Created $25M digital pipeline | Generated 700k MAU and $1B p.a. trading fees | Raised $3.2M in seed funding | Reduced customer acquisition cost (CAC) by 23% | Deal size increase 7.5x due to customer segmentation pivot | Decreased churn rate in six months from 7% to 2% | And more...


The SaaS industry is highly competitive.  Understanding the nuanced differences of an effective marketing strategy for a SaaS company is crucial.  Ultimately, you need the real deal: a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) that specializes at Software as a Service (SaaS).


So, are you curious about how a SaaS fractional CMO could fit into your business strategy? Here is what we will cover: We’ll define fractional CMO services, the nitty-gritty of SaaS marketing challenges, why seasoned marketing leadership is crucial and how our tried-and-true methods can turbocharge your growth. Now doesn’t that sound like a thrilling ride? We’re also gonna dive into how you can spot the best SaaS fractional CMO for your business, tweak their approach to better suit what you need, and keep up with the fast-paced changes in the SaaS world.


Let’s go!


CMO as a Service

Many marketing departments have a collection of specialists, but lack the vision of a true C-suite executive on the marketing team. This is a proven marketing leader, not merely an I.C. (individual contributor) with a narrow base of knowledge. A SaaS fractional CMO works part-time on a retainer basis, offering a cost-effective and flexible alternative to hiring a full-time CMO. As a result, businesses have instant access to the strategic guidance of senior leadership, in their industry vertical, without paying a full-time salary.


Often marketing teams and founders at a SaaS company get caught up in the day-to-day operations. With the increasing prevalence of fractional CMOs, many SaaS companies have discovered the advantages of having a marketing executive on board who can provide a fresh perspective and see the big picture holistically. The marketing function of a fractional CMO service is to drive big results. Experienced marketing leaders know how to align with business goals, hire an in house team, hire contractors, manage your marketing budget, and optimize for KPIs unique to a SaaS company. By leveraging the in-depth knowledge of a tenured SaaS fractional CMO, you can build out a Growth Engine in 4 months.


For a more detailed article explaining exactly what a Fractional CMO is, see our article titled “What is a Fractional CMO?


By leveraging the in depth knowledge of a tenured SaaS fractional CMO, you can build out a Growth Engine in 4 months.


7 Unique Challenges of SaaS Marketing

SaaS marketing comes with its own set of unique challenges. Here are some of the key challenges that SaaS companies typically face in their marketing efforts:


  1. Communicating intangible benefits: Unlike physical products, SaaS offerings are intangible and require effective communication of their benefits. Since customers can’t physically touch or see the product, marketing teams must focus on conveying the value proposition, features, and advantages through persuasive messaging, demonstrations, testimonials, case studies, and other means.


  1. Educating the market: SaaS products often introduce new concepts or innovative solutions, which means marketers must invest in educating their target audience. Creating material that sheds light on the issues a SaaS product tackles, why this is crucial, and how it can enrich prospective customers’ lives or businesses is key. It’s like explaining to folks why they need shelter before showing them an innovative new house design. Educational webinars, whitepapers, blog posts, and video tutorials are common tactics used in this process.


  1. Navigating a complex buying processes: SaaS purchases often involve multiple decision-makers and a more complex buying process. Content crafting and strategy building must be diverse, speaking to various players like the top brass, tech gurus, and everyday users. Showcasing your product’s benefits across these different roles is essential for effective marketing. Think of it like this: You gotta cook up personalized messages, whip out case studies that hit home for each role, and crunch the numbers on ROI. This approach breaks down complex ideas into bite-sized chunks everyone can understand – a recipe for showing value to all those big decision-makers.


  1. Overcoming skepticism and building trust: With the rise in SaaS offerings, customers may be skeptical about switching to a new provider or entrusting their data to the cloud. For SaaS businesses, it’s super important to get people to trust you. So your marketing should really play up things like positive customer feedback, great reviews, any security badges you’ve got and how well you handle data privacy. And don’t forget – be clear about your pricing!


