SaaS (Software as a Service) is a cloud-based software adopted by businesses to host their business applications. Generally, these services are offered by software vendors through a subscription pricing model and maintain servers, databases, source code for business applications.
This web-based model allows users to seamlessly access data from their devices using the internet and web browsers.
Table of Content
- 1. Market research and analysis
- 2. Create software that solves user problems
- 3. Understand the user touchpoints and improve product
- 4. Build Best Developer Team
- 5. Develop MVP (Most Viable Product)
- 6. Follow proper development strategy
- 7. Understand your users, and follow user-centered design process
- 8. Idea validation, tech stack, monetization model
- 9. Validate your idea properly and do adequate user testing
- 10. Find the right pricing model
- 11. Change management and process considerations
- 12. Target long-tail users
- 13. Identify your market and build audience
- 14. Gather user feedback and improve your product
- 15. Try to understand product concerns and solve them
- 16. Excellent Customer Service and avoid using large cloud vendors
- 17. Multiple options
- 18. Conclusion
It offers so many benefits like no need for extensive hardware, annual and monthly subscription model, data accessibility through web browsers, platform compatibility, reduced painful installations, excluded strict contracts, flexibility, fine customer support service, security, etc.
In this blog, we will learn about the significant tips to build a successful SaaS product for your business.
Market research and analysis
“To be able to create a wonderful product from scratch, you have to be able to do some market analysis and prove that the product you have in mind will fit in with what the market needs. Saas will have requirements, so take them down and see if you can make them all. Your pricing model may not be the same as others too, so it is something to research and see what is best for your product. Your development team should be based on budget, but also finding the best people in your field. They may not be the more experienced, but passion means a lot too.”Daniel, founder of Daniel Foley
“The key to building a successful SaaS product is thoroughly analyzing the market segment you're trying to compete within to ensure that there is a need for the SaaS product you're envisioning. While the technical aspects of SaaS development like multi-tenancy, self-service provisioning, and user activity monitoring are essential to its success, properly preparing with a SWOT analysis and a business plan can prevent you from spending time and capital on a product that, frankly, does not need to be created. If you're passionate about your idea and believe you can add something to similar models that have already been brought to market, make sure you know how you can distinguish your SaaS from other options and how to market your SaaS to your target customers.”- Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition at MitoQ.
“First thing is to analyze the market. This is normal for any product or service. Knowing the market ahead of time is key, you want to build for them. If you build and then try to find a market for your product it is going to be much harder, and may even be a huge waste of time and energy and you will have to make corrections after the fact. Avoid this by doing your market research. A business plan is the next step and then defining what the SaaS requirements are. All of this knowledge is imperative for success. Choose a technical stack and then create a team that knows this stack inside and out.”- Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass
“When planning to launch a SaaS product, you first need to do a ton of market research and analysis. Dedicate months to this, honestly. You can never do too much. Knowing the market before you get into it, identifying a target audience will save you so much trouble in the long run. You don't want to go for a shot in the dark approach with this.
After that, you'll need a dedicated business plan. If your business already exists, I still recommend doing this. It's helpful to see your goals and intentions, forecast potential revenue, and drum up support from investors.
From there you need to start working on getting an MVP together, then rigorously test it, analyze the results, and refine.”- Dan Bailey, President at WikiLawn
“The key to a successful SaaS product is done by performing market research on your target niche before you build anything.
Look for a niche or market where there is a lot of revenue (money) going into it. Get to know the consumers and businesses in that niche by spending time in places they are likely to be. Some are in Facebook groups and some spend time on Twitter. Try to identify the problems they have and see if those problems can be solved with a software product.
Market to these people with your solution to their problem. Get their contact info and put them on a mailing list. Give them a release date and take pre-orders. By this time, you should have already researched to see how much money and time it would cost to get a developer to build it. If you can develop it yourself, you’ll save money.
Throughout your time in the niche, you will decide whether your business will be B2C or B2B.
That was a summarized version of how to build a successful SaaS product. You don’t build without knowing what the needs are of the people you are trying to target.
