This is part 2 of a two-part series on how to grow your SaaS business, focusing particularly on SaaS sales. If you are starting a SaaS dominant business, you know how hard software sales can be, especially in the initial stages of establishing your business. As a SaaS company ourselves, we have tried and failed different strategies many times. Our hope is to put together a list of strategies that are easy and have worked for us so that you can benefit from our mistakes.
It goes without saying that whatever your SaaS product is, it should be a proven market fit before you engage in acquisition strategies. There needs to be a demand in the first place or no matter what tactic you use, you are not going to grow. I’ll tell you the truth right now – if you haven’t tested whether there is a market for your product you need to do that first. Stop reading, and go test your product.
In part 1 of this series, I talked about leveraging the tools you already have. In this blog, I’ll be going over how to take advantage of the tools that exist that you may not know about.
Before I tackle the different tips and strategies around SaaS company growth, you have to understand the basics. Any growth model is best understood through the use of funnels. So what is a typical growth funnel for a SaaS company? Take a look below.
The funnel starts with acquisition – which is the main focus of our blog today. The second stage of the funnel is conversion, where your leads turn into paying customers. Finally, you have the last stage which is retention and expansion through your existing network.
So let’s take a closer look at acquisition and conversation. How do you get more warm leads that have a higher conversion rate?
Not only do you need more people to be aware of your product, you need to generate a reputation for having a product that delivers results. Remember from our other blogs that your efforts around acquisition need to be focused on the buyer personas that are relevant to your business. If your product is primarily for the use of engineers, it would be a waste of time and resources if you are marketing to other personas.
So here are a few of the tried and true tactics that I use for acquisition.
1) Sift Through Forums and Answer Questions
There is no better way of showing that you are an authority in a specific industry than to answer questions that relate to your SaaS software. There are a ton of benefits to being involved in online forums. For one, you can learn from others that are also working in your industry, you can connect and network, as well as find topic ideas and interesting facts for content marketing. But the best use of online forums is for establishing your brand and reputation. Here is a list of the top forums you can take advantage of.
Reddit is a community that's known for its cut-throat advice, snarky attitude, and brutal honesty. Not only is the community large and diverse, Reddit is known for being approachable and friendly. This is a bustling community of entrepreneurs who are intent on helping each other find the best solutions. Topics are organized into threads that anyone can start. You will likely find people who are willing to help, as well as those who need help — all from the first-hand experience.
This community is rooted in information sharing, especially with straight to the point questions and answers. You can upvote the best answers similar to Reddit. Although not as personal as Reddit, Quora is great for fact sharing and objective answers. It is worth a browse.
Stacks Overflow is an online community site where over 50 million developers come to learn and share their knowledge to build their careers. Using a point system similar to Reddit, people can pose questions and receive answers. This forum is unique in that it attracts mainly developers.
Mainly focused on internet and content marketing, Warrior Forum is a good resource for new entrepreneurs whose business is internet-based. Great for reaching out to other SaaS software businesses. While the forums are free, there is premium business forum offered for a onetime fee of $37
The Young Entrepreneur forum is a place for young entrepreneurs to discuss a wide range of topics and connect with other young entrepreneurs from all over the world. They also offer two levels of premium membership.
Startups.co is a UK based community with over 10 different forums. Asides from the general discussion forum which has 35,000 posts, the Rate My Website forum is the next most popular entrepreneur forum in the community and can provide you with candid feedback on your site.
You can find this group in Slack. A close-knit community of like-minded business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals, SaleStack is a great group to join as they offer advice, coaching, and networking opportunities in a less formal structure. They host live online events and enable conversations on the latest trends, strategies and tools for growing B2B sales.
2) Launch your SaaS product on higher traffic websites
So you want to get the product out the door. How do you successfully launch a SaaS product? It doesn’t just stop at making it live on your own website. You need to reach the bigger community who may not know about you. Leverage other people’s followings and networks if you don’t have a large community of followers yourself. The best way to do this? Launch your SaaS product on higher traffic websites and direct them back to your own. Here are three of my favourites. In fact, Ghostit launched our SaaS product on ProductHunt and the results were so amazing we blogged about it.
Submit your startup info and watch as it becomes trending. This is where you can showcase your business in exchange for feedback and buzz. BetaList provides an overview of upcoming internet startups. This is a great place to publish if you are targeting other businesses or wanting feedback on your own.
b. Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a bit more specific in that it is a platform specifically for launching a product. There are new products being featured every day from mobile apps, websites to hardware projects and tech creations. Being featured as a product of the day is tremendously beneficial for kick-starting your brand and reputation.
c. Create a “Show HN” thread Hacker News
Show HN is a way to share your creation on Hacker News. It’s easy, submit a story with the title beginning with Show HN and you’re good to go. Whatever it is you submit, it needs to be something someone can test or play with. HackerNews users can try it out, give you feedback, and ask questions in the thread provided. Don’t be turned off by the humble appearance of this site.
3) Sign up SaaS/Software directories
Seriously, you should be signing up for every directory there is. Whether that is local, online, international, etc. The more backlinks there are on the internet leading to your product and website, the better organic reach you'll have. You will rank in Google, for keywords relating to your industry. Some of the directories that bring in the most traffic are Capterra, G2Crowd, GetApp, Software Advice, Trustradius, Financesonline, Softwareinsider, Crozdesk, Cloudswav. This list isn't exhaustive, but here’s a comprehensive quora post with most of the SaaS directories.
I hope you were able to get some direction from this post and enjoyed this series of growing your SaaS business using already existing tools. There are a ton of different strategies and growth tactics out there but we wanted to narrow down the tangible tools that you can take advantage of easily and quickly. If you enjoyed this blog series or have any comments and questions, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.