  1. Managing customer acquisition costs: Acquiring customers in the SaaS industry can be expensive due to high competition. Marketing teams must optimize their customer acquisition costs (CAC) and focus on strategies that drive qualified leads and conversions efficiently. That means nailing down laser-focused digital ads, sprucing up your landing pages for max conversion rates, running top-notch lead nurturing initiatives and launching kickass referral schemes. It’s all about getting more bang for your buck!


  1. Reducing churn and ensuring customer success: SaaS companies typically operate on a subscription-based model, and reducing customer churn (the rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions) is vital for sustainable growth. Just like Maslow’s theory suggests we can’t neglect basic needs, businesses shouldn’t overlook fundamental customer care. It all starts with an effective onboarding process for newbies. Then comes the steady flow of help and value you give throughout their journey. This builds trust and loyalty which in turn, puts a lid on churn rates! So basically, to win at marketing, keep your customers happy every step of the way.


  1. Leveraging data-driven insights: SaaS marketing is highly data-driven, and companies need to leverage analytics and data to make informed marketing decisions. Keep an eye on crucial numbers like how much it costs to snag a new customer (CAC), the overall value of a customer over time (CLTV), and daily user activity. Don’t forget about conversion and churn rates, or how often people interact with your product either! Marketing teams should use account based marketing to optimize campaigns, identify opportunities, and drive continuous improvement.


To rock in the SaaS marketing game, you gotta know your audience like the back of your hand. It’s all about crafting smart messages that stick and being quick on your feet to keep up with this ever-changing industry. Remember, it’s a fast-paced world out there, so stay sharp!


The 5 Guiding Principles to Ensure Growth

The difference between a regular business and a true startup lies in the Total Addressable Market (TAM) and the speed of growth. Whether you are a true startup or not, who doesn’t want explosive growth? To accelerate growth and create an automated Growth Engine, our SaaS fractional CMOs apply the following guiding principles:


1. Start with the Customer’s Needs

Prioritizing the customer’s needs and preferences is essential. So, you know how a good part-time CMO really gets their customer’s struggles, wants, and what drives them? They use this knowledge to create marketing plans that hit home with their audience. This connection fosters engagement and loyalty, which leads to business growth.


2. Iterate through Build, Measure, Learn Loops

As a derivative of agile marketing, an iterative approach allows for continuous improvement and optimization. So, imagine a part-time CMO like a pro gamer. They figure out the best moves, play the game, and then learn from each win or loss. This helps them level up their strategy over time – leading to more wins and solid growth. It’s all about playing smarter, not harder!


Build Measure Learn Loops


3. Data Analytics = Informed Decisions

Leveraging data analytics is crucial in making informed marketing decisions. Think of a fractional CMO like your business’s secret weapon. They’re busy behind the scenes, crunching numbers on customer habits, how often people are buying stuff, and whether you’re actually making money from it all. By keeping an eye on these figures – call them trends or patterns if you want to sound fancy – they spot what’s working and where there might be room for improvement.


4. Accelerate / Explode Growth

The purpose of a fractional CMO is to drive rapid and exponential growth. How to they do it? Here are some examples:

  • Explore new customer acquisition channels

  • Implement high-impact marketing strategies

  • Leverage innovative tactics

  • Deploy scalable marketing initiatives

  • Optimize conversion funnels

  • Improve sales enablement

  • Maximize the efficiency of marketing investments


5. Prioritize Long Term Relationships over Short Term Gains

Building and nurturing long-term relationships with customers is a priority. While short-term gains may provide immediate results, fostering lasting connections with customers cultivates loyalty, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth. A fractional CMO focuses on creating exceptional customer experiences, delivering value, and building trust for sustained growth and success.


Ready to Book a Call?

Ready to talk about how a Fractional CMO can help your business?  Click the button below and schedule a free strategy session.


