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Building international growth for best-in-class SaaS solutions


Vaisala’s Xweather comprises a wide portfolio of data services and solutions for customers who need high-quality weather and environmental information.


Vaisala teamed up with Columbia Road to develop a digital SaaS marketing for their emerging business unit, Xweather. Through the project, we assembled growth teams for three best-in-class digital solutions and mentored each team towards agile, customer-focused growth practices. Success came from bringing together product, marketing, and sales to create holistic digital customer journeys and a synchronous growth strategy.

Columbia Road’s team has been a significant support for us in the digital SaaS marketing for Xweather solutions. Together, we've worked in close collaboration building the foundation for future growth.

John Liljelund, Director, Solutions at Vaisala Xweather

Key objectives

Vaisala’s emerging business unit, Xweather, is a suite of products providing real-time and hyperlocal weather and environmental intelligence. These innovative SaaS and DaaS solutions help predict and solve challenges from lightning-triggered wildfires to weather-related car accidents. 

Vaisala has identified vast opportunities and great potential business value in the digital and data platform space. Xweather combines Vaisala’s 85 years of experience in understanding the weather with cutting-edge intelligent hardware and software, utilising the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. These solutions are aimed to be sold through online channels and mainly for businesses, cities and municipalities internationally, as opposed to Vaisala’s traditional sales that focuses on providing hardware for large organisations such as governments.


Upon launching Xweather, Vaisala wanted to place special emphasis on digital service productisation, digital customer experience and service-centricity. Vaisala also highlighted the importance of cultivating iterative ways of working, a culture of continuous testing and a cross-functional and customer-centric approach to growth practices. 

Simultaneously, the company identified the need to validate the product/market fit for the solutions and digital lead generation. The guiding principle to all growth operations was to start small and scale fast.

The starting point of our cooperation was Xweather’s three digital solutions that didn’t yet have established go-to-market strategies or product marketing teams and activities in place. Columbia Road was chosen to support Xweather in developing digital international SaaS marketing. 

The purpose of the project was to lay the foundation for scalable international growth practices for the new digital solutions. We were looking to generate awareness and demand for the solutions, support the digital sales funnel, and discover scalable methods for generating leads, and opportunities. Last but not least, we aimed to help Vaisala cultivate a cross-functional and growth-focused culture within Xweather. 

Our approach

Our two-year collaboration with Vaisala’s emerging business unit in building a foundation for growth practices was executed in three phases: building a blueprint for growth, running growth sprints for three digital solutions, and finally, operating growth teams.


In the first phase, a cross-functional team of consultants with competencies in martech, design, and growth marketing teamed up with Vaisala’s team of professionals to analyse the current state of digital marketing and sales for the subscription-based offering and create a growth blueprint. 

During this initial phase, we interviewed relevant stakeholders for their perspectives on Vaisala’s digital service business and ran a buyer persona workshop as well as a future lead generation flow ideation workshop. These insights were tested in a landing page and digital advertising campaign mockup to validate the value hypothesis derived from the workshops.

The result of the first phase was a comprehensive Growth Blueprint handbook that acts as the framework for Vaisala’s digital business’ operations. The work includes analysis of the business landscape and customer journeys, tools for validating the product/market fit, guidelines and recommendations for growth team setup, process, and potential growth hacks.

The next phase of the project was putting the insights to the test in the US markets. Three growth sprints focused on three of Xweather’s solutions: Wx Horizon, Wx Beacon, and RoadAI. The work started with forming a shared understanding of the solutions’ buyer personas, value propositions, and customer journeys, and taking that to a concrete level with landing pages. In addition, a growth backlog was set up, and initial growth experiments were conducted together with marketing and sales.



In the third phase, we continued building marketing capabilities for the three digital services and for Xweather. We assembled growth teams together with Vaisala. Here we evaluated Xweather's marketing and sales tool stack and provided scenarios and recommendations towards Xweather's target state. The cross-functional teams brought together design, martech and sales development to provide tangible results for the three SaaS solutions. 

In this phase, while a major part of the work was foundational and capability-building in nature, we focused heavily on awareness building, lead generation, and ultimately converting leads into sales-qualified leads and opportunities with our growth experiments. 

The teams utilised novel and out-of-the-box growth hacks, such as utilising Vaisala’s own weather data to target messaging to areas that are forecasted to experience heavy storms. These weather-data-based campaigns received significant engagement as they provided value to the target audience with useful road weather information.

The growth hacking experiments also included, for example, Facebook quizzes, research partnerships, case studies, collaborations with professional associations, and webinars. The main objective of this phase was to cultivate an understanding of the target audience’s preferred channels, messaging and content.

In addition, we set up sales development practices such as automated LinkedIn cadences and multi-touchpoint sales cadences that integrated smoothly with new digital marketing activities. 

Once proving that we were able to generate high-quality leads through different means, we began optimising the conversion rate from lead to opportunity with nurturing email sequences and high-quality content such as video demos, blog posts, on-demand webinars and eBooks. 




Through our cooperation with Vaisala, we built a foundation for growing Xweather’s solutions internationally. Much of the project’s success can be attributed to bringing together product, marketing, and sales to create holistic digital marketing activities.

All three growth teams have seen a significant increase in their lead-to-opportunity conversion rate. In this project, a lead was defined as any contact who has expressed interest in a solution, whereas opportunities are identified as any lead who is in the process of purchasing a solution.

This marketing funnel is owned and operated by the SaaS growth teams themselves. In the digital marketing funnel, automated lead nurturing sequences are successfully educating and convincing leads to reach out to the growth teams.

During the two years of cooperation, we have been able to help Xweather with building a foundation for growth marketing.


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