The SaaS industry has grown exponentially over the past few years, and it’s expected to continue doing so throughout 2019. But growth doesn’t necessarily equate to complete SaaS user adoption — a metric that must be carefully monitored and analyzed on a frequent basis to ensure that all the new subscribers you’re bringing in are, in fact, being brought in. Here are three recommendations for increasing SaaS user adoption of your platform.
Make Your Platform Accessible and Manageable for IT Teams
IT departments are leading the charge in SaaS adoption within their organizations. This occurs for a number of reasons: less time required to set up and deploy the software, very little in-house support and maintenance is required, users can be on-boarded quickly and efficiently, and the value of SaaS platforms can be realized much sooner than if a custom platform were to be developed.
But the platform itself must be easy for IT teams to use, as they will be the first line of defense that employees within an organization turn to for support. They need to be able to find documentation, respond to internal support tickets, make changes at an administrative level, and more — without necessarily contacting you as the SaaS provider for additional support.
By making your platform accessible and manageable for IT teams, you can guarantee greater SaaS IT user adoption within an organization, starting with the IT team itself. First, IT will be more likely to champion your platform to leadership, who will decide whether your platform will be purchased and whether it’ll continue to be used after some time has passed. You also make IT the hero because they’ll be able to easily support internal employees without needing external support from you.
Make Your Platform Integrate with Major Business Applications
SaaS platforms themselves are amazing tools that can accomplish incredible tasks, streamline existing workloads to make them more efficient, and provide massive cost savings as opposed to developing software in-house or with a costly external party. However, to increase SaaS user adoption, your platform needs to support the systems your subscribers already have to make them more effective, useful, and productive.
This is an incredible value-add opportunity: many of your customers may already have enterprise-level software in place. By providing a SaaS integration, you aren’t forcing employees to necessarily learn a new system, but rather providing an extension of it or a bridge between that platform and productivity- or efficiency-enhancing functions that may have been missing. You’re also saving IT valuable time and resources in not having to manage a mass migration between systems.
An example of this would be a no-code enterprise mobile app that automatically mashes up data between ERPs, CRMs, and other databases to give users valuable data visualizations. By making use of existing enterprise software, this solution requires very little on the part of both IT (because it’s no-code and requires very little time to set up) and employees (they get an app that brings all the data they need in one spot — no separate, complex software to learn apart from the app).
Make It Easy for Users to Demonstrate ROI
One of the most important customer-facing goals that SaaS companies need to achieve is to be able to demonstrate the platform’s ROI to subscribers. While SaaS platforms themselves are often less expensive for companies that building a custom solution in-house, money spent is still money spent, and IT teams and other business leaders will want to understand whether the resources they put toward your platform resulted in true business value.
Reporting, analytics, and dashboards are part of most SaaS platforms, but a valuable metric that should be included in your platform (as appropriate), would be an ROI estimation. This would require an understanding of or the customer input of the value of certain functions prior to using the platform. As their employees use your platform, SaaS ROI can be calculated and reported.
This is a hyper-specific example, and your platform may not necessarily have the capability or need to report ROI. Often, that calculation might be best left to the company to prove, as there may be variables and factors that influence ROI for one company over another despite similarity. Regardless, some form of ROI calculation would be an incredible opportunity for your business, and one that ties in with the earlier recommendations for increasing SaaS user adoption.
How These Recommendations Can Be Implemented — and Funded
We get it — you’re busy trying to get more subscribers and keep them engaged. That should certainly be your primary focus. But development should never stop on your platform, and it likely isn’t. Users will request new features, and you’ll work on new features over time as you learn how your customers use the platform and what your data tells you should be done. As a SaaS platform, your resources are being carefully managed and prioritized where they’ll make the greatest impact. So how can you fund the recommendations we’ve presented here?
You have many options available to you, but none provide as much benefit as venture debt. Being non-dilutive, you remain in complete control over your company, direction, and goals. No one knows your platform better than you, nor does anyone understand your vision as well as you. Using venture capital will deprive you of a percentage of ownership, and thus a percentage of say. But with venture debt, you get the funding you need while staying in complete control.
Often, venture debt is best used for accelerating already successful marketing and sales efforts. But if you consider the recommendations provided here, you’ll quickly see how investing in SaaS user adoption can help you not only grow existing relationships, but it’ll also help you retain those relationships even longer. Together, using venture debt funding to investing SaaS user adoption creates a synergistic effect — increasing your revenue through new relationships as well as strengthening existing relationships.