- Find a niche
- Get to know the niche
- Build an audience through an e-mailing list
- Build the SaaS for that audience
- Make modifications based on audience/customer feedback”
“SaaS has become an increasingly popular value delivery model in recent years. As SaaS products' demand increases, it is important for those considering joining the industry to take the necessary steps in building a successful product that brings true value to the marketplace. To start with, you need to conduct market research to establish the size of the market, competitive landscape, and opportunities for differentiation. Above all, you need to come up with a hypothesis of the customer profile that is best served by the product/service you have in mind so that you crisply define who you are going after. *
*As important as the analysis phase is, you must accept that some of your assumptions and hypotheses will be wrong. You have to establish a rapid rhythm of building out minimal iterations of software to test the market with. You have to take the feedback you receive from each iteration and decide if your assumptions are being validated or invalidated, and then make course corrections as needed. The businesses that can iterate and course correct the fastest stand the best chance of riding the exponential growth curve. *”- Denis Leclair, VP engineering leader @ Trellis
Create software that solves user problems
“In my experience, the most important element of a good SaaS product is its main purpose. You have to create software that solves some kind of problem or answers a need. If your product doesn’t have anything new to offer, it probably won’t succeed. Today, it is hard to create something that doesn’t already exist. However, each software has downsides and your job is to look at those and offer an improved alternative. This way, you will easily differentiate your product from others and potentially find an audience of customers who weren’t satisfied with the existing selection in the market.
These improvements don’t have to be revolutionary - sometimes existing software is way too expensive for small businesses and you can simply create a high-quality product at lower prices. Whatever it is, make sure that your model is based on the real needs of the audience.
One mistake business leaders often make is getting attached to their original idea and spending too much time on its development. By the time they finish, the market is already filled with similar, usually better products, which significantly increases competition.”- Elena Rychyna, PR manager at Airfocus
Understand the user touchpoints and improve product
“Business leaders and entrepreneurs often come up with great SaaS ideas to solve real-world issues but fail to clearly articulate what their platform does or why people should use it. Create a document brain dump of your ideas and constantly tinker with the description of the product, its purpose, and – most importantly – what makes it unique. This process will take time but will enhance your vision clearly for customers and colleagues.
User experience should drive your product’s progress. To build a successful SaaS, you need to thoroughly understand the customer’s touchpoints to ensure the people will want to use the platform. Successful entrepreneurs truly understand how their customers are using the platform and are constantly improving the product. As you work toward a specific customer and user experience objective, you're able to show progression and results and are more likely to build a successful user experience.”- Gary Lyng, data expert and CMO at Aparavi
Build Best Developer Team
“Depending upon the technology stack including the development of your SaaS project, hire dedicated developers who are specialists in their particular technologies. You can also examine partnering with a software development business that can source the best talent for you while also allowing the most affordable and adjustable engagement models.”- Brack Nelson, Marketing Manager @ Incrementors Web Solution
Develop MVP (Most Viable Product)
“When you build a new SaaS product, don't try to develop many features and views at once. Firstly, developing each of them will cost money. Secondly, you will have significantly better conversions if your potential users can immediately understand what your program is for, how it works, and that it's easy to use.
If the user sees a huge menu with many advanced features, they may decide they don't want to spend tons of time learning how everything works. Moreover, they might not want to overpay for the functionality they don't actually need. So you should focus on your target user's core pain point and make sure that you clearly communicate how your product addresses it.
Becoming a swiss-knife, full of features, a single platform that a user would ever need – may be an excellent approach for scaling. Before you take that path, you should have a decent base of paying users and an experienced support team. Moreover, as you get more experience with the market, you will better understand which features are worth developing.”- Illia Termeno, Founder @Fractional CMO
Follow proper development strategy
“By far the most important element of a good SaaS product is strategy. Competition today is fierce and there is virtually no place for improvisation. A strong SaaS product has a detailed growth strategy that follows each step of development. Before a product is launched there is a lot of testing to be done and this process usually takes a lot of time.
