marketing

How to Market a Saas Business?

According to Cisco’s Global Cloud Index for the period 2013-2018, 59% of all cloud workflows will be delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) by the end of this year. A study conducted by Compass confirmed this trend: the SaaS industry is growing almost three times as fast as the software market and 72% of all SaaS startups partially funded. SaaS market is predicted to grow over $33.2 Billion in 2022 (Total Retail SaaS Market Report 2018)

The 2017 State of the SaaS-Powered Workplace Report - BetterCloud
The 2017 State of the SaaS-Powered Workplace Report - BetterCloud

The main beneficiaries, as expected, are small and medium businesses, which also have the best growth forecasts for 2018. That's basically good news - for SaaS newcomers as well as experienced big players in the industry. However, there is also a downside. More and more companies want a piece of SaaS success cake off and the competition is constantly growing. What opportunities do founders and managers have to become the top provider in the market and to defend their position.

The challenge for SaaS providers

Most CEOs in a SaaS company have a big problem: there is no shortage of options, just time. From the day of inception to the moment when the first blacks are written, the company is forced to generate recurring monthly revenues to cover the costs of acquiring new customers and emigrating before the precious seed capital is exhausted. David-Skok calls this deficiency "cash flow gap".

The success of a SaaS company in the all-important initial phase depends on these three essential questions:

  1. Is the acquisition of new customers fast and cost-efficient?
  2. Are customers bound to the company in the long term?
  3. Will existing customers be reached with upsells, so that the LTV increases in the long run?

team effort to build customers

How can you quickly build a customer base?

Let's start with the product:

Successful SaaS companies, such as Salesforce or Shopify, are not just inventing something cool or unique that does not yet exist in this world.

They go one step further and develop products that are loved by customers because they offer considerable added value

Before such companies try to sell something, they first deal with their future customers. Who are you and what do you wish for? The main goal is to find a clever solution to the BIG problems of their customers. Salesforce, for example, has made managing the entire distribution structure extremely easy by inventing and launching the first cloudbased CRM. It was the same with Shopify, just in the e-commerce version. The founders developed an affordable platform where small businesses could sell their goods online. Other companies, such as HubSpot, had the vision of revolutionizing the marketing world from the ground up, and no longer bothering the addressees of advertising messages with unwanted advertising: they did that with their forward-lookingInbound marketing concept! 

But what is the challenge for SaaS providers now?

For example, suppose you've developed a great product that excites your customers, you've got it up and running fast, you're generating a lot of revenue, and you're in the black even before your starting capital is used up - that sounds pretty promising, right? 

Successful SaaS companies go one step further, using a combination of inbound marketing, influencer marketing, SEO, and growth hacking to empower developers and user communities to test their products, evolve, and distribute across their networks use. But what is going on for these people? Often, as brand ambassadors, they become directly involved in sales success stories, become distributors or channel partners, and then build their own business on these relationships. For example, Shopify has developed the Shopify Expert marketplace for the promotion of freelancers and an affiliate program for agencies.

What about the CAC and the LTV?

The next challenge is the cost per customer (CAC or Customer Acquisition Cost). If you spend all of your available capital on many expensive ads and a whole bunch of salespeople doing planless and headless cold calling, you will not survive long in this market. But what are successful SaaS companies doing differently? They use the concept of inbound marketing to generate qualified leads. The further course of the customer lifecycle is then handled by sales employees who act more like consultants. Thus, the completion rates increase while reducing the cost per lead. 

On the other hand, there is still the customer earnings value (LTV or Lifetime Value). The magic word in the SaaS industry is "monthly recurring revenue" over a (hopefully) long period of time. You reduce the costs of recruiting new customers and increase your profitability. When maximizing LTV, two aspects are of particular relevance: minimizing the churn rate and generating upsells .

