Software as a Service(SaaS) is an approach where applications are delivered over the internet. SaaS businesses have seen massive growth due to the increased demand for remote work and the enormous adoption of cloud-based software. According to Gartner, end-user spending on SaaS-based applications is expected to reach $171,915 million by the end of 2022.
However, growing your SaaS capabilities and scaling the company is not a piece of cake. There are several challenges while you grow your SaaS business, like:
- Agility to adjust according to changing customer demands
- Scaling infrastructure to cope with a larger userbase
- Reducing the customer acquisition costs
- Rapid development with minimum errors
- Lack of cohesive strategy for optimized deployments
Overcoming these challenges needs more than just making a few adjustments in the code structure. So, here we are with a five-step guide on how to grow your SaaS business.
Step 1: Analyzing the market
The first step towards SaaS business growth is to analyze the current state of the market and understand what customers want. Next, if you plan to grow your SaaS business, you need to research competitors, market trends, and new technologies transforming the user experience.
For example, vertical SaaS platforms have gained popularity due to a massive surge in demand for industry-specific solutions. As a result, SaaS-based solutions like healthcare analytics, logistic analytics, fleet management solutions, retail analytics, and others have seen an enormous surge in recent times.
Researching the market will help you expand your business offerings into new SaaS trends and grow your business. The next step that you need to take for the hyper-growth of the SaaS business is to devise a cohesive strategy to cope with the agility needs.
Step 2: Cohesive strategy
When you expand your SaaS capabilities for a larger userbase or even for new markets, you need a cohesive strategy. This is where a DevOps culture and mindset play a key role. In addition, you need the development and operational teams in sync to capitalize on the market shift towards a specific trend.
For example, suppose you are developing a hospital analytics SaaS app. In that case, there are many different types of data that you will have to aggregate, manage, and optimize for representation on the dashboard. Further, patient data is recorded and stored for retrieval per the doctor’s request on the software.
So, you need enhanced collaboration between teams to ensure that everything from data fetching to processing of request work seamlessly. One of the famous examples of DevOps culture helping enterprises grow their business capabilities is Etsy.
Using a DevOps strategy customized to their operations and improved their deployments to 80 releases per day. The introduction of DevOps culture also helped Etsy reduce software errors by 25%.
Similarly, you can assimilate DevOps culture in your organization and optimize operations for the growth of the SaaS business. The next step for inducing change into your SaaS business is prioritization.
Step 3: Prioritize your workloads.
Prioritizing the workloads and having actionable prioritization is secret to SaaS business growth. You can prioritize workloads based on the feature differentiation approach. Differentiation of feature is a concept where workload prioritization is planned according to the unique value offered to customers compared to others in the market.
According to Vinod Vasudevan, Global CTO MDR & Deputy Global CTO of Atos, “In a world where there are many products for the same category, differentiation is the key to survival.”
Using the prioritization of workloads based on high-value features and services can help your SaaS business grow with a competitive advantage. It also helps your SaaS business to cater to the target audience a seamless experience.
Prioritization leads to the next big step- infrastructure management!
Step 4: JIT infrastructure
SaaS applications are often subjected to peak loads, and on the off days, you pay for idle infrastructure resources. A JIT (Just In Time) approach can help you scale when you need it and optimize infrastructure costs by managing idle resources.
It is a type of approach where your infrastructure is scaled for peak loads like a product launch event or even a flash sale on the eCommerce platform. At the same time, during the non-peak hour, instances are decommissioned to avoid payment towards idle resources.
SaaS businesses can leverage the JIT approach through cloud services that offer a pay-as-you-go model. As a result, scaling resources, creating testing environments, and quickly releasing iterations during peak hours becomes easier.
If you can scale your infrastructure as per load requirements, the number of service failures and downtime can reduce. However, you will need monitoring of the system to ensure an excellent customer experience. This is where SaaS growth metrics can help understand the bottlenecks to user experience for your business.
Step 5: SaaS Growth Monitoring
If you are wondering how you will measure the growth rate of your SaaS business, the answer is simple: measuring key performance indicators. Here are some KPIs that you can measure to understand the SaaS business growth.
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) helps measure how much income an average customer enables you to generate every month. For example, multiplying the MRR by 12 months will give you Annual Recurring Revenue(ARR), which helps understand the performance of your SaaS business.
- Churn rates help measure customer attrition and revenue decline for your SaaS business. For data-driven analytics, you can calculate either the churn rates for customers or revenue individually.
- Activation rate helps measure the number of product activations by your customers; It is a KPI that you can measure through a combination of behavioral analytics and user journey mapping.
- Net Promoter Score(NPS) measures how much value customers draw from your SaaS product. It helps quickly understand the customer’s feedback and analyzes the root cause of customer churn.
- Expansion revenues are significant KPIs to measure, especially when you struggle with MRR and want to grow higher. In addition, it allows you to calculate the revenue generated when a customer upgrades to a higher subscription plan for your SaaS product.
This guide covers everything you need to grow your SaaS business, from market analysis to prioritizing workloads, having a cohesive strategy, and monitoring the growth of your SaaS business. Using this guide, you can start the SaaS growth journey through an excellent plan devised according to data-driven analysis. However, it is essential to understand that every organization is different, so you will have to customize your SaaS growth strategy.