SaaS, or software as a service, is software hosted on the cloud and available to users through a subscription. SaaS has been around since the early 2000s but has only recently begun to gain traction in the startup space. There are several benefits of being a SaaS company, including reduced capital costs and greater scalability than traditional software companies have. Additionally, customers can use your product on their schedule rather than going through long sales cycles with you each time they want access to new features or bug fixes. It’s no wonder why so many startups are adopting this model. If you’re thinking about starting your own and growing your SaaS business, then here are five recommendations:
Understand your market and customers.
You need to understand the market and customers to grow a successful SaaS company.
This is challenging. It’s hard enough to determine your own customers’ needs and expectations, but it’s even more difficult when you’re trying to sell something new, that has never been sold before.
The best way to get started is by asking yourself these questions:
- Who are your current customers?
- What do they want from your product/service?
- How does their tool use compare with what you thought it would be used for?
- How do they access information about how best to use or implement your product or service?
Create an RFI template for your SaaS business.
An RFI, or Request for Information, is a great way to understand your target customer’s wants and needs. In this case, we’re talking about one who will become a paying customer.
Your RFI should include questions typically asked by buyers during the sales process. These questions and your answers uncover the buyer’s motivations, goals, and concerns about your software. You’ll want to ask them what they are looking for in terms of feature sets and functionality and their budget requirements. This will give you an idea of what kind of functionality they need from your product, which can help guide your development team later on down the road.
This information is intuitive to the sales teams because they interact daily with customers and potential customers. But your development team rarely speaks directly to customers and doesn’t necessarily understand this level of necessary product detail and customer needs. Having everything written down and distributed throughout your organization will help everyone align around customer success.
Record your sales process.
As you grow your business, it’s essential to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. One way to do this is through sales process documentation. You can take time to document the steps in your sales funnel, so you’ll have a clear idea of how each sale came about.
You don’t need much detail; write down what happens from start to finish whenever someone chooses one of your products or services: who was involved? What did they say? How did they respond? Did anything go differently than expected? How did it work out for them (and for you)?
This will help you identify areas where things could be improved, create an easy-to-follow outline that new employees can adapt as needed, and ensure that everyone on your team knows exactly how things work when someone makes a purchase decision.
Deliver and follow up on the details.
Deliver and follow up on the details.
- Follow up with your customers. This is a no-brainer, but getting caught up in the hustle and forgetting to reach out is easy. Use a CRM (customer relationship management) system to track customer interactions and stay organized, so you can focus on delivering excellent service instead of struggling to keep track of everything yourself.
- Delight your customers by exceeding expectations—and ask for feedback when things go wrong! Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback about your product or service—both good and bad—because hearing both sides will help you improve over time.
Schedule regular follow-ups with clients.
- Schedule regular follow-ups with clients.
- Make sure your team follows up with clients frequently to ask them how things are going and get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.
- Always ask: “How can we improve this?”
SaaS businesses can follow simple strategies to develop and retain new and existing customers.
SaaS businesses can follow simple strategies to develop and retain new and existing customers. These strategies include:
- Understand your market and customers
- Create an RFI template (Request for Information)
- Record your sales process, including each step in your sales cycle. This will help you understand which actions are most effective in closing deals.
- Deliver the details so that when customers sign up with you, they know what to expect once they start using your product or service. Also, ensure you have all their contact information so you can stay in touch with them regularly.
- Schedule regular follow-ups with clients after they’ve purchased from you (even if it’s just a few times per year).
We’ve covered much ground and talked about the importance of understanding your market and customers. We also discussed some strategies for developing new leads, including using an RFI template to gather information from potential clients and creating regular follow-up calls with clients. Finally, we suggested scheduling regular sales follow-ups as part of the strategy to grow your SaaS business. These five recommendations can help build your sales process into an efficient machine that keeps churning out new leads while retaining existing customers—which means more revenue for you in the long run!