Create a Methodology for Your Users: Rewriting The Rules of Your Niche

Victoria Rudi
May 17, 2022
⌚ 6 min read

→ Your growth practice

You can build a SaaS platform that helps people to accomplish specific tasks. Or, you can build a SaaS platform and a new methodology that allows your users to:

  • Envision a better way of doing things
  • Ditch old models and try something more efficient
  • Innovate and get better results

You can build a sales and marketing automation platform. Or, you can be the brand known for its “Inbound Marketing” and “Inbound Sales” methodologies and develop software that enables users to market and sell the new (more efficient) way.

→ Quick explanation

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Inbound Marketing?” You may think about funnels and content, but, most probably, your brain will associate Inbound Marketing with HubSpot.

No wonder why: Inbound Marketing was coined in 2005 by Brian Halligan, the co-founder and executive chairman of HubSpot. Afterward, the company spent years promoting its inbound marketing methodology and educating professionals on how to use it for growth. Moreover, HubSpot launched multiple training programs explaining the intricate details of Inbound Marketing.

Another question: What’s the first thing you think about when you hear “Conversational Marketing?” Although less popular than Inbound Marketing, Conversational Marketing is another concept created and introduced by a SaaS company.

In 2018, Drift decided to replace traditional marketing with Conversational Marketing, a term defined as “a one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle, learn about their customers, and create a more human buying experience.”

Over the years, Drift built its entire marketing strategy around this concept, launching certifications, books, and guides on how to grow with Conversational Marketing.

Although this practice isn’t new, launching a methodology around one’s product or brand is rare. However, as we can see from the examples above, Inbound Marketing and Conversational Marketing became the main beacons for HubSpot and Drift.

And that’s true for other pioneering SaaS companies as well. How do you stay on people’s top of minds? By sharing how your product works? Or by creating and educating people about a new, more efficient way of doing things?

→ Definitions

📓 Methodology: Modus operandi based on systems, principles, and practices applied sequentially to generate expected and predictable results.

📓 System: A set of elements part of an interconnected network that aims to streamline and, sometimes, automatize a specific task.

📓 Principles: Concepts, assumptions, or generally-accepted truths that explain the chain of reasoning which made the methodology possible.

📓 Practices: Methodology-based actions that are applied systematically and sequentially to ensure the expected and predictable results.

📓 Movement: Strong advocacy of principles and values a SaaS company adhere to. The advocacy may take shapes such as a dedicated:

  • Website or landing pages explaining the principles and values
  • Podcast or YouTube series
  • Classes, masterclasses, or universities SaaS companies build
  • Certifications (think about the Inbound Marketing or the Inbound Sales certifications)

📓 Encyclopedia: A collection of company-generated definitions and explanations that aim to educate leads, prospects, and users on certain principles, values, or methodologies.

→ Types of methodologies

  • Practice-based: Some SaaS companies will create new methodologies as a result of consulting and observing how successful users and customers achieve their results. These companies will discover that certain practices and sequential actions are more impactful than others.
  • Feature-based: Other SaaS companies will build methodologies based on the sequence people use specific features. For example, people may have to use Feature X before Feature C, and so on. As a result, these companies will create a specific platform use sequence that can be transformed into a methodology. Think about the Inbound Marketing methodology. For example, you can’t send a Thank you email to your new subscribers without first building a landing page.
  • Principle or value-based: In some cases, SaaS companies will adhere to or generate specific values or principles, such as Conversational Marketing, and use them as an umbrella for their marketing campaigns.

You may discover that SaaS companies combine different types of methodologies.

→ Your growth opportunities

By creating and enabling a new methodology people can use and derive great results from it, you’ll access multiple growth-related benefits, such as:

  • Differentiate your brand from the rest. Drift could have stayed a simple chatbot company—one of the many. However, the Conversational Marketing methodology helped the company differentiate itself, survive the Red Ocean, and make the competition irrelevant.
  • Get recognized. Countless professionals who never used HubSpot know what Inbound Marketing is. Moreover, they know how to deploy it and derive great results.  
  • Build thought leadership. That’s especially relevant if you’ll take action to popularize your methodology and share insights on how to take advantage of it.
  • Generate stronger relationships with your users and other company stakeholders. In some cases, you may create masterclasses or universities to teach your SaaS methodology. If that’s the case, you’ll strengthen the connection with your users and other stakeholders, educating them, offering them certifications, and even getting them to engage in partnership or advocacy activities.
  • Break the value-cost trade-off. You’re not selling software anymore. You’re selling a new and efficient way of achieving results.