High-volume SaaS companies put together informative resources and training opportunities for their users . These include best practices, information about new features, and tips and tricks for using software so your users get the most out of their product. HubSpot, for example, launched the HubSpot Academy with its own certification program. There, users learn the tools for inbound marketing and how they become recognized experts in their field. Successful companies also hold meetings of local user groups to discuss issues and their solutions. 

This allows companies, in combination with superior customer service through their internal staff and a working partner network, to turn satisfied users into loyal customers who remain loyal to their brand for a long time. And a happy customer ideally buys more licenses or uses new features - as in HubSpot's example a CRM - which increases the LTV: a win-win situation for both sides.

The secret of successful SaaS companies 

It's actually pretty easy. Successful SaaS companies know how to properly run marketingThey believe in what they do, and that is really well received by customers. They recruit only the best people and, above all, invest in customer satisfaction, which ultimately increases revenue and profitability. But most big players and newcomers in the SaaS sector need to learn how to properly address and support inbound marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, and a working customer service strategy. to become the ambassador of a brand. They do not know what basics are needed and which components come into play at what time.

Is there a market leader?

Having a dominant market leader will obviously make it harder for you to get a share of the market. On the other hand, if you are able to follow the directions and roads already open, the presence of a dominant company could become an advantage as it will not be necessary to educate the market, remembering that the education of the market is one of the most expensive. If there is a market leader it is necessary to perform a "Blue Ocean" analysis and create its own market segment. But remember to define your budget and marketing strategy well.

Are you an expert in SaaS Marketing?

The SaaS marketing is unique, not only for its intrinsic requirements of carrying out marketing activities looking for significant growth with low budgets, but also in the way in which the return on investment should be attributed to each activity. Partly because every marketing expense is difficult to calculate, especially at the beginning when the hypotheses have not yet been confirmed. Scalability should also be taken into account when building marketing channels, so that for every € 1 in marketing costs, you can predict the sales factor X.

Is your product scalable?

The scalability concerns the cost of software development, and above all the price of the new additional pieces. In the old days, in the glory days of Microsoft, generating the initial product cost a fortune, but in today's world, the flow of information and low-cost access to cloud-based infrastructures drastically reduces initial costs to start development . If the software is too complicated to develop or requires an ad hoc code for the customer, you may be in trouble as a potentially profitable SaaS company.

Does your company build a product that is essential for business activity?

If the product is essential for a business activity (which could also apply to marketing and sales operations) you are in the right direction, making your product a "must have" rather than a "nice to have". Some examples of success are: Salesforce - Customer Relationship Management (CRM), an essential element for sales teams, Zendesk - ticketing and support system and Marketo - a system for automated management of e-mail campaigns.

Is your product unique / cheaper / better?

Each of the examples mentioned has its advantages and disadvantages. However, if your SaaS product does not meet any of the features mentioned above, you need to do your homework better. There are some additional benefits that your business can get in cases where the network effect brings more value (either for the customer or for the company in terms of data).

secret recipe

The secret recipe for the success of a SaaS company

In reality it is very simple. Successful SaaS are such because they do marketing in the right way. They manage to break through because they believe in what they do, hire the right people and continue to invest in customer happiness, which increases revenues and profitability.

The challenge for start-up SaaS entrepreneurs is to understand how to start inbound marketing , to exploit influencers, social media and to provide customer service that is at least as much as expectations. If all these components are in place, customers will soon turn into "brand advocates", becoming their own marketing engines for your SaaS

Building a large SaaS company is a challenge, but it is above all a viable business that at some point could be highly rewarding. If you're still not comfortable, you can seek advice from the founders of one billion dollar SaaS companies.


san francisco bay area city image

Why Start a Company in Silicon Valley – A Ticket to Tech Startup Success?

Economist reports show that Silicon Valley is slowly losing its lustre, there is no doubt that it remains the darling for tech startups.

In 2018, data from PWC and CB insights shows that the tech hub still leads the world in venture capital funding. But the availability of financing is not the only thing that makes the San Francisco Bay area attractive to startups.

What Makes Silicon Valley Successful?

