How to Launch a SaaS in 7 Steps
A Practical Guide for Aspiring Startup Founders
In the recent past, there has been a massive boom in SaaS companies. But, many of them fail to scale.
Many entrepreneurs feel that they are unable to sell a subscription based software because of the high transaction costs. They believe that the sales cycles are long and it takes too much time to close a deal. This is where they are wrong.
The real challenge is not in closing deals but in getting the right customers who will become paying customers and provide a recurring revenue stream for your business.
And this is what we will be discussing in this blog post. We will share some insights on how you can find the right customers for your SaaS and make sure that they convert into paying customers who continue to use your product or service over time.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Find Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Before you start building your product or service, you need to have a clear understanding of who your ideal customer profile is.
Who will be using your product or service?
Who are they?
What kind of problems do they face?
What kind of goals do they have?
How much money do they spend on technology products or services?
What are their pain points?
What are their objectives?
What is their biggest fear?
In short, you need to understand your ideal customer profile in detail. So, start by building an ICP for your product or service.
Once you have done that, you will be able to design your product or service in a way that it solves a specific problem for a specific group of people.
This is the first step towards creating a SaaS that sells! And don’t forget to create personas for each of your ICPs. Personas help you understand the kind of language and the way they communicate with each other.
For example, when selling to B2B customers, do not use terms like “user” and “buyer”. Instead use words like “client” and “partner” because these are the words they use when talking about their customers and partners.
2. Go Beyond Problem Identification & Solve a Pain Point
Problem identification is not enough! You need to solve real problems for real people.
For example, if your product or service has been designed to solve the problem of website load time then just saying that it can reduce website load time by 50% is not enough.
You need to show how it will help your customer in a tangible way. For example, if you are selling an image optimization service then don’t just tell them that it will reduce the size of their images by 50%. Instead, show them the number of page views they will get by using your service.
3. Test Your Value Proposition & Price Points with Customers
Many entrepreneurs spend a lot of time and money building a product or service before testing their value proposition and price points with customers. And this is where they go wrong.
The value proposition of your product or service is critical to your success because this is what will convince customers to buy from you instead of someone else.
This is why you need to test it early and often! You need to test it with potential customers so that you can understand how well it resonates with them and then use this feedback to improve it.
You should also use price points testing as well so that you can find out which price point generates the most revenue for your business.
Once you have done that, create a pricing model based on the results of these tests and start selling! If the price point is too high, you will lose customers. If it is too low, you will not be able to make enough money to cover your expenses.
4. Get Sales Qualified Leads
In order to scale your business, you need a steady stream of sales qualified leads (SQLs). An SQL is a person who has already expressed interest in your product or service and wants to buy it.
The best way to get SQLs is by using content marketing. This is the only channel that generates high quality leads at scale.
To create great content, you need a great team! Hire the best writers and designers who can create content that solves real problems for real people and that has the potential to go viral.
It is also important to understand how different people search for information on Google and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
You need to optimize your content so that it shows up on these platforms when people search for information related to your industry or niche. You can use tools like BuzzSumo and Google Keyword Planner for this purpose.
5. Engage with Customers & Build Relationships with Influencers
Customer engagement is critical because this is what will help you sell your product or service. Start by listening to your customers and addressing their concerns.
Start by sharing valuable content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and get people to like and share it. Use this strategy to build a community of people who are interested in your product or service.
Then start creating value for them by answering their questions and helping them with their problems. You can also use your blog to publish articles that are related to your industry or niche.
Create a blog that is informative, educational and entertaining at the same time! Make sure that you create a strong social media presence as well so that you can reach out to more people and build a strong community around your brand.
Once you have done that, leverage the power of influencers! Influencers are opinion leaders who have thousands of followers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. They can help you reach out to their followers so that they can learn about your product or service.
6. Use Paid Marketing & Outreach Channels
While building a community is important, it is not enough! You need to get sales qualified leads (SQLs) from outside of your existing community as well! This is where paid marketing comes into play.
Paid marketing is one of the most effective ways to get sales qualified leads. The best part is that you can target the right people at scale!
To do this, you need to understand your ideal customer profile (ICP) and find the best channels for reaching out to them.
For example, if your ICP is doctors then you can use LinkedIn ads to reach out to them. Or if your ICP is technology bloggers then you can use Google Adwords or Facebook ads to reach out to them.
It is also important to know that not all customers are ready to buy from you at the same time. Some of them are still in research mode while others are ready to buy right away.
To figure out which customers are ready to buy from you, you need to identify the customer’s buying cycle stage and use it as a trigger for your marketing campaigns. This will help you reach out only when they are ready to buy from you.
7. Ask for Feedback & Act on it!
When it comes to sales, feedback is king! Many entrepreneurs get stuck because they don’t know what their customers want or how they can improve their product or service. In order to avoid this, you need to ask for feedback and act on it!
You can do this by asking your customers to fill out a survey or an email form every time they purchase your product or service. Ask them to rate the product or service and provide suggestions for improvement.
It is also important to ask them if they would recommend your product or service to their friends and family. The more customers who recommend your product or service, the better!
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.