets ride bikes. So, Social channels have been tough for us.

12. Kyle Racki, CoFounder From Proposify | Sales Platform

Industry-specific newsletters and sponsored content. These sorts of sponsorships have not been able to deliver the scale we are used to seeing with other channels and have much lower ROI.

13. Piotr Łapiński, Marketing Manager From Konfeo | Event Registration Platform

Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads.

14. Amrish From Pixpa | Portfolio Platform 

Paid marketing channels have not worked for us well. The ROI has been negative and since, we are bootstrapping, we haven’t been able to afford hoping for the ROI to pan out on the longer term.

15. Richard From HelpSite | Support Center Platform

Google Ads – in our limited test run, it was unclear if they were effective for us. 

16. Team From GlockApps | Email Analytics Platform

Sending cold emails about our service was the least successful channel. We got listings on other sites but not many.

17. Team From Fanout | Streaming API Platform

The least successful was bulk emails. We spent some months doing that and only succeeded in angering people. Not a single email led to a signup.

18. Jacob McCarthy From Freedom Edits | Photography Editing Platform

For us organic social has always been a bit of a drain but paid does pretty well!

19. Henry Joyce From Align | Growth Management Platform

We experimented with paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, although these channels did not provide targeting for B2B the way that LinkedIn did.



We hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you’d like to learn more about scaling your SaaS company, we suggest you head over to our SaaS marketing homepage.


Written by Sterling Sweeney: Published Sept 13th, 2019 | Updated Sept 13th, 2019.

Sterling Sweeney is a growth hacker and the driving force behind WhalePages, a company that grows SaaS websites. So, if you have a SaaS company and you’re kinda into things like website traffic and increasing your MRR, then our SaaS growth boxes are probably for you.



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