Are you looking for ways to grow your SaaS business?
Scaling a SaaS business isn’t for the faint of heart. Studies show that 70% of companies (SaaS included) fail because of premature scaling.
No matter whether a business is bootstrapped or VC-backed, all SaaS companies strive to achieve consistent growth. However, there is no silver bullet to scale a SaaS business and the “overnight success formula” is just a myth.
So, if you embark on this journey looking to achieve instant results, you’ll be disappointed. Scaling takes time and effort, and you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes along the way. But if you do it right, following the industry best practices, you can ace it!
This guide will explore the ten strategies you can adopt to scale your SaaS business. But first, a quick primer on what scaling a SaaS business entails.
What Does SaaS Product Scaling Involve?
Scaling a business means setting the stage to enable and support its growth.
Hence, a SaaS business scaling refers to the ability to grow the company without being hampered. Typically, the SaaS scaling process comprises five key processes:
- Software development
- Product design
- Assembling a team
Let’s go over these processes briefly.
1. Software Development
Software development is perhaps the most critical part of SaaS product scaling. Before you delve into the coding part, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my customer base?
- What are their pain points?
- What problems will the product solve?
The software development stage is all about scaling the product itself. So, answering these questions will give you valuable insights into what the product aims to achieve. It will also give you a clear vision of where you’re headed and how to get there.
2. Product Design
The design stage precedes the software development stage. This stage is more complex and comprises four main components:
- Research (understanding the customer needs)
- App/website analysis (to improve UX)
The design stage starts with research to understand customers’ needs and pain points. After that, designers develop UI mockups using tools such as Figma.
The marketing stage aims to increase reach and ensure seamless product adoption among customers. It involves onboarding, nurturing, retaining, and expanding the customer network.
If you just launched your SaaS business, you need to pay attention to two metrics:
- Lead flow
Done right, SaaS marketing ensures a steady flow of leads with the potential to become loyal customers. Startups need not worry about the deal size at this stage as they’re still creating brand awareness and establishing a footing in the market.
4. Building a Team
Assembling a team is critical for any business looking to scale up its operations. The first person to hire for SaaS businesses should be a product manager.
A product manager visions all the functionalities your product aims to offer. This professional takes all the specifications defined and turns them into an actual product. After bringing in a product manager, you may also need to hire designers, developers, and QA analysts to test the product.
Training your customers is an integral part of the SaaS scaling process. Without this stage, it would be difficult to build a solid base of loyal customers. Basically, onboarding is all about telling the story about your brand.
In this stage, your goal is to tell customers what the product does and how it can help solve their problems. Your website’s homepage is a great place to onboard your visitors.
Top Strategies for Scaling Your SaaS business
Now that you know what goes into SaaS scaling, let’s go over the strategies to grow your SaaS business. These strategies apply to both B2B and B2C SaaS companies.
1. Revamp Your Sales Strategies
Marketing is the natural place to start if you want to scale your SaaS business. When it comes to sales, focus on improving all aspects of the sales process.
Ideally, you’ll want to double on both inbound and outbound marketing techniques.
If Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and YouTube ads have proven effective, you should certainly invest more heavily in these platforms. Similarly, invest in outbound marketing activities like trade shows, print media, TV advertising, etc.
2. Focus on Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is critical when it comes to scaling your SaaS business.
Brands that don’t capitalize on customer experience often experience a high churn rate. According to Esteban Kolsky, 13% of unhappy customers share their experiences with 15 or more people, leading to a high customer churn.
When scaling your SaaS business, the last thing you want is a high churn rate. This will defeat the purpose of scaling and lead to a negative brand image.
Keep your customers happy, and they will become your brand advocates. Studies show that 72% of satisfied customers share their positive experiences with their peers. This is a great way to build brand advocacy and a loyal client base.
To improve customer satisfaction, make sure you:
- Demonstrate your interest in customer satisfaction through quality products
- Develop personal yet fruitful relationships with your customers
- Address customer queries in a timely fashion
- Interact with your customers regularly
- Develop a customer success strategy
3. Finetune Your Pricing strategy
Pricing is key when scaling your SaaS business.
You may have a great product, but if it’s priced too high, it won’t sell. And if priced too low, it may negatively impact your bottom line.
So, what’s the sweet spot?
The ideal price for your product will depend on many factors, including the market, your costs, and the value of your product to consumers.
You could experiment with different pricing packages to see which one hits the sweet spot for your customers. A/B testing will come in handy here. The goal is not to increase the price to grow your business but rather to optimize and price your product accordingly.
