Five Mistakes SaaS Companies are Making

10 mins

In an oversaturated software market, getting your SaaS product offering just right can be ch...

In an oversaturated software market, getting your SaaS product offering just right can be challenging. Ask many industry professionals and they’ll tell you that honing your brand persona and cultivating a rich customer base are just as challenging as ensuring that the technical innovation of your subscription software runs seamlessly.  

Today’s rapidly evolving online landscape requires a multi-faceted approach to ensuring commercial success and there’s plenty of pitfalls that businesses can stumble into along the way. Issues you encounter can stall commercial growth at best. At worst, they can irrevocably damage your software as a service offering before it’s even had the chance to gain any traction with consumers.

Stumble and you’ll encounter a loss of trust, irrespective of your positive in the product lifecycle. When offering a service designed to imbue consumers with unrivalled confidence, this can prove catastrophic. 

Think of it this way. Arguably, the quintessential SaaS application is Salesforce. Today it remains the vanguard of the cloud computing revolution. The software provides decision-makers with insights imperative to almost every area of the business, from lead collection to customer information and access to critical data, Salesforce credits its tools for boosting customer sales by an average of 37%.

Then there’s the signature software that 1.2 billion people the world over rely on most every single day – Microsoft Office. The cloud has drastically improved Microsoft Office parameters allowing users to create, share and edit content of all descriptions in real-time. 
Imagining what the commercial landscape would look like without these two SaaS applications is almost infeasible. 

So, whether you’re a start-up looking to lay solid foundations on which to build your business or you have decades of experience operating at the peak of your sector, you need to understand SaaS. Here are five mistakes that SaaS companies are making right now so that you know what to avoid.

Undervaluing their Service Offering

As hard as it is to believe, vendors can undervalue their service offering. This is reflected not only by start-ups but established companies too – and isn’t limited solely to SaaS or web-based apps. There’s quite an impactful problem with is. What is it? Simple. It’s hard for customers to buy into you if you don’t appear to value your own software service. The cheap alternative to ethos is pervasive and damming. Value isn’t the same as cost.

Why vendors burden themselves with managing client infrastructure, complete software updates, handle customer requests and gather the necessary feedback to name just a few of their responsibilities only to price their service at a pittance is baffling.

Sure, value is important. But if businesses don’t value their products or services with the amount of technical knowledge and conscientious work necessary to achieve optimal consumer advocacy, are they not just busy fools?

Weak Security Groups and Policies

It’s recently been highlighted that organisations are not adhering to the principal of least privilege access. This is where users are given the least amount of access that they require to complete their daily tasks. Joe Blow in accounting has no business modifying security configurations, so why provide him with the access to do so? Conversely, if you don’t allow account managers thorough access to Salesforce, how are they expected to service your clients properly?

Often too liberal access isn’t a conscious decision but is symptomatic of not having a well-thought-out strategy or policy outlining SaaS access for end users and devices. This problem is solved by configuring security groups to restrict access to only those employees who have the authorisation to view data and information. 

Software-as-a-service companies must configure their security so that only connections from recognised IPs that are directly associated with the business are accepted, whilst making sure that only the specific ports are necessary for business apps are open. Those parties who need access should have access. A tailored approach is required. 

Data Storage and Segmentation

Storing all your data in a single place is a recipe for disaster. Why? A single breach can compromise all the vital and sensitive data that your company holds. Segmenting sensitive data and storing it online using comprehensive security measures is paramount.

Sensitive business data should be kept on separate servers that are physically and digitally secure. Likewise, it’s a big mistake to store customer account data in the same place as business data. Segmentation of data means that it’s far less likely to be compromised or exposed to parties that do not have the privilege to view it – 0r may even have fraudulent intent. 

How can you do this? Simple. Create and follow clear guidelines for where the data is stored and who has access. Create separate accounts for internal developments, testing and production. Any successful SaaS application must have the utmost security. Why would you give individuals access to everything from one data breach? Companies need to create an infrastructure that protects third parties.

Expecting a Short Sales Cycle

Contact to contract time is critical. Understanding this gives companies valuable insight into their pipeline and helps to make accurate predictions for future growth. However, rarely do software-as-a-service businesses have a short sales lifecycle.

The majority of SaaS technology is B2B rather than B2C. This means that it’s unlikely that target customers make impulse purchases. It’s much more likely that all purchases are considered and the result of a consensus agreement. Therefore, the sales process is likely much longer – even several months in some instances. 

To mitigate any knock-on effects on different areas of the business resulting from longer sales cycle approach, it’s important to create ways to move potential customers through the sales funnel as quickly as possible. There’s a big difference between expecting a long sales cycle and factoring this into any processes than expecting a long sales cycle and it being drastically reduced through proactivity.

User Feedback

Whether you’re a SaaS company or you sell miniature dolls online, not listening and reacting to user feedback could chime the death knell for your business. The digital age has prompted transparency, whilst earmarking customer feedback as one of the primary measures of success. 

An action as simple as inviting customers to leave feedback on their experience helps businesses to obtain vital information that will allow them to tweak or change product or service offerings, thereby giving existing and potential customers more reasons to buy into your business.

Surveys are a great way to collect user feedback. Businesses can learn the way that customers think and feel about their business, learn how they describe your products and services (something essential for marketing campaigns) whilst gaining valuable ideas for any potential product or feature suggestions that you could integrate into your SaaS application. 

The Mistakes SaaS Companies Make

Mirroring almost every other commercial sector, SaaS companies are not immune from making mistakes. However, a successful business minimises or eliminates catastrophic mistakes and learns from the small ones they make to create a better product or service offering for clients.

This is the only way to cultivate success. However, this cannot be achieved without a solid foundation. Avoid these SaaS mistakes and learn from any stumbles that you encounter along the road and you’re likely to be able to garner a stellar reputation and assured customer trust. 

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