Starting a business is always risky. Most businesses don’t make it long term, but you can boost your chances of SaaS success by utilizing the following tips.
Don’t Sell a Product, Solve a Problem
This isn’t new advice, but there’s a reason it’s so popular.
People do need to believe your software is of high enough quality to be worth their investment and to understand what all they are getting, but that comes second. The first thing you need to do is hook them enough to care about those things. Purchasing is less a rational decision and more the gut need or desire. We don’t buy things on the basis of their quality, but on how they will enrich our lives. The quality is what makes them able to effectively do the enriching.
Listen, Listen, Listen
You are providing a service, for others. It’s important to understand what they want and need and to make sure you’re giving it to them.
Research what potential customers are already saying online to learn what their needs are and how competitors are not addressing those needs.
Create a feedback loop in as many places as possible. You want people to be encouraged to tell you what they love and what they hate and what’s moderately irritating about your service.
Ask for input. Ask questions on social media about potential builds. Interview people who match your target customer. Send surveys.
Prioritize Sales and Marketing
There is so much direct and indirect competition out there that if you want to get noticed, you’ll have to make yourself noticed seen, assertively and strategically.
Have a measurable, actionable plan to market your SaaS, and aim higher than you think you need to.
Unless you are already skilled in sales and marketing, you should avoid trying to do this alone. Recruit help.
Be Careful with Little Tastes
Make sure your minimum viable product, or MVP, is really minimum. It’s easy to think of what seems basic or standard and offer that as the lowest option, but it’s likely that you’ll be losing money this way. What is the minimum amount of features that someone will get enough use from to pay for or use as a freemium product? That is your MVP. Anything else is a higher package.
Free trials should have short time limits. This will create a sense of urgency that will make them invest time and effort to see everything the software has to offer before the time runs out.
The act of purchasing and using your SaaS should be as effortless as possible.
Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. How will your software fit into their day? What are they doing while using it and around the time they’re using it? What will it be like to learn, use, and update the software? How likely are they to already know how to use something like this software?
Some of these answers are left to your imagination and some you can get from listening to feedback. You can speed things up and make the process more controllable by asking people to test the service and its website. You can get people you know to test it and let you know what it’s like and you can hire people to do this.
Guide the customer. Don’t just offer them your service, no matter how simple it seems, and let them go. You can offer tutorials in the software or provide help on the website, or both. Demos are also quite popular.
Don’t Price Too Low
When you’re starting out, it’s common to think you should start with a low price to get more bites and build trust. But people are likely to value things more when they cost more. You also don’t want to miss out on revenue when you’re a growing business.
Consider the competition. You want your rates to be competitive. Too high will make the competition look too tempting and too low will look odd and mean you’re leaving money on the table.
Don’t think you have to come up with a price that will please everyone. That’s not possible. Settle on a price that less than 20% of your potential customers will object to.
Don’t Go It Alone
No one person can possibly have all the skills and expertise needed to launch and maintain a business. Ask for help from people you know who have useful skillsets or hire help. Today, hiring help doesn’t have to mean paying for someone fulltime. You can hire experts as you need them for certain services and to overcome obstacles.