4. Leverage Referral Programs
Scaling a SaaS product is hard enough, so why not leverage the resources you already have? Your customers!
Studies show that customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate than customers acquired via other channels. So, if you’re looking to scale up your SaaS company and build a solid base of loyal customers, referrals are your best bet.
But how do you get your customers to refer their friends and family?
By implementing a referral program that will reward them for every referral they bring. Incentivize with monetary rewards, loyalty points, or discounts and provide multiple methods of sharing that referral.
5. Focus on Vital Sales Metrics
One of the best ways to ensure you’re on the path to growth is by tracking vital sales metrics. Without understanding critical metrics and what they mean for your business, your growth efforts might not yield your desired results.
Some key metrics to track are:
- Churn rate
- Customer acquisition cost
- Customer lifetime value
- Activation rate
- Monthly/Annual recurring revenue (MRR/ARR)
- Growth rates and margins
- Conversion rates
As a SaaS business leader, there’s no shortage of metrics you could measure and track, but these are the most impactful ones for those looking to scale their operations.
6. Optimize Your Teams
The talent you hire plays a critical role when scaling up your operations.
Hire people who understand your goal and the vision behind the product. The right team will help you make decisions regarding the product’s future development.
Therefore, hire people with the right skills and business mindsets. The right team will work to improve your product, suggest ideas for future development, and see your product through production to maturity.
7. Make Product Adoption Easy
Product onboarding is critical for the success of your SaaS business.
If customers don’t know how to use your product or don’t understand how it will solve their problems, then there’s a good chance they won’t use it or recommend it to their friends.
Make sure every step of the adoption process is as easy as possible. This includes everything from subscribing to using the product. Complicated product adoption processes create barriers to renewal and referrals, so you should avoid them by all means possible.
8. Leverage Multichannel Acquisition Method
Search engine optimization is excellent at driving organic traffic and customers to your website, but it’s not the only strategy that works.
Successful scaling in SaaS requires the use of multiple marketing techniques. Leverage the multichannel acquisition method.
Rather than relying on SEO, look for alternative acquisition methods that drive results. For instance, you might want to promote your product through influencers and paid advertising. Additionally, you can try email marketing, internet marketing, content marketing, direct selling, and cobranding.
What are the Challenges to Faster Growth?
Despite being a lucrative space with a positive growth outlook, the industry is littered with thousands of failed companies.
Much like any other startup, the failure rate for SaaS is pretty high. An estimated 92% of SaaS businesses fail within the first three years.
So, what are the blockers to SaaS growth?
Some of the factors inhibiting SaaS growth include:
- Failing business model
- Lack of market
- Higher churn rate growth
- Frustrating fast adoption
- Product problems
Ensuring long-term growth and sustainability is critical for SaaS companies. SaaS business owners can overcome these challenges by doing thorough research on the product before the product is launched to ensure a ready market. Maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and implementing a seamless adoption process can also help.
How to Know If Your SaaS Company Is Ready to Scale
The goal of every SaaS business owner is to scale and expand their operations. Unfortunately, no metric equivocally tells you it’s time to grow.
So, how do SaaS business owners know it’s time to scale up.
Your SaaS business is ready to scale if you have:
- Surpassed your previous goals
- Identified the solutions your customers want
- Strong cash flows and high recurring sales
- An atmosphere of minimal risk
- A solid foothold in the business
- A team ready to grow with you
Your business might also be ready to grow if you can overcome a roadblock by scaling. If you notice you can only get over your biggest pitfall by scaling up, it could be time to grow.
Common Mistakes When Scaling SaaS Startups
When scaling your SaaS business, a lot of things need to go right for your growth efforts to succeed. However, mistakes could happen, frustrating your scaling efforts. The most common mistakes that can inhibit the growth of your SaaS business include.
- Poor product design
- Poor or incomplete planning
- Downplaying market research
- Underestimating churn and focusing only on acquisition
- Complicating the product adoption processA lot of things can go wrong when scaling up your SaaS business. But knowing what these things are can help you anticipate roadblocks and prepare accordingly.
Scaling a SaaS business isn’t a walk in the park. It requires a combination of strategies to improve customer satisfaction, optimize pricing, and simplify the adoption process while keeping track of the vital sales metrics.
But with the right information and a rockstar team, you can scale effortlessly while avoiding the common SaaS growth pitfalls.