→ Case examples

>> Banzai, an event marketing automation platform

Banzai is joining the pioneering league, launching a completely new marketing funnel.

We’re all familiar with the traditional marketing funnel that includes stages such as:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision (conversion)
  • Evangelism (loyalty and advocacy)

According to Banzai, though, this approach is outdated. As the company highlights, the old marketing funnel is company-centered, which makes it to:

  • Ignore people’s emotional needs
  • Treat leads as faceless numbers
  • Launch irrelevant marketing campaigns
  • Promote one-way communication

The new, Human-to-Human marketing funnel is based on Engagement Marketing, a movement Banzai initiated for building meaningful connections with audiences (leads, prospects, and customers) through a two-way communication channel.

Banzai Screenshot

Engagement marketing puts people’s buying experience at the center of the new marketing funnel, highlighting the emotional stages that guide buyers toward their desired outcome.

The new Human-to-Human Marketing Funnel has four stages:

  • Frustration, previously known as Awareness: This stage shows people how to achieve their desired outcome.
  • Optimism, previously known as Consideration: The second stage highlights the resources people need to achieve their desired outcome.
  • Confidence, previously known as Decision or Conversion: This stage offers insights into what transformation (or achieving the desired outcome) looks and feels like.
  • Gratitude: previously known as Evangelism or Loyalty/Advocacy: The final stage provides insights into what partnership looks like.

As Banzai notes, “Today’s marketers have mastered one-way communication with their audience. Whether it’s email, social media, blog posts, or website copy, they’ve gotten good at pushing their message out to their audience. But without the leverage of two-way communication channels, marketers today are failing at connecting, educating, and building authentic relationships with their audience.”

>> Commsor, a platform for community-led companies

Commsor is actively promoting the community-led model and the community-led growth.

As the company notes, “Being Community-Led means more than just having a community. It requires putting the community at the heart of your business and leaning on that community to map the way forward. When a community is done right — as illustrated below — it’s a thread that runs through and empowers your entire organization.”

Commsor Screenshot

To present their new approach, the Commsor team explained how a community-led model transforms companies:

Commsor Screenshot

As for the community-led growth methodology, Commsor created a flywheel illustrating how a community impacts a company’s growth areas, such as:

  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Sales
  • Success
  • Support
Commsor Screenshot

The company also published a Declaration explaining the community-led principles. Moreover, to promote these principles and educate its audience, Commsor launched The Community-Led Show.

>> Almanac, a platform for asynchronous collaboration

Almanac is educating its audience on how to understand and implement an entirely new way of working. To do that, the company launched an Async Encyclopedia, explaining the principles of a distributed culture.

Almanac Screenshot

Although the company is not offering a sequential action plan for implementing Async work, Almanac provides an overview of practices and values companies should adopt.

Almanac Screenshot

→ What to consider?


  • Is my software allowing me to create a new methodology?
  • If not, can I adhere to a certain movement, or can I create a new movement?
  • How will I promote my methodology?
  • Will my users be able to deploy this new methodology?
  • Will this new methodology change the way my users do things?
  • What are the results my users will get if they do things differently?


  • Not all platforms allow teams to build feature-based or practice-based methodologies. In some cases, the platform you’ve built is quite straightforward, and it doesn’t require any systems or specific practices. However, you can always create or adhere to a principle-based movement or methodology to market your product.
  • You can’t just come up with a methodology. Ensure that your users can implement your new methodology and derive good results.

→ Your action framework

Creating a new methodology around your SaaS product requires time and reflection. Also, not all SaaS products will inspire new ways of doing things. But if you want to deploy this practice, you’ll have to:

  • Identify ways in which people can achieve better results with your software.
  • Understand the innovative approach your software provides.
  • Translate this approach into a step-by-step methodology.
  • Give it a name and start educating people about it.
  • Actively talk about your methodology by publishing a special landing page, creating content and media products about it, and launching a masterclass or an entire certification-based course to teach your users and other stakeholders.

► Quick note: Who should be responsible for creating your company’s methodology? Build a special team with professionals from the executive, product, marketing, and sales departments to get things right.