Your Software as a Service (SaaS) business can succeed if you have the accurate industry knowledge and provide much-needed SaaS solutions. In the beginning, you will need to work long nights and rely on caffeine to get through. There is also constant pressure to beat your competitors since many SaaS businesses already exist. Do you want to open a custom software development company? Fine, but before that, you should know that not everything you read in the SaaS success stories is true. You need to know the reality of the industry and then set realistic goals for your software development company.
People usually get into the SaaS business with these five expectations, but the reality is different.
Providing free trials is great for conversions
Free trials are a great way to start a business and let the consumer know about your product. However, if you have low resources, getting the free trial consumers to be regular customers can be costly. Have you ever used a free trial of a service and stopped using it when you had to pay?
If you do it and others do it, your potential customers will do so for your product. Everyone outside boasts that giving your product a free trial is necessary for growth. However, as a startup, the worst thing you can do is offer free trials to gain awareness instead of getting real customers. Ensuring that your free trial users buy your SaaS solutions can be difficult. Instead, you can experiment with different pricing models and notify people about a discount on your SaaS product. If you provide a free trial, track the ROI you are getting from it. It is time to stop providing a free trial if it is poor.
Product development is a one-time task
SaaS solutions can make you rich, but only after sleepless nights do you get the final product. Perhaps, you think you have to develop the Software as a Service (SaaS) application once, and then you will get recurring revenue. That is partly true, but it is not that easy. First of all, here is a list of what you will have to do to make it big:
– Put hundreds of hours into coding your product.
– Set up the infrastructure of your company.
– Get your product into beta testing and receive feedback from the target audience.
– Finally, launch your product to the audience and see how it is doing.
– Probably get acquired by a bigger company and retire with tons of cash.
That sounds like a great plan to move you toward your dream life. However, if this is how you think the SaaS business runs, it is not true. Reality is always way more complicated and harder.
Gone are the days of launching a product, marketing it, working on managing sales, and fixing a few bugs. Your custom software development company will face a lot of competition because Software as a Service has become extremely competitive. With so many service providers in the market, your customers have many options to jump to if your product fails to meet your expectations. To run a successful SaaS business, you need to keep the customers happy and retain them. That is the only way you can get stable recurring revenue.
As customers use your product, they will figure out a problem with the usability or something that can be improved. New pain points constantly emerge in the SaaS market; if you want to be a player, you must provide the solution. SaaS products are now expected to evolve continuously and bring new features.
The software development company is supposed to be aware of user preferences and add new functions according to them. If your product does not evolve with time, customers will have unaddressed pain points, which means they will dump your product and go with a competitor. If you want to run a successful SaaS business, you should know that once your product is out in the market, it is not the end but the beginning. You will still need a coding team to add features to your product.
Product is important; content can wait
In the SaaS industry, there is a growing misconception that the Software as a Service (SaaS) application needs to be top-notch, and other than that, you do not need any content marketing. However, that is not true, and you need to start creating content as soon as you launch for two reasons.
– Build your brand and get organic traffic: Customers love to feel that they are a part of the company that provides them with the services. For that experience, you must take them on a journey to create your product. Provide them with valuable information that can help their business and get feedback on how you can improve your product. Show your value outside the product, and your company will become a brand.
You can create content through blogs, videos, email newsletters, etc. The Software as a Service (SaaS) sector is about the product, but products do not sell themselves. You need to convince others about the importance or need of the product. This is something that can be done with the power of content marketing. You need to start building awareness about your product indirectly or directly. Without content, your custom software development company will struggle.
– Content can help customers stay in touch with your Software as a Service (SaaS) application: Customers wish to see new features being added to the SaaS product they use. Your customers will leave you if a competing product gets new useful features. This point is already clear. Your company needs to have a frequency of updating features and also a way to analyze features that are popular in the market now.
However, your job doesn’t just end with adding features; you must ensure it is a success. You have to announce that you have added new features, which can be done with content. When you add a new feature, customers may not know if it is useful. Similarly, customers may not know how they can use the particular feature. People often get confused about how to use a SaaS product when a new feature is added.
