How to get your first 100 SaaS Customers

How to get your first 100 SaaS Customers
Korneevamaha via Twenty20
At a Glance

SaaS enterprises struggle with finding their initial footing in the market. The real battle is to acquire the first 100 customers as the road after this milestone becomes somewhat smoother. But there is no scope of laxity even after that, as only a well-defined long-term growth strategy can ensure longevity in this highly dynamic industry.

Are you a SaaS start-up struggling to acquire customers? Achieving customers for your products and services requires a lot of struggle, but once you get your first 100 customers feels like a success, right?

The start-up “valley of death” lies in between start-up success and start-up failure, and it’s the worst place to get stuck.

 David Cancel, CEO, and Founder, Drift

The hustle is relentless and there is no other way that you as a founder thinks you can take things forward. You really need those first 100 clients and the faster you get there the better right? There is a need to show that this product actually works and that there is a trend where clients are subscribing at a fast rate. 

Every SaaS start-up has to go through the real struggle of establishing target audiences for their SaaS business ideas. It is not so easy to find the right customer for your offerings, and if you find one, the next step is to turn the customer into a repeat customer. Always make sure the customers are not just happy with you, instead they should also be successful in order to make your business a success too. Once you understand this fact, it will be easier for you to establish your footprint in this market, which is slated to reach the value of $623 billion by 2023.

Keep an eye on your customers and their demands 

When it comes to a SaaS business model, there are essentially two types of customers. One set of customers would be just liking your products and using them for the sake of convenience, whereas the other set of customers would be entirely satisfied with your products and share honest feedback and reviews. The users who only prefer to use your products will certainly help you achieve financial success as they will be offering you a regular source of revenue as, on average, a company employs 34 SaaS apps every year. 

The satisfied customers would give you valuable and relevant feedback. By knowing about the flaws as well as the positive aspects of your products, you can work towards improving the product. Further, as you are understanding the problems being faced by the customers and are finding the solutions for the same, you will be able to attract a more significant userbase.  

SaaS business customers contribute more to your success as they are interacting with you daily. You get to know the appropriate needs and desires of your audiences. Hence, plan everything as per their requirements. 

How to get your first 100 customers? 

“How to get your first 100 customers?” This is a question that bothers every SaaS enterprise. The ever-increasing competition in this domain has made it extremely challenging for a new SaaS business to acquire the initial 100 customers. But it is not impossible. With a well-defined short-term and long-term strategy, you can not only acquire your first 100 customers but can certainly add many more to the list. 

Short-term and Long-term Strategy 

All the new SaaS business models strive to strike a perfect balance between their short-term strategies and long-term strategies to acquire more customers. The short-term techniques are useful only until your company has just started acquiring the customers, maybe up to the first 10 customers. To get to your first 100 customers, you need to have a well-defined long-term strategy in place.   

Under the short-term strategy, you should try to meet and talk with them in person when you have very few customers. This task is easy to accomplish and will help you to build meaningful relationships with them. After understanding the grievances of these customers, you can make the required changes in your products. This will minimize the chances of any issues when you roll out for a large number of customers. 

To ensure long-term growth for your SaaS business, digital marketing is the way forward. The evolution of digital marketing has changed the paradigms of marketing. Now you can effectively prospect for new customers, irrespective of the size of your business. Digital marketing techniques like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing (SMM), PPC Ads are some of the most popular strategies to get in touch with more customers. Apart from these, cold calls and cold emails are also beneficial. Therefore, with the increasing number of customers, your focus should shift from short-term strategies to the long-term action plan.  

Way ahead after the first 100 customers

Now that you understand how to acquire the first 100 customers for your SaaS business idea, it is time to focus on the future. You simply can not stop at 100 customers as for your SaaS enterprise; you must keep on adding the customers. To ensure your growth in the long run, here are some steps that you must take: – 

– Formation of teams

You should always have a plan in your mind and work step by step. Rather than asking various individuals to perform the respective tasks, structure a dynamic team. It will not create any chaos while working, and carrying out tasks together would give desirable results. Thus, focus on creating dedicated teams for specific tasks.

 – Training and Upskilling

It is necessary to keep a check on each member of the team. As your business gradually keeps growing, it becomes a little bit difficult to handle everything. As such, some of your team members might face problems in completing their tasks. Some individuals might not perform their duties as efficiently as the way they used to do with a smaller customer base. Hence, you must invest in the training and upskilling of your employees to maintain your growth trajectory. 

– Look for regular feedback

As mentioned above, in the SaaS industry, you must always look for customers who are completely satisfied with your services and products. Make sure you gain regular feedback from your customers and keep on making improvements in your offering. 

– Add new features

The SaaS industry is highly dynamic as technology is evolving at a breakneck pace. So, you must continuously invest in improving your existing products and developing new products to keep the customers meaningfully engaged with your business. 

Need for a robust SaaS business model for a SaaS start-up 

A well-defined SaaS business model is extremely valuable as it helps get loyal customers for your business. As a result, there are higher chances that the audience will stay with you for a long time. They will probably last for years, ensuring that your SaaS business is successful financially as well as quality-wise. So, when you know they are subscribing to your services and products every month, they are more likely to opt for multi-year plans well. When you have a sizeable number of customers, this business model will ensure the continuity of your operations without any hassles.

Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, follow paths without making their own

 Derek Sivers, Founder, CD Baby

As a SaaS start-up, you should always look up to established companies and how they have evolved over the years. It will help you develop a sound strategy for your business. While digital marketing has leveled the field for new and established players, hard work and ingenuity still hold the key to success. The natural progression from fewer customers to more than 100 customers is exceptionally crucial. Yes, it is a milestone that you need to cross but that’s exactly what it is at the end of the day. A milestone you can call up on and say, I just accomplished a goal. You must maintain the same enthusiasm and dedication towards the business even after this milestone to achieve the desired results of growth that you need to boost your company even further.

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