In order to get through this process successfully, there must be a carefully designed plan that helps product developers move from one stage to another. The strategy usually contains a detailed analysis of the current market need for certain software and necessary steps that need to be taken in order to fully develop such a product. This is usually one of the most complex documents to create, but it makes all the difference. The SaaS industry is evolving rapidly and there is literally no way to succeed without a strong plan of action.”- Stefan Chekanov, CEO of Brosix
Understand your users, and follow user-centered design process
“Building a SaaS product is no different than building any other product. Every product that has experienced success is designed for an end-customer (be it a business user or consumer user) and helps them solve a problem or gives them productivity gains. Success comes from understanding the problem, including customers in the design of the user experience, testing that design (resulting in qualitative and quantitative data) and when that is done and agreed upon between the design team, stakeholders (product management/execs), and end-users/customers, then you write code.
Most products (SaaS or otherwise), fail from unmet user expectations (negative reactions), over-promising on an experience (disappointment), or entirely missing the boat on the workflows (misunderstanding) that the end-user requires to be successful and more productive.
To avoid these issues, and to deliver a successful product – understand your users, and implement an iterative user-centered design process, including customers in each featured design of your product, and iterate on the design until it matches user/customer expectation.
The bottom line - unless you follow an effective design process you will miss the mark on the core capabilities that will drive the success of your product. So how to build a successful SaaS product? Implement and follow an agile user-centered design process and include customers every step of the way.”- Jason Beres, Senior VP of Developer Tools @Infragistics
Idea validation, tech stack, monetization model
“The first step in creating a successful SaaS product is business idea validation. This process includes precise market research to identify your target audience and potential competitors. Your next step should be defining the tech stack influenced by two main factors: your software ecosystem and the experience of your software team. Depending on the conditions, you can write a SaaS application in any language, but ordinary Python is used for simple projects while Java is used for enterprise-level cases with many integrations.
Alongside the tech stack, it is worth defining a list of features. The information about the buyer personas' needs that you get through market research will help identify them. However, your SaaS app should have some must-have features like the availability to log in at any time, the scalability to address increased workload, the security for safety authentication, and the expandability to widen existing system functionality.
Finally, you have to choose a monetization model. We recommend working out several pricing tiers to provide value for each category of customers. Most SaaS products use a subscription model known for its flexibility. It can be flat-rate priced, user-based, feature-based, usage-based, and freemium. Following all these steps will let you develop a successful SaaS product.”- Igor Zaporozhets, CTO & Co-Founder of Aimprosoft
Validate your idea properly and do adequate user testing
“Validate your idea and double down on user testing. The most important tip for building a truly successful SaaS product would be to take the time to validate your idea and do adequate user testing. At the validation stage, you need to assess if your product idea has a profitable market need. You need to be sure that you’re solving a real problem and that people would be willing to pay for your product. Surveys, market research, and competitor analysis will help you find the right answers. Also, try to step into the field and talk to real people to assess the depth and scope of the problem. Having done that, you need to make sure you’re building the right product, one that looks good outside of your head too. So be sure to go through multiple rounds of user testing. A product that you envisioned and designed from scratch is going to look easy to use, to you. But does the average user comfortable with it? Do they get it? Can it be easily navigated and interacted? What should you do differently so users engage better? User testing will help answer all these questions and more, to ensure you build a sure hit.”- Hiral Atha, CEO at Moveo
“Building a successful SaaS is all about finding the product-market fit, before running out of money.
The first step is to validate the idea. This means getting the idea in front of as many people as possible. Getting early feedback is extremely important because it allows you to work on the idea before wasting any time/money actually building it. The best people to talk to are the potential customers. Friends and family are usually exceptionally bad at providing good feedback because they want to see their relatives succeed and will tell them whatever they think is best for them. Finding potential customers early on is also a very good way to test marketing channels.
Once the idea is validated, it’s time to actually build it. Staying lean and launching new features quickly is key here. Ideally, one wants to launch with a minimum viable product (MVP) as soon as possible and build all additional features around it based on customer feedback.
Once the core product functions, this process is iterated over and over again until the product is market-ready. At this point, it should be clear who the ideal customers are, how to reach them, and what product they want. At this point, customer acquisition can be ramped up to hopefully make the product successful.”- Jannis Gebauer from Gebauer.dev
Find the right pricing model
“One of the keys to building a successful SaaS product is finding the right pricing model and price. A great place to get started is to research your competitors – how do they price their products? What are the low, medium and high price points for your market? In addition, you should think about your pricing model as an experiment similar to the way that companies continually test and improve their products.