Talent is the lifeblood of budding companies especially in the tech sector, and Silicon Valley attracts the best and the brightest. Most of the engineers working in the Valley are from the world leading universities including Stanford, University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, and Georgia Tech.

The hub encourages an entrepreneurial culture with a significant number of employees working in already established companies leaving at some point to start their own ventures. 

Amazingly, the majority of tech startups in Silicon Valley are founded by ex-employees of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. But before establishing their own companies, these employees often prefer working with startups to learn the ropes.

The engagement with the startups involves short-term contracts with the employee expressing their interest to leave after a certain period to found their own companies. Such employees are usually highly innovative and productive and hence the best resource for early-stage startups.

Even better, this type of employees helps startups to build networks by connecting them with contacts already established when working with the behemoths of the Valley. These networks are an essential component of startup success and one of the many reasons why Silicon Valley is a good location for innovative companies.

Why Startup Networking is Important.

But entrepreneurial employees are not the only source of networks for startups. Silicon Valley regularly hosts startup events where entrepreneurs can connect with like-minded people.

There are also spaces dedicated for networking and organisations specialising on the same. Here is a list by Inc. on the top ten places to network with startup founders in Silicon Valley.

The Bay area also hosts a lot of conferences aimed at updating tech startups on the latest developments in the industry. While such events can be accessed remotely, the physical events are usually better since they provide an opportunity to network.

According to a report by Startup Sesame, 91% of startups agree that tech events generate benefits for them.

More Advantages of Launching a Startup in Silicon Valley.

CB Insights identifies legal issues to be among the top reasons why startups fail. Fortunately for those operating in Silicon Valley, the groundwork is well laid.

The Bay Area intellectual property laws are well defined when compared to other areas and are regularly revised to meet needs as they arise. Additionally, this area attracts some of the best intellectual property legal advisors.

Also, operating in close proximity enables organisations to join hands and lobby for certain benefits. In Silicon Valley, there are multiple lobby groups with the most powerful including nonprofits such as Internet Association, Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG), and Engine.

Perhaps the most crucial reason for startups setting shop in Silicon Valley is the exposure that comes with competing businesses being concentrated in one area.

The proximity attracts customers, suppliers, investors, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders in huge droves hence making it a win-win situation for all. Media coverage is also high in Silicon Valley, and therefore it is easy for startups to get noticed. 

How to make it in Silicon Valley.

Even with all these benefits, setting up shop successfully in Silicon Valley is not a walk in the park. There are many challenges along the way which means that failure to plan can be disastrous.

Startup founders who have made it in the Valley recommend working in the Valley first before launching a business.

If getting employment is not possible, at least partner with someone who has previously worked in the tech hub. Success in Silicon Valley is all about getting the right contacts, and there is no better way to do so than to work or partner with veterans.

When looking for a place to work before venturing into their businesses, startup founders should go for unicorns instead of big tech companies.

Unlike corporations, unicorns are more flexible and often involve employees on different facets of running a startup including fundraising. They also provide an opportunity for mentorship and are a great place to network and grow.

Other tech-hubs cities to Explore.

Without a doubt, Silicon Valley is the top destination for tech startups, but it is not the only option.

The cost of living in the Bay area is extremely high which means that startups with lean budgets may not survive here. Luckily, there are other tech hubs with the similar characteristics as the Valley but located in affordable areas.

Outside the U.S., Canadian tech-hubs are seemingly the best alternative to Silicon Valley given the cultural similarities.

Top destinations according to Expert Market include Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Waterloo. Vancouver has the most similarities to Silicon Valley, where Subscribe Technologies a SaaS development and Venture Capital company also resides, perhaps due to its proximity.

 


artificial intelligence two brains and neural background image

The AI Advantage: Startups Are Profiting From an Investment in Artificial Intelligence

Armed with the brilliant technologies of artificial intelligence (AI), startups are slated to slay industry Goliaths over the next year.

