In many ways, building a business is building a principle. The same basic underlying principles apply, regardless of the industry or market. But then there are certain aspects of growing a company that are niche-specific. And if you’re running a software as a service (SaaS) company, certain growth strategies will perform better for you than others.
Try These Proven SaaS Growth Tips
Truth be told, SaaS growth is a numbers game – it’s as simple as that. The objective is to bring in more customers than you lose on a monthly/yearly basis. In other words, you have to win the churn rate game. In order to do so, you’ll need to initiate a targeted strategy that accounts for the following.,
1. Identify Your ‘Talk Trigger’
Bestselling author and entrepreneur Jay Baer believes every successful company has something called a “talk trigger.” This is the term he uses to describe the one element about a company that naturally gets people talking. It doesn’t have to be the core feature, but it should be something that people remember about your application.
For Amazon, it’s two-day shipping. (At least it was before this became commonplace.) For DoubleTree hotels, it’s the chocolate chip cookies guests get at check-in. For Olive Garden, it’s the never-ending breadsticks. What’s yours?
Talk triggers tend to embody the following four traits:
- Remarkable: It should surprise and delight people to the point that they tell their friends.
- Reasonable: It should make an impact, yet be simple enough to be scalable.
- Relevant: It should be related to your core product or service.
- Repeatable: it should be something that creates an amazing experience for all customers.
If you lack a talk trigger that includes these four characteristics, you’re going to have difficulty scaling at an aggressive rate (if at all). It may be time to go back to the drawing table.
2. Go Lean and Mean
We all know the importance of developing a minimum viable product (MVP) as the first release of a SaaS application. However, it’s easy to lose track of this priority when you’re in the middle of software development.
For best results, go as lean as possible. Remember that a true MVP is the minimum functionality that a customer will pay for (or which a free user will get value from). Eliminate unnecessary features and focus on perfecting the ones that people are looking for. Getting too fancy too soon will kill your business.
3. Listen and Apply
Once you get your MVP out there, it’s time to shut up and listen. What you think no longer matters – it’s up to the customer. Set up strong feedback loops that allow you to gauge what people like and don’t like. Use this validation (or lack thereof) to refine your software and improve.
4. Invest in the Right Digital Strategy
Getting the product properly aligned with user desires and expectations is the first element in the equation. The second element is to launch a digital strategy that sparks word of mouth and drives new users to your free trial or introductory offer.
Every digital strategy will be unique, but at the very least, you need to invest in search engine optimization. SEO for SaaS is one of the fundamental driving factors in generating traffic for your site. It takes time to build out, but can generate long-term ROI.
5. Build Your Team Wisely
There comes a point where you can no longer build your SaaS business on your own. And it’s important that you start looking for talent well before you need it. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a position where you have to rush to make a hire.
If you’re a non-technical SaaS entrepreneur, bringing in a technical co-founder is the best bet. However, finding one is easier said than done. Take your time, tap your network, and be ruthless in determining the right fit.
6. Use Frictionless Pricing
Not sure how to price your SaaS product when first launching? Find a price point that fewer than 20 percent of your ideal users object to. You’re always going to have price objections, but if you can satisfy at least 80 percent of your target user base, that’s a good place to begin.
Putting it All Together
There is no perfect playbook or copy-and-paste formula for scaling an SaaS company. Every situation is unique and different circumstances call for different approaches. Having said that, the aforementioned principles apply in almost every case.
If you’re willing to implement them in a strategic and cohesive manner, good things will happen for you.