Here are a few pricing tips:
If your product provides clear value immediately, you can likely get away without offering a free trial or a free version of the product. In contrast, if your value is harder to prove, you might benefit from offering a free trial that allows customers to experience the value risk-free.
If your product is unique and creates a new category, you can price it more aggressively. In contrast, if there are several similar products in the market, you'll likely have to price them comparably to existing products.
Pick a pricing model that scales as your customers grow. Common examples are pricing your product on a per-seat or per-use basis. Email solutions that are priced on a per-email basis are a great example. This will allow your average contract value to grow naturally over time.”- Bruce Hogan, CEO of SoftwarePundit
Change management and process considerations
“The first step is to understand that a SaaS product is in many ways like a traditional software offering. The internal technology constraints are reduced, and the financial considerations are different, but the keys to a successful implementation are the same. Change management and process considerations are essential factors for adoption. At the end of the day, it is still a solution that meets a business need and the software itself is only a component of the solution. Beyond the IT considerations, other functional areas may need to be augmented or built out. Successful SaaS providers will be proactive in providing ongoing support in these areas as much as continuing to extend the functionality of the software itself.”- Sam Iosevich, Chief Analytics Officer @ The Parker Avery Group
Target long-tail users
“Building a successful SaaS product starts with a quick win. When I create SaaS products, I start by thinking of 3 benchmarks: what accomplishment can a user receive at 1 minute, 5 minutes, and 15 minutes on the platform?
As a product founder, I have to earn a conversion on a SaaS platform - that conversion to a free trial is step 2, and conversion to completing onboarding is step 3. Revenue is a lagging metric. By breaking down initial wins for flaky users, I create a SaaS experience that entices the efficient millennial to say “huh that was easy” and convert within 15 minutes.
The biggest mistake founders and product managers make is they build one-off features that don’t align with the 1/5/15 model. “For what % users will this be the make-it feature that converts them?” Running hundreds of user interviews is the only way I determine priority.
From targeting long-tail users to ultimately satisfying general users, this is my framework for building a great SaaS product.”- Elizabeth Ferrao, Founder of Product Mindset
Identify your market and build audience
“Building a SaaS product got easier and harder at the same time. Building SaaS projects gets easier as educational materials and great open-source libraries are more available than ever before. On the other hand, getting a product known and finding paying customers is more challenging than ever before.
Starting to identify your market and building an audience around the topic helps greatly in overcoming this. It also allows you to identify other “places” people hang out online. You can use this information to identify marketing channels. These channels should be validated and ranked by potential. Make sure to go unbiased into this otherwise you might close your eyes to the biggest opportunities.
The second priority should be with SEO. Google is slow to rank websites. It can take up to 18 months to build a substantial ranking. Betting on SEO is playing the long game: You invest resources upfront but you earn in the long run.”- Peter Thaleikis, CEO @Bring Your Own Ideas Ltd.
“We start with research and product development. Who is our customer? What are their pain points? And how will our product address those points?
Once we’ve narrowed in on our audience and what problem our client's product solves for them, we make a focused analysis of the market and the relevant competition. In identifying who we’re competing with, we can better understand how we will position the product and what its standout core features will be.
In our comprehensive market strategy, we incorporate strategic visual tools like a Business Model Canvas, Vision/Traction Organizer, and Customer Journey to help us create the right message, channel, and timing of our campaigns. And, we keep optimizing these channels, bringing people through the journey and into our sales channel.
Our go-to-market channels defined, we ensure that the appropriate attention is put on all the elements of a marketing plan: digital, traditional, and PR channels are executed as defined in the marketing plan. We also incorporate Martech—or marketing technology—to create agile marketing that attracts prospects and turns customers into devoted fans of the product.
Finally, analytics and attribution round out the making of a successful SaaS product. These allow us to quantify key metrics so we can adjust and streamline our approach as necessary.”- Michael Beaton, Strategy Director @ Hyper Flywheel
Gather user feedback and improve your product
“Focus on the product. Don't hire marketing or salespeople until you have found a product-market fit. Invest everything in talking with your early users and first customers, then making decisions to improve the product.