3 Types of Fractional CMOs

Small business owners and B2B SaaS startup CEOs sometimes face hurdles when launching new products, pinpointing the right audience, or crafting compelling messaging. With professional guidance, these challenges become less daunting and more like stepping stones towards success. Gleaning insights from experienced marketers can steer you clear of common slip-ups. Choosing the right fractional CMO for your business is a critical step in building an effective marketing department.


So what is the “right” one? How do you match ’em up with what your biz specifically needs? Consider your go-to-market (GTM) motion and sales process when hiring a marketer. For Product Led Growth (PLG), you need consumer-focused marketers skilled in creating in-product virality, who understand how to leverage Word of Mouth (WOM), referral programs and feedback loops. Sales-driven companies targeting enterprise customers need marketers who can create educational materials, testimonials and authoritative website content.


To build the right marketing team, it’s important to understand the THREE marketing pillars. Usually a fractional CMO specializes at one of the three more than the others. Ask them which. Align their strengths with your GTM strategy and your founding team’s strengths or weaknesses. Make sure to evaluate technical aptitude and past experiences during the hiring process.


Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is essential for bridging the gap between creative-oriented and analytical growth marketers. Brand marketers nail the message and whip up campaigns that not only spike sales right now, but also build lasting buzz. Assess the strengths and gaps within your founding team to hire marketers who complement those skills.


Product Marketing

Evaluate the technical aptitude of product marketers through exercises and inquire about their product launch experiences.  How have they managed free trials and freemium models? How have they optimized the onboarding process? Have they built a community before? How have they leveraged user feedback loops?


Growth Marketing

Growth marketers focus on optimizing demand generation. So, you’re often looking at funnels —capturing customers, keeping them hooked, and earning their loyalty. They use facts and trial-and-error to boost their success. Many people see this as a natural extension of sales development.


Real Results: How Our SaaS Fractional CMOs Have Helped Clients Improve Performance

Keep in mind the availability of our fractional CMOs will change constantly. Our roster is constantly expanding at a rate of 5-7 superstars per week. If you don’t see exactly what you want here, it’s probably because this list needs updating.


Fractional CMO 29: $12K mo. / 4 mo. term

  • As fractional CMO for Web 2 agency:

    • Created $25M digital pipeline.

    • +10M new user sessions, 35% increase in total form conversions, 26% increase in pageviews, 23% increase in revenue

  • As CMO for DeFi SaaS infrastructure provider, in 7 months created:

    • 700k MAU and $1B p.a. trading fees

    • Onboarded 15% of the Algorand blockchain ecosystem growing a trader audience of over 100K

  • As CMO for SaaS Web3 investing platform, in 8 months:

    • Raised $3.2M in seed funding

    • Generated $44M in deal flow and hundreds of M&A buyer registrations

    • grew the community to over 100K investor members

  • As Fractional CMO for commerce company, in 13 months:

    • Grew revenue 300%

  • As Fintech Marketing Director, in 12 months:

    • Grew organic user acquisition by 300%

    • Reduced customer acquisition cost (CAC) by 23%

    • 6M organic impressions (+49%), 208K clicks (+49%), average CTR 5.7%, 46% total traffic is from organic search, increased goal completion conversions by +46%

    • SEO results; average position increased +64%, #1-#3 positions held increased by +40%


Fractional CMO 7: $14K mo. / 4 mo. term

  • Ex-San Francisco based, heavy VC backed startup superstar CMO

  • Growth & performance marketing expert, not revealing the names of the companies below, but you would know who they are.

    • CMO for SaaS digital EDU play system for kids, B2C.

    • Marketing Director at famous cloud-based meal delivery company, D2C

    • Performance Marketing Director at cloud-based meal delivery company, D2C

    • FitBit growth lead at ad agency, successfully transitioning them from retail to D2C / e-commerce.

