As the owner of a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, there are several strategic steps you can implement in order to drive growth and maximize the value of your business.
1. Expand GeographicallyA significant tactic for the growth of your SaaS company can be to broaden your horizons internationally, provided that it makes sense to do so. It can help protect your business from a decline in domestic markets. Start by conducting research to identify the most suitable overseas markets for you to penetrate. Then take the time to understand unique customer behaviors in those regions and how your business can best serve their needs. These behaviors can include online shopping habits, user experiences, preferred payment methods, language barriers, and cultural differences. You will also need to understand the fundamental business aspects of operating in another country, such as tariffs, taxes, logistics, infrastructure, regulations, and local competition. Part of thinking globally is to think locally for the particular region in which you’re setting up shop. For example, look for opportunities to create promotions surrounding local holidays or traditions. Just keep in mind that many businesses fail in their global expansion efforts because leadership assumes that the rest of the world does business in the same way that they do at home, which can be a costly mistake.
2. Reassess Your Sales Model
Take the time to stop and think about whether you are following the right sales model for your business. And are you hiring the right salespeople? Proper investment in fine-tuning these areas of your SaaS company is wildly important. The right talent can make all the difference in your success and growth as long as your sales model is a successful one. You shouldn’t expect people to thrive if you are setting them on a course that makes their jobs more difficult. Think of ways to improve their training, or automate some of their tasks. You should also consider whether you have the right number of salespeople. Having too many salespeople for the job can impact your cash flow and monthly recurring revenue growth rate, just like having not enough can affect individuals’ ability to perform under a strained workload. It’s all about striking the right balance between costs and growth.
3. Boost Your Marketing Efforts
Begin by looking at your current marketing efforts and identifying which channels are working. Continue to invest in whatever is getting results. And consider what other channels you think are worth experimenting with, being careful not to waste money on efforts that do not make sense for your business, and keeping customer acquisition costs (CAC) low. Look at what your competition is doing and whether it is working for them. Would it benefit your company to move into that ad space? Additionally, consider what content you are providing to your customers and if it is quality content for them. It should be useful to your audience, and if done right, will foster brand trust. Offering the right type of content can also help you scale back your paid advertising costs and CAC.
4. Rethink Pricing
It’s okay to explore changes to your SaaS pricing strategy. However, any changes should optimize your business and make sense—don’t just raise prices for the sake of making more money. It can be as simple as changing the names of current packages that you offer, or restructuring what services and/or products they include. If feasible, you can conduct market research to identify what changes may be welcomed by your customers and what changes are a non-starter.
5. Focus on Customer Satisfaction
It’s no secret that businesses with a strong customer-focused strategy tend to be more successful than those that only focus inwards. Without your customers, you have nothing, so you need to make them love you. A great customer experience is critical for improving brand reputation, and building brand loyalty is key to retaining customers. Ask your customers for feedback and show them that you’re listening by always giving them the best possible version of your product. Think about how important customer reviews are when it comes to the possibility of gaining new customers. This is why having a highly trained customer support staff is critical. Arm them with the proper tools to resolve problems and keep customers happy and coming back.
A way to leverage existing happy customers to help drive growth is to create a customer referral program. Reach out to your customers and engage them, whether it is through customized emails or videos, or even phone calls. It is important that you make the process of advocating for your SaaS business an easy one. Consider rewarding customers in a timely way for providing positive feedback or transacted referrals. Their honest opinions can go a long way in supporting your success.
6. Employ Growth Hacking Strategies
Maybe you’ve heard of growth hacking, but don’t really understand what it is. Growth hacking is a relatively new process that looks for opportunities within the customer journey, seeking to drive growth through smaller experiment-based processes that are data driven. While growth hacking and marketing focus on much of the same fundamental principles, the significant difference is the extent of their objectives.
Marketing efforts tend to be broader in scope. Growth hacking is more resource-light, cost effective, and relies on highly specific, achievable goals to reach a singular outcome. An example would be the goal of increasing social sharing by a designated amount through linking accounts to Facebook or Twitter to share information. Another example would be how LinkedIn created growth by getting its user base to offer referrals and endorsements of colleagues, and making it pretty easy to do so.
If you want to explore growth strategies for your company, or are considering the idea of selling or creating an exit strategy, please reach out to our M&A experts at Benchmark International. Our talented team has the experience and resources to help you achieve your goals on your terms and make great things happen.
Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com
Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 / Lawrie@BenchmarkIntl.com
Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com
ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL
Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $6B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.