SaaS Strategies for Growth

February 20, 2018 Saas & Platforms
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

SaaS business growth isn’t always that different from non-SaaS business growth. At the core, every business of any size has to get business the same way: through selling to customers. There are three three critical stages for doing that: Attract, Convert and Retain. For traditional businesses the focus is more on Convert and for SaaS it tilts a bit more toward Retain due to the prevalence of the subscription model. The reality is that all three stages are important regardless. You can’t Retain a customer that you haven’t already Attracted and Converted. So we will take a look at some of the better advice out there to do just that and achieve growth through those three stages.

Attract

The Software Pricing blog has a simple post listing ten straightforward strategies to help SaaS businesses grow. Its focus is mostly on sales and the list is generally about growth hacks, but despite that the post also thinks about customer interactions in the form of an hour glass rather than a funnel. “Nick redraws the typical funnel — you know, leads come in the top and customers pop out the bottom — into an hourglass. Nick’s point is that getting customers to value faster is one of your best sales tools for growth. In the hourglass example, what pops out the funnel is customer success which in turn grows outward into more revenue for the company on all fronts.”

Convert

One of the stats that people always want to know about the effectiveness of marketing is customer engagement. It can be hard to place engagement into a simple bucket because it can contribute to both converting and retaining customers. However the typical usage, as in this blog post from LinkTexting is to look at engagement as part of the customer journey all the way from attracting the customer through to the sale. This post takes a look at customer engagement from the product marketer’s point of view.

The appcues blog looks at customer engagement from a number of angles, from early touches with the customer to improved engagement with existing customers. However most of the suggested strategies in this blog post revolve around better engagement with the customer along the path to converting them. These ten tips are all very practical and easy to implement.

The Pipz automation blog is, not surprisingly, focused on ways to automate customer engagement and this post in particular is about using a Customer Engagement Index (CEI) and some lessons about four specific actions to improve engagement.

Retain

The kissmetrics blog, a well-known fount of wisdom around metrics and content marketing, has a great piece about five strategies to increase user engagement. Their five very different suggestions all come back to one truism, “Customers are the lifeblood of your business. To retain your users, experiment with different engagement strategies to improve retention.”

This post on the Drift blog argues that rather than a go-to-market strategy, SaaS businesses should employ a ‘go-to-customer’ strategy. What is a go-to-customer strategy? According to the post “it’s a focused product, marketing, and sales strategy that drives product usage, measures satisfaction, ensures renewals, and grows from within the customer base.”

Bplans, the site about tools to help you better launch your business, has a solid article about twelve different strategies to increase SaaS business revenue. The suggestions are mostly in reverse order in that they start with retaining existing customers and end with ways to improve signups.

Stimulead writes about five ways to increase SaaS revenue in a piece that looks at customer acquisition, onboarding and retention. They focus mostly on marketing and have this to say, “In terms of revenue, marketing is just as important as a great product. Thinking great products sell themselves couldn’t be farther from the truth so it’s important to allocate resources to optimizing your acquisition and onboarding processes and strategies.”

The Cloud Strategies blog is firmly in the camp that customer retention is the most effective growth strategy. “The best SaaS companies maximize their revenue growth and minimize the cost of growing their revenue by optimizing three revenue sources: 1) New Customers, 2) Incremental Sales to their Customer Base, and 3) Retaining the Customer Base.  Those that focus primarily on new customer acquisition will have to drive a high level of new customer sales just to stay in place.  It is much more expensive to replace a customer than to retain them.”

Putting it all together

This blog post from cobloom covers 87 different growth hacking strategies from four stages of customer interaction: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. Although some of them are fairly specific and only suitable to certain types of SaaS business, there is still something for everyone in this list.

The SaaS Growth Strategies channel on Medium has a great post listing more resources around SaaS growth. It’s well worth a look to get even more viewpoints about effective SaaS strategies for growth.

If you want to learn more about how to grow your platform’s revenue with payments, take a look at our whitepaper on driving revenue by taking payments.

About the author

Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

Owen Linderholm is Senior Content Strategist at WePay. He has previously held content and editorial roles at Yahoo, Microsoft, IDG and the BBC.

More blog posts by Owen Linderholm