Don't try to rush to raise VC-backed funds or hire employees without control.
It doesn't matter how many employees you have or how much money you have to burn if your product is not good. The end will be the same, it will fail.”- Borja Prieto, Head of Growth @ FROGED.com
Try to understand product concerns and solve them
In my case (and the case of many other founders I know), the best way to build a successful product is to solve your own problem. Before I created my SaaS product, I was working in an agency and I would have to write and send quite a few business proposals every day. Eventually, I realized I could create an app to automate much of the work for me and that’s how Better Proposals eventually came to be. Right from the start, I knew what the product needed to be great because I was creating it for myself and people like me and I knew what kind of problems I wanted to solve. This also makes it much easier to market it later on because you know which aspects of the product will be important to the end-user.- Adam Hempenstall, CEO at Better Proposals
Excellent Customer Service and avoid using large cloud vendors
“Provide excellent customer service and talk to your customers personally as much as possible. This is important not only to your customers but helps you to understand what they really want to pay for. *
*Do not use large cloud vendors. This allows you to keep costs low and get profitable quickly.”- Zoltan David, founder of ConfigCat
“1. *Market research: *What's the core problem you're trying to address? Here's where the existence of your SaaS is defined/re-defined.
2. *The pricing model: *Make sure you provide competitive pricing.
What's the point of building a SaaS product-free? You can always plan to onboard customers with a free trial, though.
3. *Integration options*: SaaS products are not used in isolation. There's always a need for a chat integration or analytics or alert notification solution. You need to provide plugs to the most critical related SaaS products.
4. *Technology*: Are you creating a code completion SaaS or a payments SaaS? It'll impact your choice on whether you're going with Java or Python.
5. *Hosting platform*: Choose your provider wisely by evaluating your needs. Customer support, per hour pricing, alerts, security, fault tolerance should all affect your choices.
6. *Marketing*: Pick a marketing partner who can place you at the customer's click/tap. Referral, email, social, affiliate, content, and ad marketing can boost your chances of keeping the customer base engaged and reducing churn.
7. *Sales closure*: Qualifying marketing leads into sales makes sure cash flow is constant and keeps the product cycle rolling.
These steps are very generic, so you can use them whether you are building a CRM, Analytics, or Payments SaaS.”- Thierry Tremblay, Founder of Kohezion
“I would say that the best advice to building a strong SaaS product is: 1. know the market 2. Know your competitors 3. use software tools to automate your tasks so you can put energy into growing and marketing your product, and not on day to day operations 4. provide excellent customer service.
Churn is a huge issue for SaaS companies, so not only ensuring that the processes are smooth and automated, but coupling that with excellent customer service will lower churn, increase referrals from satisfied clients (free marketing!), and allow you the time to grow your business to scale.”- Samantha Avneri, Marketing Director at Regpack
“First of all, a successful SaaS product should be secure and reliable, scalable, accessible as it's easier to use it all the time and is unavailable only in case of no internet connection. In regard to creating a successful SaaS product the following features should be considered:
Market research: Before realizing your idea make sure to check whether the product will be required in the market. For that, first clearly identify your target market, drag out the pain points of your potential users, and work on offering a helpful solution. Remember, your product shouldn't be something you're highly interested in rather than something that people will find useful and worth their time and money.
Discuss SaaS requirements and define the MVP (minimum viable product):
After choosing the industry and group of people your product is going to serve, make sure to learn about your possible competitors and draw out parallels and comparisons. Identify benefits that will make your product stand out, customize it regarding your target market, pay attention to integration and security, which is very important especially in the case of internet-based software. On the other hand, make financial planning. What I mean is clearly defining subscription plans and MVP. As I mentioned earlier, if your SaaS product is a brand new one and just trying to enter the market, it's just pointless to put subscription fees. Instead identify a minimum viable product, free of charge features that will interest your users and will motivate them to jump to a payable version of your product.
Meantime, if this can't work for you at least define trial versions for the users.
