The way in which businesses today are run and marketed has been changed forever by this century’s rapid advancements in technology. One of the more recent trends and tools to assist business growth is that of the SaaS – software as a service.
SaaS makes use of the storage capabilities of the Internet, or as it is more commonly referred to, the cloud. From here, companies are able to provide their clients with business software twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week – and usually via a subscription. The use of the cloud is a way in which costs can be kept down for the service owners and their products be delivered quickly, easily, and immediately.
Often walking hand-in-hand with cloud computing, SaaS services are accessed via web browsers. With the payment of a subscription fee, clients can then access and receive the software services that are paid for.
There is huge potential for the growth of new SaaS businesses in today’s digital world. From project management software to cloud-based financial tech, the SaaS industry is booming. But it is already an increasingly saturated field, so to be able to grow and rise up amidst so many peer companies and competitors, the right tactics need to be deployed. So here, below, are X ways in which to speed up the growth of your SaaS business and start living that dream of financial freedom!
1. Selling the Problem Before the Solution
Firstly, software as a solution is – as the name states – a remedy to a problem. In order to sell the correction to a problem, and be seen to fix it well, the problem itself needs to be exposed and have a light shone on it. At times, it’s possible for people to be unaware of the exact nature and extent of a problem, or even be aware of a problem at all. By focusing on the problem, it can be a lot easier to then sell the solution.
For example, automated invoice processing software is a solution in response to the problem of processing invoices manually. It addresses issues such as time spent manually processing invoices and human errors. Focus on selling these problems before offering the solution.
Once a potential client is fully aware of a problem and its potential consequences, you can then show how your product tackles and fixes the issue. This gentle strategy can reap more rewards than a direct, hard sell.
If your product is straightforward to use and flexible – it should be – illustrate the various ways and angles from which it can benefit its customers. Highlighting usability and versatility are always plus points: no one wants a product that is difficult and/or has limited use. As the people behind this bachelor of arts degree in product design teach us, every business should make the overall quality of its products a hallmark of its market positioning.
2. Focus on Your Targets
It is, of course, perfectly fine to be excited about your new product, your new business, and to look forward to seeing it assist those who come to your company for help. But not everyone in the world is going to need or want what you have to offer. So why waste time and money pushing your services in all directions in the hope that enough people will not just see it but want it? Skimming large surface areas with wishful thinking will never be as effective as targeting specifically selected groups and focusing on them.
As any SaaS consultant will tell you, money is often wasted on pointless focal points. This, in turn, can have business owners believing that there is an issue with the product they are trying to sell when in fact the product is fine – it’s the targeting of it that is wrong. To grow, a business needs to sell: it can only do this with the right people. So focus on those who will see the value of what you have to offer.
If you need to overcome language barriers to spread your message loud and clear, you should consider proper software localization. If you want to be systematic about nurturing your audiences and personalizing your marketing, consider a tool and feature such as Segment’s personas.
Here’s how to find your targets:
Your typical users’ demographics, age, location, the nature of their business operations, budget, and the problems they can be faced with that you can help with;
Focus on answering questions your audience is asking to grow your SaaS startup faster. A specific audience that is genuinely interested in your product value, knows you can manage their needs when you are the go-to expert for answers
Research the Competition
Who will you be directly in competition with? What do you have that they don’t have (and vice-versa), where do they advertise, what are their SEO keywords, and what was their growth rate? Look into your rival companies and use competitor analysis software to get the lowdown on their metrics;
Research Rival Targets
this can have a huge pay-off. Who are your competitors targeting and how? Do you need to appeal to the same audience in a similar manner, or is the competition missing something that you can capitalize on in the hope of luring them to you instead? What are the strong points and weak points in the targeting? Finding out what your peer businesses are getting right and wrong can be crucial to getting an advantage;
By using Google Analytics, or other analytical software, identify who visits your website, how much time is spent there, and track the behavior of visitors on your site. By doing this, you will get valuable insight into what people are looking for.
3. Flexible Pricing
If you have done your research, then you will know what your competitors charge and what they offer. You will be even more familiar with your own product and its value, so price it within reason. And remember that your prices don’t have to be set in stone from the word go. Most business owners know that markets and prices ebb and flow, so don’t become set on specific prices for specific services and refuse to budge from those figures.
You will get the best insights as to how well (or not) you have structured your pricing and plans from feedback from others. In your attempts to further the growth of your company, it is crucial to monitor the effectiveness and value of your pricing.
By split testing various pricing tiers, you can see how the customers you already have will react to the new pricing, and at the same time, see how it affects new sales – for better, for worse, or to no difference. There are three ways in which you will be able to gauge whether or not you are in the right cost zone for what you are offering:
- Only a tiny percentage of users complain about high pricing;
- Your product is being used increasingly with no complaint about costs;
- There are some raised voices over your costs – yet your product sales continue to grow. This happens when despite what may be seen by some as a hefty price tag, those same people recognize the worth of the product they are paying for.
4. Digital Campaigns
It almost goes without saying but money put into marketing across social media and with emails can and in all probability will yield a surge in the growth of your business. Email marketing is still the #1 tool in digital marketing, so don’t skimp on investing in email marketing strategies. Using a combination of email marketing, content marketing, and cold calling can dramatically increase your leads.
Agencies like Pearl Lemon Leads harnessed the power of email and content marketing to grow their business. Digital campaigns brought their services to the right clients and the same can be done for you. Finally, integrate an AB testing framework and it’ll be like pouring gasoline on the fire of your email.
Social media is a close second to email. It’s immediate, you can engage in real-time, and you can be seen by millions across a variety of different platforms. Creative digital marketing across these platforms can also have the benefit of attracting investors interested in your business.
Also, don’t forget to use email signatures as a part of your email marketing strategy. Email signature is a fast and powerful way to increase marketing and sales conversions through your business email communication.
You may also want to consider offering an Affiliate Program for your product. If you look at some of the biggest SaaS companies on the market, you’ll find one thing in common: they all have generous programs with relatively high payouts.
For all of the above examples of digital campaigns—email, social, and affiliate—we highly recommend tracking properly and building UTM tags for the links you promote.
5. Raise Money
It may sound too obvious, but the fastest way to grow your startup is through funding. There is only one important criterion – you must know exactly how to spend them. This is where VC companies can help you. But make sure you are prepared for that by having all the documented processes and financial statements, otherwise, you will not pass the due diligence process.
Many startups utilize virtual data rooms for storing and organizing their fundraising process and then invite investors in. Consider using one even if you want to organize your company’s documents in a secure place with access for internal and external teams. And of course, it will help you in the process of financing for the growth of the company.
6. Outsource to Become More Efficient
Any time spent with annoying tasks is money wasted by your startup. Especially when a business is first getting off the ground, there are multiple departments that probably don’t need to have an entire team or even an in-house employee dedicated to them. Your team should be focused on meaningful work, whether that is product enhancements or creating a sales strategy.
By outsourcing, you can focus on what really matters to your business and leave time-consuming tasks to experts. For example, outsourcing tech support for startups can be a way to take away the pains of annoying IT requests, and even save your team money along the way. By getting removing the stress of departments like IT, Social Media, or Order Fulfillment, for example, your business will be more productive.
You can opt for virtual assistant services by hiring freelancers or agencies that can provide you with qualified assistance at a very reasonable price.
The early days of any new business can be daunting and a lot of hard work, but with these small yet significant steps above, you can start up on the right foot. Effort and patience can see these tips pay off significantly, for businesses old and new.