Software as a Service (SaaS) has emerged as one of the hottest sectors over the years as companies double down on staying asset-light and growing faster without spending too much on buying proprietary software. Today SaaS is the darling of both investors and users. However, like any industry, there are too many SaaS players vying for business and how you sell your services makes all the difference.
Just over 10 years ago when Apple launched its first iPad, the world was recovering from a devastating financial crisis and recession, which started two years earlier, and 40 inches of snow, dubbed as “Snowmageddon” by President Obama, had blanketed the eastern coast of the U.S., SaaS as a business and terminology was beginning to take baby steps in the world of technology. People even in the technology industry, did not understand SaaS.
Most people know that SaaS means ‘Software-as-a-Service’— the transfer of software over the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no need to buy, install or update the software.
SaaS has become so commonplace today that there are chances you might be using it at work or home and you might not even know it.
This means there are several companies in the same segment vying for customer’s dollars. How these companies approach their customers shows how they differentiate themselves. With so many companies offering similar services, customers are spoilt for choice. The idea to differentiate essentially boils down to making your company so valuable that customers see you as the only preferred option.
Where SaaS Stands Today
SaaS is a huge multi billion industry today and it also sees massive competition. A report in industry publication ZDNet, said that which quoted a Gartner report, by 2019 the global SaaS industry would be worth $85 billion. According to BMC Blogs, in 2013, an average SaaS company had just three competitors and by 2019, that number had increased by 3X. That shows how much potential SaaS has.
With so many competitors working hard to grab customer’s attention and pockets, it makes complete sense to market differently and not follow run-of-the-mill marketing strategies.
This is important because if you want to grow your company fast, you need to become the preferred option in your segment, so that it’s easy to drive demand and maintain growth.
Here are five Differentiators to help you grow your SaaS business.
- Get innovative and add a new offering to your SaaS product
You are not the only one selling SaaS tools in the market. There are several other companies (the list of competitors keeps growing) offering products similar to yours. Some may be offering something extra while others may lack in certain features. You need to scan the competitors’ offerings to understand how different their product is and what new features their product comes with. This will help you glean information about competition and help you design a new product with better features or upgrade an existing one with newer features. This can be strategically advantageous and financially rewarding.
What you need to add into your products depends on these two aspects:
- What your competitors offer and claim
- What your customers want
Just like checking what your competitors are offering in order to get ahead of them, you also need to know what your customers want and build or upgrade your product accordingly. This will help you get ahead of your competitors and be closer to your customers.
- Give reasons why your customers should choose you
Every product and service is bought or sold based on a USP or Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and that should also be your differentiating factor. A USP or UVP is meant to persuade a customer to buy your product or service over your competitors.
Your USP or UVP must surpass marketing trends. You know your product better because you have painstakingly built it and you know what kind of problems it will solve, so use that UVP to your benefit, however small it may be. Emphasize on the impact it can have on the user. Whatever feature your product offers, turn it into a benefit statement .
- Communicate the value of your product
You need to effectively communicate the value that your product offers in order to win customers. And before you do this, you need to clearly know the target audience and market so that all communication can be directed with the right accuracy and messaging. Use important and specific messaging across all your content, copies and social media. Specific and hard hitting messaging helps customers stay well informed about your company.
- Fasten your service delivery
We all love the fast lane, don’t we? Now imagine the product we ordered on an ecommerce portal arrives at our doorstep within minutes. Won’t that be wonderful? Much the same way, if you can launch a product much earlier than competitors or push an upgrade once in a while, you will gain significant competitive advantage. This will not just keep your customers happy but they will also speak highly of you.
- Spend more on growing your brand
What makes people remember a brand or buy a product or service? Its a memory of the brand. It’s an age old business strategy to outspend competitors in order to stand out in the market. This is how people know and remember a brand. You need to be omnipresent. ( Read more on 5 marketing strategies to adopt)
Well, that doesn’t mean you should spend all your marketing budget on just one event. You need to spread the money evenly so that your brand is visible to many people at the same time.
Remember one fact, the winner in most businesses, in most cases, is the best marketed product and rarely the best solution or the best provider. It all boils down to how good you are at attracting customers.
Distinguishing your SaaS company against competition is much more than branding and marketing. The marketing process is different and lengthy and your marketing team needs to be innovative. While you market your SaaS product, you also need to show your value to your customers to get ahead of competitors.
SaaS has proven its utility in the technology and business world and it’s time for you to get going and show your customers your differentiating factor.