Peep Laja runs a podcast where he calls on the winners in the SaaS to share their insights.
For Peep, Winners are those with over $10 Million in revenue in a competitive market.
He did an episode sharing 15 insights that make SaaS companies win.
This is a quick blog, where I'm sharing a summary of what I learned from the episode.
1. Tap into pre-existing market
Are you building something that has demand?
Provide something the market already wants.
ContentStack started as an agency that made custom CMS, but they realised there was huge demand because the old school CMS was not solving all the problems.
They knew that people needed the product.
2. Listening to the customers
This sounds obvious but very few understand the potential.
Talk to the customers and find solutions to their specific problems.
Chili Piper was another sales management software. But they spoke to one customer about their problems. They did research and found that others have the same problem and they differentiated from everyone else out there.
3. Lead with a feature-based differentiation
For example, Unbounce launched ‘Build landing pages without IT’
But over time, the successful companies had moved away from only feature-based differentiation, and that's a key thing to understand.
Because in the end, you can’t win the feature war.
4. Focus on a Specific Audience
ConvertKit went to $100K MRR targeting the creators, authors, painters, and musicians. They Doubled down on their marketing and features for that specific audience.
When you are focused on a niche you can make it 10X better than everyone else out there.
Because you can build features accordingly. It’s going to be very difficult for your competitors to do that.
5. Be consistently innovating
Have a high pace of innovation, like Tesla is doing in automobiles.
CustomerIO focuses on R&D and innovation.
They’ve realized that people want to do more with the data they have in coustomer.io and they keep trying to meet the growing demands and needs of their customers. Customers push them to keep doing something more
Similarly, Databox has a product that’s highly complex to replicate. Even if their competitors are rushing, they’ve evolved further.
6. Cultivate mental availability in your buyers through content
When buyers think of a category, they should think of you.
Share content in all your channels where you target customers hang out - whatever it is - socials, emails, blogs, or podcasts.
Patric Campbell’s strategy with ProfitWell made them the king of their category.
Not just making them aware of the brand but educating them about the problems they solve.
7. Educating the people about the issues
Most of Pofitwell's future growth is coming from customers that are using nothing right now.
They are educating people for the first time. To those who are not even aware of the problems or even about the solutions to the problems, they’re having.
A year from now when they have the budget they think of you. This is possible when you have a content strategy for non-consumers
“Non computation is a huge market opportunity” - Clayton-Christensen
His idea was selling something to the non-consumers, that will later find this to development of even better products that will gradually encroach to the turf of the market leaders.
8. Creating a community
Lattice built a community for HR professionals - their target audience. It helped them with brand awareness and loyalty.
The HRs couldn't just join the community. They had to fill an application form and explain why. This helps in increasing the perceived value of the community and making them feel like VIPs.
And, they used the community as a way to stay in touch with prospects who didn’t buy their products.
Another winning SaaS, Lemlist built a community on Facebook and used it to understand its audience better.
9. Business process
Having solid processes in developing and delivering the services is key to the growth of companies.
Animalz provides services and yet they have a strong business process. They invested in processes.
Similarly, with KlientBoost, they invested in ops, internal data, and training of their employees which eventually took them from $10 mIllion to 20 Million in revenue by focusing on operations.
10. Category creation
This is the long-term growth strategy. Category creation goes beyond existing categories.
For example, Unbounce stopped being just a landing page builder and created a category of conversion intelligence. Where they are pairing up marketer and machine.
They took their customers and prospects through the journey of their transition toward this category
Peep says, category creation is really played on when you stop competing better and you start competing on different. You change the game.
11. Freemium or a very competitive free plan
Make your free plan so good that your competitors can’t. This will mess with the market for competitors and make it tough for them.
For example, Profitwell is providing sufficient features for free and making them better over time.
12. Piggybacking on the back of growing ecosystems
Supermetrics was a chrome extension and later built into a stand-alone tool.
Privy hit $10 Million + by going into the Shopify ecosystem.
Privy focused on eCommerce stores and went to a point where they were adding 4000 users every month without paid marketing or outbound. Privy also grew by consolidating apps for different themes. Their USP - you don’t have to move away from Privy to other apps.
Sharing about what is going on inside the company and how you lead your people.
Any business could struggle to grow with mediocre people. But when you share your culture, it attracts the right talent to your teams.
The employees of intelimize have a mindset about the growth of their customers. Customers.io chases excellence for their customers. KlientBoost is able to attract young talent because of the way they talk about their culture on social media.
14. Building an ecosystem around your product
Companies are building apps on Shopify. There are developers specific to Shopify, marketing agencies, and Shopify experts. There is this ecosystem that takes Shopify as a core product and extends it in many different ways. and different agencies specific to Shopify. Another popular example of a product that built an ecosystem around it is WordPress.
15/ They focus on building relationships
Finally, these companies are not transactional, they focus on building relationships
They focus on long term mutually beneficial relationship
I hope this helps you plan marketing activities for your SaaS Business. Here's a link to explore Peep's podcast.