Data Makes the World Go ’Round
Long gone are the days when decision-making was driven by instinct. Data rules the way forward, and more than ever, the way forward needs to be justified. That justification needs to be more than just checking off the “is there a fit” box. The business and financial value need to be proven through SaaS ROI — not just once, but repeatedly to ensure that value remains consistent.
How can you empower your customers to prove SaaS ROI? Let’s take a look at a few ideas that you may be able to put to use in your business, and how venture debt can help you do it.
SaaS ROI Insights Should Come Standard
While it may be tempting to reserve analytics and certain dashboard features for higher-paying subscription levels, your platform should feature some form of value-based metric reporting that allows users — even those at the lowest levels — to determine whether they’re getting value from your platform. You may not be able to standardize the base values or coefficients that establish a baseline for that value, but they can be input by your customers (much like conversion values in Google Analytics) so they can determine value themselves (and if it’s wrong, it’s on them).
If you’re utilizing a product-led go-to-market strategy, an entry-level form of analytics would be incredibly useful for early subscribers and also serve to sell existing customers on the value of a higher level subscription. Your customers get the info they need, and if they want more, they increase their subscriptions. They win, and so do you.
Ultimately, how analytics and subscriptions work together is a business decision that you must make. But do not make the mistake of restricting data for lower-level subscribers. Provide some valuable metrics and reporting, even if only to give subscribers a taste of what they’re missing out on at higher subscription levels.
Communicate the Value of Your Platform Ahead of Curiosity
Regardless of subscription levels, your subscribers will eventually get curious about what your platform does for them versus what they’re paying. This is the value of your platform, and it must be easy to find and easy to understand. However, you shouldn’t simply make it available for administrators or business leaders to find on their own. You should take a proactive approach and communicate what they’re achieving by using your platform.
A great example here is Buffer — a social media management tool for business. Buffer sends its users periodic emails detailing how their social efforts are working. It pinpoints what worked well and what its impact was. That impact will largely be affected by the content of the social media messages, any related graphics or images included, the time of day they were sent, etc. But Buffer is adding value to its subscribers — proving that their messages are doing something through their platform rather than leaving it to subscribers to find that information on their own (they can still do the digging, but the emails get this information out ahead of time).
Consider how proactive reporting communications like these can be used in your platform. Sure, Buffer communicates to subscribers on how their work through the platform is performing and not how the platform itself is specifically adding value. But how can you use this method to your advantage to communicate value on your platform to business leaders? If industry-specific metrics are available, can those figures be analyzed against customers’ performance to provide a report that demonstrates how much better they’re performing by using your platform?
SaaS ROI Does the Talking For You
Enabling subscribers to understand the ROI of your platform serves a couple of purposes. First, subscribers that make the most of your platform will see ROI increasing and will be more interested in growing their relationship with you, and user adoption will increase. They’ll be able to report on success and be more open-minded to increasing their subscription level, adding on other features, or renewing for longer periods. They will become your advocates, creating meaningful case studies, testimonials, social content, and word-of-mouth support that will help you grow even further.
Second, subscribers that aren’t making the most of your platform will see the results of that in their ROI metric. While losing subscribers isn’t a goal, consider whether those are the subscribers you want. Revenue is great, but do you want to deal with customers who can’t utilize your platform as it was intended? Should your customer success team be forced to endure a never-ending influx of questions and complaints that aren’t your fault? By all means, work with them to help them succeed, but for those that can’t, the ROI metric takes care of ending unproductive relationships for you.
Use Venture Debt to Help You Demonstrate SaaS ROI
Venture debt financing provides funding for SaaS companies to accelerate certain functions of their businesses. First among these is sales and marketing. If your platform already provides ROI reporting, use that fact to your advantage. Market it to decision-makers within your target audience(s). Use happy subscribers’ reviews, testimonials, and success stories to provide social proof that your platform proves its own value and actually helps companies achieve their goals.
Another way venture debt financing can help in this area is by funding platform growth. You may have been able to self-fund your way to this point, or you may have taken out other forms of financing. But at this level, your appetite for giving away a portion of your company and even a board seat in exchange for funding for platform development may be lower than ever. Why lose your full decision-making authority and put your vision at risk?
Venture debt keeps you in control and allows you to allocate resources however you want, so long as it will help you achieve a growth goal. At River SaaS Capital, we’ve worked with many SaaS companies in numerous industries, providing non-dilutive growth capital to help them with everything from strategic hiring to marketing and platform development. Learn more about our debt financing solutions and how they provide value for our SaaS partners.
A simple conversation is how some of our more successful relationships have started, and we’d welcome a conversation with you, too. Fill out the form below, and let’s work together to help you achieve your vision.