If you’re in the process of developing a SaaS product and wondering whether you’re ready to go to market then the time has probably come for you to run through a go to market checklist. An analysis of issues such as cash flow, net profits and income streams will obviously play a part in the decision, but the unique nature of SaaS platforms as a business proposition means that there are specific factors to consider. When deciding if your SaaS should go to market, you need to consider the following questions:
Is over 50% of your budget still being spent on R and D?
Is less than a third of your budget being set aside to spend on marketing and acquiring customers?
Is the process of applying the finishing touches to your SaaS taking much longer than expected, and is this timescale pushing the project as a whole over budget?
These questions act as a kind of go to market checklist, because if you’re answering ‘yes’ to any of them then there’s a chance that you might be making a classic SaaS development mistake. In simple terms, too many developers work for too long in an effort to make the SaaS platform they are developing as perfect and flawless as possible. This may seem like a laudable aim but the fact of the matter is that, out in the real world, your SaaS platform doesn’t have to be perfect in order to start making money.
Go to market checklist
Forget about finishing the R and D phase of your platform since, where SaaS products are concerned, the R and D process is never really completed. The next – and most vital – stage of R and D once you’ve created a platform which you feel answers a market demand involves releasing an unfinished version of the platform to be put through its paces by beta testers.
The key to understanding whether you’ve reached the SaaS go to market stage is realising that the input from end users can always be used to tweak and improve the platform. In simple terms, interaction with end users will always throw up either issues with the SaaS platform which weren’t apparent during development or – more positively – uses for the platform which hadn’t occurred to you.
Marketing the product
Another key aspect of launching a SaaS platform successfully involves ensuring that enough of the budget has been set aside for marketing and customer acquisition. Too many developers make the mistake of assuming that making the platform as ‘perfect’ as possible will, by definition, lead to users adopting it. In the real world, this isn’t the case. Users, particularly in the B2B sector, are simply too busy running their own businesses to take the time to seek out the next SaaS platform they need. Instead, developers need to be devoting time and investment into reaching out to the customers they need via direct marketing.
This is a process which needs to be underway while the finishing touches are being applied to the platform via beta testing and then feedback from initial customers. Beta testing of a pilot version of the platform will enable you to focus in on exactly who your ideal customers are, because these customers will be those looking for the features which the testers identify as the platform strong points.
Once the profile of the ideal customer has been developed, you can target real world examples by offering cut-price subscription rates for early adopters. The feedback from these users can then be taken on board to adapt the platform in order to perfectly match market demands, and once this has been done things can be scaled up for a full market release.
We can help
If you’re interested in finding out more about whether your SaaS platform is ready to go to market, then get in touch with our financial experts. Discover how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.