To stay competitive in a rapidly developing landscape, startups are migrating to a Software as a Service (SaaS) framework and harnessing the vast powers of artificial intelligence. And, Gartner predicts that startups will “overtake Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in driving the AI economy with disruptive business solutions.”

Absorbing and analyzing meaningful user data, artificial intelligence allows businesses to identify user characteristics and predict upcoming trends, benefiting both businesses and consumers.

How Artificial Intelligence is helping Startups

Optimizing business processes, AI chips away at the mundane tasks, freeing time so thought leaders and employees can focus on more pressing projects. And whisking users away on memorable journey, it acts as a virtual companion that recognizes habits, delivering a more relevant experience.

As marketing mogul Seth Godin wrote, “The future of AI is probably a lot like the past: it nibbles. Artificial intelligence does a job we weren't necessarily crazy about doing anyway, it does it quietly, and well, and then we take it for granted. No one complained when their thermostat took over the job of building a fire…And no one complained when the computer found 100 flights faster and better than we ever could.

“But the system doesn't get tired, it keeps nibbling. Not with benign or mal intent, but with a focus on a clearly defined task.”

coding artificial intelligence algorithm

Embracing Innovations

Think of AI as an army of micro-sized robots that are strategically deployed through the ether with a mission to gather, analyze and communicate information–victory imminent.

AI can:

  • Analyzes data to predict user behavior
  • Saves time
  • Maximizes productivity and profitability
  • Offers intelligent support
  • Identifies sales opportunities

Investing in AI is critical for sustainability – Gartner predicts that by 2020, a staggering 85% of customer-business interactions will be non-human.

Before rejecting AI implementation, consider the Blockbuster blunder where the leading video rental company scoffed at the idea of partnering with a small streaming business called Netflix.

artifical intelligence and city grid image

Predictive Analysis

In hurried world driven by technology, people are shifting support toward businesses that offer customized interactions. AI uses relevant data to predict future trends and buyer behaviors, ultimately improving the customer experience and overall business performance.

Kind of like Amazon that makes shopping easier with user-tailored recommendations, Apple’s Siri that shares information in a conversational tone, and Google’s personal assistant that simplifies research.

Investment Grabber

Launching a business into hyper cyberspace really isn’t rocket science, nor is it specific to large companies like Google or Amazon–the opportunities of AI are increasingly beneficial to startups. And, startups using AI technologies are significantly attractive to investors.

According to CB Insights, “more than 173 startups using AI as a central part of their product or service raised a record $1.3B in funding in 2016.”

Shopify logo

Ottawa-based Shopify – an early adopter of artificial intelligence–continues to grab the interest of investors, with $253.3 million in funding.

“In the past few years Shopify has democratized online retail by delivering the easiest and most robust platform to businesses looking to sell a product. They have demonstrated that they truly understand the future of commerce…” said Jim Orlando, Managing Director at OMERS Ventures. In 2013, Shopify secured a $100 million Series C investment that was headed by led by OMERS Ventures and Insight Venture Partners.

Shopify’s fierce commitment to cutting-edge technologies poised it for massive growth. It loaded its arsenal with AI-powered tools and positioned itself against global giants.

How Shopify became a retail luminary really isn’t a secret. It started in 2006 as a small group of five that was dedicated to the sales of snowboard equipment. The team, headed by co-founder and CEO Tobias Lütke, then explored new technologies that would elevate their brand.

This evolved into Shopify, an omni-channel commerce platform, fueled by artificial intelligence that would “nibble away” the competition.

Today, as the patriarch of 600,000 merchants, Shopify is a global e-commerce company, that employs 3,000 across North America, with sales of about $82 billion.

Earning a spot in the “Unicorn Club”–a group of privately-owned startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more–Shopify continued its climb and in 2015, after going public it became a global phenomenon.

While its place in the Unicorn Club was rare, Shopify’s success story is not.

Artificial Prediction

It’s predicted that insights-driven businesses will account for $1.2 trillion in 2020 and that integrating AI into business operations will be incredibly profitable, with hundreds of billions of dollars in value spanning many industries.