If you add new features but do not teach your customers how to use them, those features provide little to no value to your company. Having a lot of content surrounding a new feature can ensure its success. You can have a help centre, a knowledge centre, FAQs, or blog posts about the new feature. It is not necessary to choose as you can have all of them. This type of content keeps the customer engaged and helps them keep up with the product.
In short, you need content to inform potential customers about your product and then to inform them about any feature updates so that they do not get confused. Content can help you both get new customers and retain them. It is extremely important for businesses that provide SaaS solutions.
Subscribers will last forever
The profitability of a company providing SaaS solutions depends on the cost of acquiring customers, monthly recurring revenue, and the lifetime value of a customer. Out of all three, the lifetime value of a customer can help you predict how long your business will last. The expectation from business owners is that once they get a customer, they are likely to stay with them. However, the SaaS market is extremely competitive. Every minute some other business is thinking about going after your customers. You have to focus on two dynamics if you are losing customers.
– Better product from competitors: There are about 30,000 SaaS companies out there, and you are just a small fish in the sea. If a customer sticks with you, it is because they like your product. The minute your product does not meet their needs, they will switch to another service provider. It will not matter if you are a big name in the industry or small.
The solution to this is that you should always study and apply the recent trends of the industry if you do not want to be the Blockbuster of SaaS. There is only one rule, evolve or die!
– Customers outgrowing your solution: The users of SaaS applications are mostly business owners. Each business is different, so they prefer Software as a Service solution that has been customized for their needs. This way, they do not have to pay for features they do not even use. If a business gets a SaaS product that has been tailored for their organization, their business will thrive, and the customer will be happy. If you provide a feature and pricing plan solution, then customers will outgrow your solution or feel like they are paying for features they barely use. Custom software development for each client is the best way to go if you want to retain your customers. Providing flexible and customized SaaS solutions is one of the best ways to ensure your company’s success because it increases a customer’s lifetime value.
For example, Intercom allows customers to pay as their users increase per month and for specific features. Users get a customized plan designed for their business instead of a standard plan and price. They also expect the product’s customization, especially for B2B software. Many companies use front-facing Software as a Service (SaaS) tools and want the experience to be more branded. Users expect to integrate and white label your product as they do not want their branding to interfere with your product’s branding. White labelling and other personalization options are becoming common. Ultimately, the customer is king, and if you don’t want them to outgrow your solution, you have to go with customization.
Customer Software Service
Most of the SaaS application sales and sign-up processes happen without human interaction. However, the customers expect top-notch, round-the-clock customer service. Companies initially tried to go with the automated route, but customers expect real human interaction and help. They want to be able to reach a real person, read their name and tell them their problems. Many companies offer live chat and help hotlines which users are starting to expect from other service providers.
The more your customer relies on your product for their day-to-day operations, the more round-the-clock customer service is important to them. If your clients ask for live customer service, you should be happy because it means that they depend on your product. Now, you cannot provide customer service with the help of ticketing systems where you take a complaint and then reply with an email days later. This is no longer acceptable! However, customer service can be really hard for smaller teams to handle.
The truth is those big organizations have the income to afford live customer service systems and hotlines. If you are a startup, you do not have the financial or human resources to provide the same level of service. Small teams cannot dedicate 24 hours to customer service as they have to handle other roles. However, you cannot grow as a startup if your customers do not feel valued. Most startups use a chatbot that provides answers by directing customers to specific FAQS documents. The chatbot also comes with pre-answered responses to specific questions. You can think of customers’ questions about your product or company and then store responses. When someone asks a question that you have stored, the chatbot will automatically answer.
This will solve many customers’ problems, and if there are unresolved queries left, your team can handle them. This gives your company time to grow to the level where they can provide 24*7 live customer service.
2023 will only bring greater competition for players in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market. Customers have different needs, bigger expectations, and organizational changes. When it comes to the SaaS industry, the way, outsiders perceive it is not always true. If you are thinking of starting a SaaS company, you can succeed if you do not start with the wrong expectations. You should know the reality of the business, the target audience, the needs of the potential customers, customer expectations, the gap between the expectation and your capacity, and a solution to meet that gap. It is important to forget all the hype or buzz you hear about SaaS and do market research. Companies that invest in research and analysis will know the SaaS trends. They will design better products with needed functionalities and beat the competition.