At a Glance
To ensure the long-term growth of the business, it is important for SaaS enterprises to focus on the SMB sector. With almost six million SMBs who cannot afford extensive IT infrastructure, the opportunity is beckoning for aspiring SaaS businesses. With an increasing number of SMBs now interested in opting for SaaS products instead of traditional ones, there are significant opportunities available for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Even a $500 million market is too small for a mega-corporation to attack.Jason Cohen, Founder, WP, Smart Bear
Large business enterprises that require constant IT support and maintenance can afford to buy client-server software. These big enterprises have more than 3000 employees, and they buy software from traditional software companies. But, what about the small and medium scale businesses (SMBs)? There are around 5.8M SMBs who don’t have the resources to afford either licenses or in-house IT support from the traditional software enterprises. Even if some companies have the resources, they are highly reluctant to make such large investments in software. This is where SaaS enterprises have been changing the entire outlook of the SMBs and moving them towards the SaaS products their IT requirement.
Why is scaling the SMB market important?
Due to the emerging new SaaS business ideas, SMBs can afford the resources which they didn’t plan to invest in the present or future. Many SaaS businesses have different subscription models making it easier for SMBs to choose the right one for their business and one they can afford. They can either buy the monthly or annual packages according to their convenience. Since the SaaS products are in demand due to the growing aspirations of SMBs, this is the right time for scaling the SMB market or launching a new SaaS SMB business model.
The new SMB SaaS companies do not need to create a big enterprise-like product. They can build a SaaS product with limited features just to enter the market. Starting small means, you will not intimidate the SMBs, and they might be interested in what you offer. Therefore, building your MVP at the earliest is the most important step for any SaaS business idea. All you need to do is enter the market with MVP as the SMBs themselves have a low requirement. First, they take customer feedback or even charge them if the demand grows, which means you can eventually increase the sales.
Scaling SMB market: Strategies for SaaS Business
Entering the market is not all of it. After you enter the market with your SaaS MVP product, you need to scale the SMB market. Gather more customers and make sure your customer base is steadily expanding. This means first you have to reach out to more customers. But, if you are a young SaaS business owner, how are you planning on doing that? Let’s have a look at various ways to scale your SMB market for SaaS business.
Mass Media Marketing:
If you are thinking of hiring many new sales reps to advertise your SaaS product, stop right there. This is the digital era, and hence act smartly, not quantitatively. Try to strengthen the digital marketing scope of the SaaS business. Spread the words about your new product via blog posts, mass media channels, social media, etc. You can also collaborate with any famous content creator on social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube.
Two-in-one support team:
When you are launching a new SaaS business, your resources are bound as well. So, instead of hiring more sales reps, your customer support team might do the trick. Every customer should feel valued, which in turn will spread the word for your product. Thus, make your team conduct more webinars, feedback systems, and email marketing as an extended part of the service. This will drive the sales upwards.
No big promises:
In the beginning, you do not look out for big enterprise customers who need in-house IT support or security or upgraded versions of your SaaS product from time-to-time. This means instead of investing your time in making your product bigger or more complex, invest that time in marketing. There is a right time for making your business moves, and in SMB SaaS growth, first, look out for the SMBs, then you can plan bigger. You do not have to provide any extra features at the beginning. Make a simple subscription-based model that they can opt for if they want to. Releasing new features or upgrading the paid version of the software is for another day.
Know your market:
Before starting your SaaS business or getting right into building your product, first invest time in knowing the market. Remember that you are not a big software enterprise selling to giant firms. At first, you target an exceedingly small fragment of the market that is already being ruled by large entrepreneurs. So, have a better understanding of the SMBs you are targeting and then take bigger steps. You should also give them a personal touch of gratitude if you are a new SaaS entrepreneur. Try to relate with them in terms of small businesses’ struggles, which will help spread the word by mouth. And, for a new SaaS business, that is very important.
Setting up reciprocal deals:
According to Michael Beck, a small business entrepreneur, making for partners is the key to scaling the SMB market. Try to find more start-ups and even SaaS businesses that sell non-competitive products but have a mutual target customer base with your SaaS product. Through these companies, you can carry on your marketing by providing them deals and offers like free trials, discounts, etc., for their customers. This way, you are increasing your product’s reach through a different line of business yet targeting potential customers. This is a very effective strategy if you can pick up the right companies and offer their customers.
What happens next?
You just need to figure out how to market smartly and focus on some small customers’ pain points that the big enterprises tend to overlook. You will understand that your SaaS business is growing when the average selling price (ASP) per customer shows an upward trend. Salesforce and Netsuite are two big companies that started their journey with the SMB market and look at where they have reached now.
There is one extra tip for scaling the SaaS business for the SMB market, i.e., try to maintain a blog for your website. Publish successful stories of your customers, which is good for SEO purposes. This will make your customers happy, which will again help further expand the market for your products.