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B2B SaaS growth can be an intricate puzzle. Growth requires going beyond customer acquisition — though that's an important element of success. It requires communication, retention, teamwork, alignment, and so much more. But that doesn't mean it's a puzzle you can't solve. Today, we're going to dive into some of the secrets of growth that fall outside the normal discourse of lead generation and team alignment. Read this post and you'll be ready to start putting together the pieces.
1. Understand Your Niche
Ready-to-use SaaS products service a specific need — they're more enticing than creating software or purchasing an in-house product, and versatile enough to offer a comprehensive solution but still specialized enough to provide a unique value proposition. For these reasons, SaaS products, when correctly marketed and sold, can be in extremely high demand. And it's hard to be successful as a SaaS company if you spread yourself too thin. In other words, if you try to offer a wide range of basic functions rather than a limited range of exceptional functions, you may overextend.
For every SaaS company, there's a balancing act that needs to occur in order to be successful. To find your niche, consider the level of competition in your target segment, how penetrable the market is and if your product offers anything new (or addresses a different audience). Constantly re-evaluating your market and your product's position within that market is key to growing in the right direction.
2. Nurture a Strong Partner Network
Nurturing strong relationships with businesses that leverage your product is a great way to increase revenue without spending more money upfront. But cultivating strong partnerships requires time and energy, so it's important to focus your efforts in the right place.
First, determine the traits you're looking for in a co-marketing partner. How many customers does your ideal client have? What size is their company? What industries do they serve? You should also ask yourself what types of partnerships you want to avoid. Learn more about what potential partners do and how best to approach them. For any partnership to be successful, it must be viable and mutually beneficial — whether that means revenue sharing or some other indirect benefit. If you identify possible challenges upfront, it will be easier to adapt your model accordingly. Partnerships can be either low-touch or high-touch; advocate partners require less interfacing than do strategic partners who are working with you to achieve a common goal — though both types of partnerships offer unique value.
While no other business is going to do all of your promotion and selling for you, it may significantly extend your reach and customer network. Kissmetrics' partner network helped them increase their user base by 1,000 percent in six months. They transformed from a small B2B startup into a recognizable industry player and name.
3. Connect key Business Metrics to Product Development
One of the best ways to ensure that you're keeping your customers satisfied and creating the best product for your target market is through agile development in small increments. The beauty of cloud-based SaaS products is the ability to perpetually update and test out new features on an active customer base. This ability allows you to solve for challenges in real-time, as long as you keep careful tabs on the evolving needs and pain points of your customers.
Tracking key business metrics can give you a better sense of whether your product is being used as intended. What functions are used most frequently and what features aren't gaining traction? What are possible reasons for this experiential gap? Customer satisfaction surveys and outreach are also great ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your product in order to make the most essential improvements. They key with metric and feedback driven growth is constant testing and reevaluation: customer needs are perpetually changing, and the best tech responds to those changes in real time.
4. Teach Prospects How to Succeed
SaaS products are meant to be easy to use and efficient, which, in business, equates to time and money saved for your customer. In order to ensure widespread adoption of your product, it’s important to teach customers how to use it to the greatest effect — whether that’s through consultation services, in-product chat features, blog posts, new feature tutorials, training videos, email workflows or certification courses.
These customer support services should focus on delighting and empowering customers, but should offer more value than simple operating instructions. The most effective and “sticky” educational features teach prospects how to be better at their jobs, in addition to teaching them how to use your software platform successfully. After all, even the most innovative software isn’t a cure-all— it’s a tool intended to accentuate strengths and enable users, but it cannot stand in for talent and industry expertise. What better way to ensure customer loyalty than to offer your customers all the tools and information they need to succeed in their position? Drawing the link from your product to real strategies and human processes gives it greater staying power and relevance.
For example, Hubspot offers a “Hubspot Academy” feature, a section of their SaaS platform devoted to helping customers grow and become more savvy, successful marketers.
As you can see, there are a multitude of ways to grow your SaaS business, from sales and marketing alignment strategies to KPI creation and connection with the product. With the secrets outlined above on your side, you'll be a step ahead of your competition right out of the gate.