Getting ready for growth
Now that you’ve got some users, some revenue, some feedback, and are planning your empire, it’s time to get going on some things that are going to make a big difference to your long-term growth.
There are a lot of different paths you can take at this point. It really depends on what problems you’re solving, your target marketing, and much more. So rather than dissecting all the different types of SaaS companies, we are just going to outline the general areas that are reviewed at this point and some features and ideas that are usually implemented.
Once you’ve got a few users you probably realize that the way you had people starting needs to be improved. This can be anything from additional work on the development side, to just additional education in the system.
Optimizing your onboarding system can be the thing that makes the difference between people using your system and not. Other than the system actually working, this is one of the biggest areas of retainment that can be adjusted.
Your onboarding system should teach people what the system does, get the necessary information, and enable users to implement the SaaS into their systems as quickly as possible.
One trick that was recommended to me, and really works well, is to give people an option prior to or during onboarding to either watch a video on the system or sign up for a personalized demo before they can start using the system. What this does is let people think there is a choice, when in reality everyone always chooses the video. Because to set up a meeting is always going to take longer and no one wants to wait to just look around.
This way, rather than people feeling like you are forcing them into watching a 2 or 3 minute video, they are CHOOSING to watch the video. This system increases user understanding of the system dramatically, thus increasing retention rates, while making people feel good about what they’re doing.
We’ve changed onboarding systems in SaaS systems so many times now. It is most often because the system initially implemented was good, but too complicated. I wish I could say it has to be as simple as possible, but it’s a balance. More often than not, SaaS systems start with too much information and have to cut back after the first version.
One of the best things you can do to ensure users are using your system while decreasing attrition is to prepare a series of onboarding emails that go out to a new user when they sign up for your SaaS. These emails will go out every day for a few days in a row and will clearly state that there are only a few that will be sent as well as explain the use of a different system each day.
These kinds of emails keep a user engaged in that critical first few days of considering the use of a new system. Scenarios for use and how the system was used to grow a company or accomplish a goal can be used as well in these emails to connect with your users.
When a user signs up they are tagged in one way. When they start a project, add a friend, add a teammate, implement a system, or use a feature, they can be tagged as such and given different information based on what they have done and how they have done it.
Since the different uses of different aspects of your system imply how likely or unlikely a user is to continue using the system, tagging users as such during their onboarding process can be an important aspect of the process that enables follow-up with users via email campaigns, direct campaigns, chatbots, and even phone calls.
Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Just keep people informed. Keep giving them good information. Make sure they know the lights are on and that somebody is there taking care of them. The position responsible for doing this can be anywhere from an 8th of someone’s time up to easily a full time position or multiple full time positions; it is a lot of work to keep people abreast of everything that’s going on.
Getting ready for a sale means having something to sell. Before you start onboarding people, at least for most SaaS systems, you should have an upsell waiting. Having the upsell can be the difference between getting by and thriving, or getting by and not getting by. This is a part of your overall pricing structure, so by the time you’re getting to this point, you’re probably already set on this.
But if you’re not these are some examples of what your upsell might include:
- The next level up in the system
- Addons for the system
- A done-for-you approach
For many SaaS systems, the upsell is critical because it offsets churn. The people upgrading upgrade at a higher rate than the people churning, and that can make a huge difference to the business.