How SaaS Companies Can Use Data to Engage Their Users

SaaS companies can leverage data to keep their users engaged. Here are four tried and tested methods.

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Across all industries, companies rely on data analytics to manage operations, optimize performance, and better serve the needs of their customers. The big data analytics market is projected to surpass $103 billion by 2023, but all software vendors are in a position to produce valuable data. SaaS companies, in particular, can generate app data and gather insights by surveying their user base. There’s no shortage of ways SaaS companies can capitalize on this opportunity to keep their users engaged – here are just four ways we’ve tried and tested.

Release data-driven product improvements to users

The best software is built by companies that truly understand the problems they solve for customers. There’s no replacement for speaking with your customers, but data can also drive product improvements – including some that would easily be overlooked. For example, we use anonymized and aggregated data to identify ways we could add to the intelligence we’ve built into our DevOps solution for Salesforce. With a data-driven approach, you can prioritize the most valuable improvements for the largest number of people.

Users will find your software products engaging if they solve their problems intelligently. It’s also vitally important to communicate this process for data-driven improvement to your customers, so that they understand they’re contributing to product improvements simply by using your software!

Assist users in measuring their performance

Data helps companies to understand the value of the products or services they’ve adopted. Teams using software products often have an intuitive sense of its usefulness and how much they rely on its functionality. But with real data on how successfully and how often they’re using your software, teams will make a more accurate assessment.

Dashboards in SaaS products that surface usage and performance data can demonstrate to teams and their managers that they depend on this software and it is improving their performance over time. It’s a nice touch to show users how this data is changing over time, for example, by comparing week on week (or any other time period). If the metrics show that your user is finding more success, they will become more interested and engaged in your software.

Show users how they compare with other teams

End users want to know where they sit within their ecosystem and how they compare with other teams – especially when adopting cutting-edge technologies. Are they lagging behind the rest of their industry? Or do they have a competitive edge?

Surveys and questionnaires are a great way for software vendors to gather data from a wide range of teams, and analysis of this data will reveal industry averages against which software users can benchmark their own performance. In the world of DevOps, for example, it has become standard practice to help teams identify whether they are low-performing, average or elite when it comes to release cadences, lead times, change failure rates, and recovery times – with deployment times as an additional key metric for Salesforce teams.

It’s one thing to present a report on the state of any given area of technology; it’s another to go one step further and provide an interactive questionnaire. We’ve found that users want to plot their performance on the map showing the full range of their ecosystem.

It’s good to present a report on the current state of your area of technology, but you can go one step further. We’ve found that users want to know how their DevOps performance and maturity compare with the wider ecosystem, and you can facilitate this with an interactive questionnaire.

Help your end users demonstrate ROI to their managers

IT leaders need to know that their software investments deliver a return for the business, and so end users need to be able to explain how their tools add value. They might know your product saves time and effort, but can your end users quantify ROI? Provide them with data and they will.

Just how much time do teams save? What’s the value of qualitative improvements such as resilience? And how do all of these impact the bottom line? Equip your end users to calculate and articulate the value of your products and services, so the decision-makers in their business have all the facts and figures whenever they reassess the IT budget.

Stay close to your users

Data is an invaluable resource for engaging your users, but it’s a means to an end: be sure to lean on data-driven insights so you can lean into the relationship with your users. Use data to understand your users, deliver a product that truly solves their problems, and demonstrate the value of your software to their business.

Kevin Boyle

Kevin Boyle is CEO and Co-Founder of Gearset, a leading DevOps solution for Salesforce. Gearset scales from teams first dipping their toes into DevOps right through to teams of hundreds of people making the most of parallel development and continuous delivery.


Kevin Boyle is CEO and Co-Founder of Gearset, a leading DevOps solution for Salesforce. Gearset scales from teams first dipping their toes into DevOps right through to teams of hundreds of people making the most of parallel development and continuous delivery.