Database: This keeps the necessary information for your application, and it should be secure and easy/comfortable to use.
Find an appropriate development team if you don't have your own. Outsourcing is very popular among startups as it's more affordable and the development process is smoother if you choose the right vendor. Choose an appropriate cloud provider: SaaS products or products available online should be hosted in a cloud environment. Discuss these with your tech team and choose the most beneficial cloud provider for you such as Amazon (AWS), Google, Microsoft, Heroku.”- Srbuhi Avetisyan, Business Development Specialist at CodeRiders
“Once you have decided that you are going to build a SaaS, it is important that you include the following in your planning.
- A good understanding of the customers\business requirements.
- Define data security specifications.
- Design the disaster recovery process.
- Identify the appropriate team members, and their capabilities, that will be implementing the software.
- Design the data structure necessary to implement.
- Select the appropriate software for your back end and front end.
- Design the user interface with the customer's needs in mind. Ensure if it is really easy to utilize
- Customer support preparation.
- Determine Service Level Agreement (SLA) including turnaround time, etc.
- Documentation for the entire infrastructure.
- Customer training.
- Determine the best places to market your product and market it as much as possible.
- Listen to user feedback and use this to improve your offering.
- I feel the most ideal way to build a SaaS product is to incorporate it into a Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS). The main reasons for using a CMMS SaaS are accessibility from anywhere using a computer, Smartphone, or mobile device, data security, and low total cost of ownership
What are the goals of successful implementation?
Clearly defined and agreed to objectives.
Complete dedication and focus on the project plan.
Alignment of best practices.
A good understanding of the team’s capabilities and availability.
Continuous assessment.”- Jeff Roscher, CEO of eWorkOrders
“Building a successful SaaS product requires three key things:
1. A clear vision
2.A passion for customer service
3.A reliable development team
Each of these factors plays a key role in the success of your product. A clear vision supports communication to the team and also the consumers. Looking at every piece of the picture from the day-to-day campaigns all the way to the long-term goals. Providing a clear vision to your consumers is what will build trust and excitement for the future of your product.
A passion for customer service is instrumental in the success of your saas product. Constantly listening to your audience is what makes the demand for a service. Catering your platform to the problems and needs of your audience is what will help spread the word of your saas. Here at Resona, we have an Intercom chat so that users can reach out whenever they need to start a direct chat with a knowledgeable team member. Since we are a small team, even I am part of the customer support team to help answer any questions, consider feedback, and help fix any problems that arise.
Finally, how can a software-as-a-service product be successful without solid software engineers? Make sure your product is user-friendly, works fast, and is optimized to meet the needs of consumers. Build a team of developers that will maintain the reputation and image of your brand through the product performance. These key pillars will give you the foundation for a tight-knit community. From here you can expand and start to promote your product with additional resources like marketing”- Farzad Rashidi, Co-Founder @Respona
“I can pinpoint three aspects that are critical for a SaaS project's success.
The preparation. A good SaaS product should be in demand among potential users, which means it should address some topical issue, not a personal whim. So analyzing the market and the potential customers’ needs must be a preliminary step.
A broader focus. First of all, it’s about choosing the niche. It often happens that SaaS product owners’ industry expertise is limited to a certain field. However, this precise focus may make the team miss other promising SaaS application scenarios that may help more potential users. To choose the most promising field, you need to analyze three factors: market size, competitors, and user adoption potential.
Secondly, the broader focus should be applied when forming a project team. Successful SaaS projects unite professionals with diverse skills, not only software engineers. Designers, marketing specialists, PMs, and industry consultants should also be in.
Retaining success. Success is a volatile matter, and keeping it up requires continuous monitoring of the three factors mentioned above, doing trend analysis, and reacting swiftly when some of the parameters drop down. It may be useful to prepare a recovery strategy in advance.”- Anna Muchnik, Digital Marketing Manager @Itransition
SaaS products are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed through various devices like computers, tablets, Mobile, etc. You do not need to install anything on your device nor bother about the operating system. You just need a good internet connection and a web browser on your device to access it. Here, in this blog, we have learned the essential tips to build a successful SaaS product. This will help you in implementing the right strategies for successful product development.