  • Previous mentor for SaaS startups at several accelerators

  • Additional previous ad agency experience with focus on digital marketing


Fractional CMO 14: $14K mo. / 4 mo. term

  • SaaS expert, immersed in the hot startup scene of Austin, TX

  • Director of Product Marketing at Fintech SaaS startup, B2B

    • Deal size increase 7.5x due to customer segmentation pivot

    • Win rate increase 15%+

  • Director of Marketing at PayPal, B2C

  • Strategic Marcom Director at eBay, D2C

  • Heavy in Fintech, this CMO brings a data driven approach to growth

  • Knows how to leverage generative AI, building honed prompts that work around OpenAI’s 4096 token limit

  • Industry experience includes the payments space, card, e-commerce, crypto and fraud

  • A holistic view of everything from brand to content marketing to lead gen and social media.


Fractional CMO 31: $15K mo. / 4 mo. term

  • SaaS expert, 15 years of national marketing experience, growth hacker

  • Fractional CMO of two B2B tech SaaS start-ups.

    • Deal size increase to 10x due to positioning pivot

    • SEO strategy increased organic traffic 40x

    • Built direct lead engine from the ground up

    • Led partnership negotiations 

  • Strategy consultant to agency serving Fortune 500 companies (manufacturing)

    • New markets or personas identified & GTM plans created

  • Marketing Director for a top B2B compliance company in the transportation and safety space.

    • Subscription retention increased +20% points.

    • Led website redesign projects for 7 subscription sites. 

    • Led rebranding for 3 solutions.

    • Grew monthly traffic from 5K/mo to 100K/mo.

    • Campaign efficiency doubled during her tenure.

    • New solution she led GTM plan for, picked by Fast Company in the tech sector.

    • Scaled the growth engine from 0 to over 60,000 qualified leads

    • Led marketing team for a HR product that was in the Top 6 nationally, for sales through SHRM. SHRM is the largest HR membership organization in the world.

  • Brand Manager for a CPG national juice brand; IRI & Walmart data experience

  • Knows how to leverage data and market trends to identify new opportunities

  • Industry experience includes the payroll space, legal tech, safety, Training, HR, transportation, CPG, nonprofit and manufacturing.

  • A holistic view of everything from brand to content marketing to lead gen and social media.


Fractional CMO 16: $14K mo. / 4 mo. term

  • B2B SaaS FinTech CMO with a proven track record of transformational strategy and execution for startups and large enterprises.

  • Took VC backed startup from $25M ARR to $75M in 18 months by increasing marketing sourced revenue by 38% and doubling qualified pipeline.

  • At large enterprise SaaS FinTech company:

    • Attained 78% growth in campaign-sourced pipeline volume YoY by driving integrated and multichannel marketing campaigns. 

    • Doubled pipeline generation in 12 months by shifting the pipeline mix from 60% outbound to 75% inbound.  

    • Decreased churn rate in six months from 7% to 2% and influenced +80% of customer expansion pipeline. 

    • Launched an enterprise-wide demand gen program that expanded marketing pipeline 50% YoY. Increased organic traffic by 49% and top of funnel leads by 68%.

  • SaaS industry experience includes financial compliance, billing, payment solutions and telecom.


How much does a fractional CMO cost?

Fractional CMO engagements will vary in cost depending upon the industry and Scope Of Work involved. A SaaS fractional CMO typically charges $200-350 per hour for their services. For a full article on fractional CMO rates see our article “What is a Good Fractional CMO Hourly Rate” or see our Pricing Page.

Ready to Book a Call?

Ready to talk about how a Fractional CMO can help your business?  Click the button below and schedule a free strategy session.

Author Bio

Picture of Benjamin Arritt

Benjamin Arritt

Global B2B sales & marketing executive that loves a fast-paced, customer-centric, high tech entrepreneurial environment. We help 50+ fractional CFOs and 93+ fractional CMOs find more work. Hire someone who has already done what you are trying to do. Follow me on X: @grokketship
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