Software as a Service (SaaS) has completely changed the landscape of modern business, especially for smaller businesses just starting out. These services and apps give extremely powerful and effective software to businesses who may not otherwise be able to afford or host it. Some of these SaaS packages, like Salesforce, have dramatically altered the way businesses handle sales and marketing, and there’s always opportunities to invent or improve the next big SaaS app. Here’s a few trends to pay attention to as you ideate and for you to keep in mind during SaaS development.
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The ability to quickly integrate and adopt relevant software to any particular team is becoming more important every day. The selection and purchase of SaaS packages used to be squarely in the realm of executives and management. Now, as businesses grow and diversify, the ability for lower-level team members to choose the best software for their needs, as opposed to the necessity of adapting to the existing company software package, solves a lot of issues. If an app integrates seamlessly and easily without the need for extensive training and adaptation help from your IT team, it gives each team the freedom to operate efficiently and independently. Developing a SaaS app that works with multiple platforms and systems, while being intuitive and easy to understand, will give you an edge in the market.
It’s Imperative to Find a Niche
If you’re looking to develop a successful app, you always need to keep an eye on the market. What sectors are hot, which are dropping, which are rising…the timing and relevance of launching your SaaS app should be dependent on the current and predicted future of that particular field. So, what’s happening in the SaaS market today? Here’s a peek at the expenditure of businesses on SaaS, by department, over the last 8 years, as per Blissfully:
As we can see, the engineering and sales departments have traditionally held the majority of the SaaS expenditures through the years. It would be a fairly safe bet that those departments would hold steady with that spending, though you should realize that the market might be saturated. Focusing on improving upon existing models might be a better idea, like plug-ins or accessories. Customer support and finance seem to be holding steady, though a fairly small share, while business ops seems to be fading while still holding a good share of the market. If you look closely, you can notice that HR is growing, and has only been a part of the SaaS share for the last 4 years. This may be the chance to get into a burgeoning sector with a truly innovative app.
Go Mobile or Go Home
As business goes, so goes the app world. If a business isn’t mobile ready, you are way behind. Likewise, if the SaaS you’re adopting isn’t fully functional on mobile devices, you are limiting the ability of your app to be used company-wise in its full scale. With cloud-based SaaS mobile apps, team members can access vital information from anywhere outside the office, all while being able to communicate and share data with other teammates and customers.
Additionally, the SaaS provider will be able to communicate more effectively with its users, primarily through push notifications. The responsiveness should be much higher via a mobile device, and various support and update issues can be addressed directly. And, if your SaaS package is priced out according to the amount of users (which many are), this should naturally result in more profits for your app.
Maintaining Cost Control
There’s always a way to streamline your budget and help your bottom line. On-premise software packages can be an enormous expenditure on the front end, and regular support, updates, and maintenance from your IT department or outside contractors can pile up extra costs and pull your overworked IT team away from necessary tasks. As the SaaS market is becoming increasingly competitive, attractive pricing models are quickly becoming a major selling point for potential buyers. Dropping initial costs, spreading pricing out over longer amounts of time, or offering additional features to offer value can help your SaaS app sell better, while also raising your retention rates. Turnover with SaaS packages is historically high, so providing value and flexibility straight from the launch should keep you a step ahead. Pricing per feature offered, such as additional data storage space, gives the buyer a better way to manage their expenditure and the SaaS provider additional scalable revenue as the company grows.
Offer Education and Branding
Like any other business, SaaS brands are starting to create identities as thought leaders and experts in the various technologies that they represent. This is a smart trend; many studies show that consumers appreciate and value content that generally educates and enlightens, as opposed to just explaining the product and how great it is. In a churn-heavy environment full of stiff competition, SaaS brands need to do some marketing to stand out in their field and compete. White papers, eBooks, surveys, and blog posts on relevant topics will have potential and current users checking in often and sharing these free resources online, organically raising brand awareness and SEO status.
As for branding, SaaS brands would be wise to ensure that they establish a voice and tone, and keep it consistent throughout your website, social media channels, and all other published content. Whether it’s light and conversational or clever and professional, users identify and respond well to continuity of tone. SaaS typically has great support and responsiveness to issues, so use this asset to keep trust with your buyers, while keeping your voice consistent.
That said, more and more SaaS buyers wish to have the service they have bought appear to be their own. White labeling is also a hot trend for SaaS providers, and, for an extra cost, many SaaS providers will format their product to appear to be native to the brand. Making this additional service available to future and current customers is good policy, and demonstrating your ability to white label your service on your website will give consumers reassurance as they move into the decision making phase of the sales funnel.