Building a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution is a great and proven business model that can help quickly increase recurring revenue while sustaining predictable income. Below are eight tips that can help you build a successful SaaS model.
- Focus on a niche to start: It is always easier to build a product if you first focus on a niche. For example, Facebook initially started as a networking site for Ivy League college students. Their established success in this arena allowed them to build it out for a broader audience. This concept can help you get a following to grow your business faster.
- Use customers to guide product: Once you have a few customers built up, you can get suggestions based on their needs or preferences. You don’t need to listen to them blindly, but try to take what they need to make it generic enough to apply to the entire product. Not only will it help that current customer, but it will enhance the product and apply to other businesses as well.
- Choose a good support system: When you first start out as a SaaS company, email and phone support should work well enough. As you scale your model, you will want to have a more robust system in place. A ticketing system is the best recommendation to help easily track support requests, assign them to employees, track satisfaction, and keep your customers happy. There are many SaaS companies that can provide this system to you.
- Offer a free trial: With a SaaS product, you MUST offer a trial to succeed. This advantage allows the potential customer to try the product without commitment while requiring them to remain an active, paying customer in order to continue to use it. Be sure to set a rule to that will disable their accounts if they do not decide to pursue your SaaS program after a specified period of time. Lastly, when offering a trial, make sure you only collect the minimal amount of information needed and NEVER collect any billing details until they are done with the trial. Requiring a potential customer to enter billing information up front detracts from the appeal of a free trial with no commitment.
- Form partnerships with companies that can benefit each other: If you have a complimentary product with another business, it could benefit you both to work together. For example, your software may have the compatibility to integrate with another company’s product via an API or another similar method. Then this would allow both your company and theirs to promote each other’s businesses.
- Use analytics to make decisions: Your website AND product should have analytics built in. You will want to know key information such as which parts of the SaaS product are used a lot, how to track errors in the product, and learn how users find your product. There are a plethora of tools for website analytics, application monitoring, and SaaS analytics. Using these from the start will help you discover how people find you and how your product generally is used.
- Pick a good recurring billing company: The last thing you want to worry about when building a SaaS company is getting paid. There are a lot of choices for recurring billing and many work great. You will want to make sure the tool you choose allows for you to update credit cards, accept all payment types, is PCI compliant, and has good reporting features.
- Automate signups, cancellations, and upgrades: Once you become established, it is a good idea to automate signups, cancellations, and upgrades so you can focus on the product.