In a McKinsey podcast, Michael Chui, partner with the McKinsey Global Institute, said:

“If you’re a company where marketing and sales is what drives the value, that’s actually where AI can create the most value. If you’re a company where operational excellence matters the most to you, that’s where you can create the most value with AI….It goes through everything from managing human capital and analyzing your people’s performance and recruitment, et cetera, all through the entire business system. We see the potential for trillions of dollars of value to be created annually across the entire economy.”

future predictions and idea, a light builb

In the very near future

AI–that has been compared to the invention of electricity–is expected to explode. It’s a game-changing technology that every business, particularly those in the startup-growth phase, needs to invest, or risk being left in the dark.

“In 10 years, if you’re not using some sort of AI-enhanced assistant, it will be like not being on the Internet today,” said Kaza Razat, PWC panel experts and an AI developer.

 


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Our Focus

SaaS


Subscribe Technologies main and primary focus is Software as a Service (SaaS). Software as a service has been an exponentially growing sector in recent years, as technology evolves and advances to make our everyday lives easier and more efficient.

Software as a Service has to be easy to use. Fundamentally, saving time and energy is the primary purpose of SaaS, and all of our platforms are catered to end-user experiences that won’t confuse you. The world is changing, with mobile phone usage taking over where desktops left off, all of our apps are optimized for not only desktop, but also mobile and tablet use. There are so many apps floating around these days, it’s much easier and less stressful to integrate all of your favorite apps into 1 flagship platform.

Blockchain


Organisations, like Facebook and Google can then freely monetise your information by serving up paid advertisements. In a blockchain environment the consumer has more control who they share their personal information with.

Blockchain enables smarter transactions because the database (or ledger) is managed by a network, not any one central authority. ‘Tokenisation’ enables new asset classes, while a ‘token’ represents a unit of value. You can assign a token to almost any asset, person, organisation or utility, and they are important in a blockchain environment because it’s how we exchange and share value with our customers and partners . Organisations, like Facebook and Google can then freely monetise your information by serving up paid advertisements. In a blockchain environment the consumer has more control who they share their personal information with.

Artificial Intelligence


AI is popping up in virtually every technology sector, and Subscribe Technologies is up to speed with artificial integration within our platforms where appropriate.

Artificial Intelligence is changing how the world works. The computing power of an AI processor is exponentially higher than the human brain, and the opportunities to capitalize on each iteration of advancement are growing each year. We are used to assistants being peers and coworkers, but what about an AI? Within some of our platforms, an AI Assistant will help you navigate and use your apps. Industry experts generally agree that voice is the next big thing. Removing the need to type, to click, to do anything but talk, is something that our AI Assistants specialize in.

Mobile


The world is changing. Desktops are no longer the primary viewers of online multimedia, and apps are following suite. Subscribe Technologies is committed to a mobile-optimized portfolio.

When you use an app on your phone, you typically want the less clutter on the screen than the desktop version. We design our mobile applications to be as lightweight and refined as possible in order to maximize ease of use. Each of our mobile applications is optimized for both iOS and Android, as well as cross-compatibility and integration into the desktop and tablet versions. When you’re working with your touchscreen instead of a keyboard and mouse, you need to be able to intuitively expect how to operate your application. With our optimized user interfaces, the learning curve is minimized.

Youpreneurs


Youpreneurs are changing the way business as usual is conducted. Subscribe Technologies recognizes this under-served and growing community, and tailors our apps and platforms to best suit their needs.

Youpreneurs are typically busy people, and we recognize this. Each of our platform applications are specifically designed to maximize efficiency, and save unnecessary steps. The faster you complete a task, the sooner you can move on to the next one. Our platforms are optimized with speed in mind, to keep your momentum on the right track. A youpreneur has many different tasks and responsibilities, which is why our flagship platform was designed to integrate numerous apps within it’s umbrella, allowing full 360 degree operation of a small business all in one place.

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