Online services are an intrinsic element in the lives of many people around the world. If we check our smartphones, laptops, and corporate computers, it may turn out that most of the applications and tools we use are SaaS-based.
Yalantis has recently disclosed the specifics of SaaS app development. In today’s article, we will share some knowledge about the most popular SaaS software ideas, their benefits, SaaS search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and how to start a SaaS company from scratch.
SaaS is usually compared to a previously popular business model – traditional licensed applications. In comparison to traditional applications, building a SaaS application will give you more freedom and flexibility in development and further improvement.
If you decide to choose a SaaS business model, you won’t have to worry about servers, storage, security, runtime, and other factors. All of these will be the responsibility of a cloud infrastructure provider, such as AWS, Google, Azure, and others.
This will help your company save costs on hardware. Your only responsibility will be financial resources and people who will create the service itself, maintain it, and work on its concept.
Let’s also discuss the benefits your customers will get with such a model.
SaaS Products and Their Benefits
SaaS products compare favorably with traditional applications. One of the most significant advantages of a SaaS business model is the ability to serve a larger audience. How?
Let’s see what a customer will get once they decide to start using SaaS products:
- Affordable prices. With traditional applications, customers have to pay a significant sum of money once and for all to start using a service. With SaaS platforms, customers pay once a month/quarter/year and can stop using a service at any moment.
- Regular and quick updates. SaaS products are accessible via the Internet; thus, all users will get updates simultaneously and in a matter of a small amount of time. Some traditional licensed applications, on the other hand, are installed locally on computers and have to wait for a specialist to update the software by hand.
- Customer-oriented updates. SaaS-based products allow providers to gather lots of analytics on platform performance and usage. This data helps business analytics and product managers prioritize product updates with users’ preferences in mind. As a result, such services have higher user satisfaction rates than traditional applications.
- SaaS platforms provide customers with more flexibility in using features and paying for them: you don’t have to pay for everything available within a platform. Instead, customers can choose the most suitable set of tools. Sometimes, there’s the possibility to customize a set from scratch. With traditional licensed platforms, customers have to pay for a set number of tools even if they don’t use some of them.
- This is one of the greatest benefits of SaaS products. You don’t have to strictly use one device. You only need to know your login and password to access a service from any location and any device.
Now, let’s talk about the types of SaaS product ideas you can consider when choosing a type you would like to develop and sell.
Types of SaaS Products
We’re going to discuss the most common types of SaaS business ideas that are usually used by B2B companies:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps companies manage interactions with customers and promote their services.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software helps manage internal business processes and can be used by various departments inherent in a company.
- Accounting software helps keep track of and manage all financial operations in a company.
- Project management software helps manage specific projects, allocate tasks, and set deadlines.
- CMS and e-commerce platforms work mostly to create a space for content. Such software helps create the space quicker, be it websites for selling goods and services or promoting those.
- Communication platforms are used for internal communication within a company or with clients.
- HR/HRM solutions help manage human resources and all operations related to them, such as compliance, payment, reviews, and so on.
- Visualization tools like Zen Flowchart can help visualize and manage internal processes through the help of business flowcharts
You have information on SaaS benefits and types. It’s high time to discuss how you can start a SaaS company and develop your own SaaS product.
8 Stages of Building a SaaS Company in 2022
Starting a SaaS company can actually include lots of stages. Today, we’re going to present you with the main ones:
Stage #1: Market research
First of all, you have to:
- investigate your competitors, their products, and how they promote these products: your competitors will show you how to build a SaaS business in reality rather than in theory
- identify your target audience: it will help you build your marketing strategy
Stage #2: A business plan
A business plan is a thing that your investors will require, and you will follow. It often consists of:
- a detailed description of the services and products your company will offer via a SaaS platform
- marketing strategy
- financial planning and budgeting
With all of these planned ahead and presented in the best way possible, you can attract the attention of potential investors and even well-known industry experts.
Stage #3: A monetization model
A monetization model is critically important as the price of your products is the thing that your potential customers will compare with those of your competitors. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be fully satisfied only for your customer.
Think about the approximate revenue goals you have set in your business plan. Investors will look at the figures first. Choose a monetization model that is both affordable for buyers and beneficial for your business model.
Stage #4: Branding
Branding means creating a logo, a slogan, choosing corporate colors and fonts, and, in the end, applying it to your SaaS platform. Aside from these things, it’s also essential to write down the brand messages your SaaS company wants to communicate, develop a voice that would reflect the brand you want to create, and come up with a meaningful tagline.
However, dealing with these branding elements by yourself can be challenging. This is especially true if you don’t know what to do and where to begin. Your branding efforts won’t deliver results if you have an effective and solid branding strategy.
Because of this, it’s better to give this task to professionals from respectable agencies. Their experience and ability to highlight the advantages and particularities of business will help your platform get noticed and recognized.
Stage #5: Legal affairs
Your legal department should officially legalize your business. Don’t postpone this in order to avoid having to make everything at the very last minute.
When your SaaS company has no legal authority to operate, you’ll be mandated to cease your operations, which results in wasted time, money, and effort.
But aside from officially legalizing your SaaS business, your legal department will also be responsible for drafting the necessary documents and policies that are helpful for your business operations. These legal documents can include security policy, terms of service, data storage and hosting policy, service legal agreement, and other relevant papers. Once you have these official documents, your SaaS company will be ready to operate.
Stage #6: Create a team
There are several options you can choose from:
- Creating your own team of developers, whom you should pay a salary on a regular basis
- Gathering a team of freelancers
- Hiring an independent software engineering company that you can partner with for a specific project or period of time
Stage #7: Development
This stage speaks for itself: you will start developing your product. Remember:
- SaaS platform development requires a sophisticated knowledge of the industry and its peculiarities. If you decide to work with outsourcing companies, make sure you address high-skilled specialists
- SaaS development is resource-intensive: time, finances, people – don’t cut corners on these aspects; otherwise, you can get an underdeveloped product
- Listen to the opinions of your development team or the software engineering firm you hired – they may be more knowledgeable about SaaS platforms than you and can provide you with useful product development recommendations.
Stage #8: Promotion
You can start promoting your services ahead of time. The more people will know about a soon-to-be-released product, and the more companies will have an interest in it.
One of the most popular tricks nowadays is inviting beta-testers, who will have a chance to try your product first.
You can use their feedback in your marketing campaign after the official release. It’s important to think through your marketing campaign inside and out: target audience, their needs and pains, types of content they will likely prefer, and so on.
Moreover, with the increasing number of online users today, it’s also important to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to expand your customer reach and boost your online presence. One of these strategies is link building. It refers to an SEO strategy or technique used to establish links to your site from external websites. With SaaS link building, you can help your website rank highly on the search engines using hyperlinks to achieve better conversions.
How to Raise Money for a SaaS Business
SaaS development requires a lot of resources that you can get through funding. However, think carefully about its types, for example, venture capital, angel investors, revenue-based financing, crowdfunding, and other options.
Sometimes, companies rely completely on their own financial resources. However, nobody is immune to bankruptcy. Remember that you’re responsible for the people who work with you. If you aren’t sure of success, don’t waste all of your resources on this project.
SaaS platforms are gradually replacing some traditional licensed applications and present users with more opportunities to deal with their work. If you’re thinking about entering the market with your product, thoroughly investigate your competitors and design a unique offer your customers will be fully satisfied with.