6 Best-Kept Secrets to SaaS Success
April 24, 2017
So you have just closed the big deal. Congrats! Now the real hard work begins. Sale is just the beginning of a long-term relationship with your customer. This “After Sales” stage is the most crucial period especially for the SaaS based industry because this will decide the stickiness of customer with your SaaS product. Customers should see value in your product at every stage. It’s like making customers fall in love with your business.
Company must evolve customer focused culture in their business. Even if customer lives outside their home markets, SaaS companies must go an extra mile in order to establish that relationship, so that later on the same customer becomes advocate of their brand. There are some golden rules which are applicable to almost all scaling SaaS companies in a competitive space.
Right Partner Selection
Global businesses generally adopt an ecosystem of channel partners/resellers in order to expand globally. Channel partners generally have a good expertise over the market and they also have location advantage - they can send their representatives to end customers for quick meetings and closures. Microsoft sells its CRM throughout the world mostly by partner mode.
Therefore to enter market oversees, selecting right partner is the first thing especially when they have to face high competition.
Dedicated Customer Success Teams
In this era of innovation, nurturing quality relationship with customer has never been more important. It has become a crucial part of business growth. It also helps to scale positive word of mouth for your brand. A negative opinion shared by an unhappy customer not only loses your existing one but also affects your upcoming customers.
Customer Success teams work on the same principle. Instead of traditional support team, these teams work as a consultant to their existing client. A major difference between Customer Success and traditional Support is that the former is more proactive in reaching out to customers. As they are the only one who connect with the customers directly, they know their customer behavior and can guide them in their product journey. SaaS companies can take this opportunity for regular client engagement to keep them exited and also go a step further to cross sell/up sell and make consumers come back again and again for more.
To make sure that the customers are satisfied with their services, companies can take regular satisfaction surveys and take further necessary action.
Focus on On-boarding
You might be having a very nice user friendly GUI and a great product, but there are chances that first time users might get overwhelmed the minute they start using your system. Make sure to give them enough time to feel comfortable with your product with proper training/guides/FAQs. Offer them a smooth on-boarding experience and make them feel valued as in SaaS model users can cancel their subscription anytime(in most cases) and easily switch to another vendor.
Make sure you are selling a “Service”, not “Support”
Gone are the days when your role was to provide a system that once installed is installed forever and then it’s completely customer’s responsibility to handle it further. Now in SaaS model, customer doesn’t have to invest in infrastructure, support tech and other liabilities, now all the responsibilities (delivery, support, and ongoing maintenance) are shifted towards vendor. Now your revenue is based on customer that comes back. Now success of your business largely depends on ongoing customer service and their loyalty than large, one-time sales.
SaaS businesses should have a contingency plan in place related to security and downtime/uptime. As now all of the data lies on the cloud, they must offer some confidentiality while dealing with client’s data. Also they should offer uptime & other performance metrics mentioned in their SLAs.
Know your Metrics
Different business models need completely diverse sets of KPI’s when it comes to track success. KPI’s used in e-commerce might not work very well for other online businesses. Your goal should be to select those metrics which will give you a comprehensive view of your business. Again in SaaS game these metrics are completely different. Some of the common KPI’s to track are: LifeTime Value of a customer (LTV), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Churn, ARPA (Average Revenue per Account per month), Committed Monthly Recurring Revenue (CMRR).
Evolve online Marketing efforts
In SaaS world, you have to market something that has no physical presence, is dynamic in nature, targeted to specific audience and has short sales cycle(unlike other B2B products). It’s quite challenging and takes a more aggressive approach towards online marketing.
Make your marketing efforts by providing educational content which educates target market, builds trust and position your company as a market leader. By offering trial versions you let people explore your product without any risk and commitment. You can also start social guerrilla marketing efforts with creative and engaging messages, which works very well in social media. By engaging your target audience in one or another way, you can make them brand ambassadors for your brand.
SaaS has a tremendous profit potential in the contemporary market, anyhow finding success in this highly competitive market requires specialized skills. SaaS has its own advantage of avoiding infrastructure costs, maintenance, easily scalable & up-gradable but at the same time requires complete focus on nurturing relationship with customers. Success completely depends upon the right plan and execution of your SaaS strategy.