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‘’By 2021, the global SaaS workload is poised to reach 380 million.’’

The SaaS world is going to see a rise in the number of brands that will be entering the Saas market.

And why not?

The Sass industry holds multiple benefits in its hand when it comes to the creation of it. Right from the product being developed to the usage, everything managed by Saas businesses is worked on priority.

Table of Content

1. Scale from 0 to 100 customers in Saas

2. 4 Steps to get through Phase 1 successfully

3. 2 Strategies to help you sail through Phase 3 Smoothly

4. SaaS Success Stories

5. Bonus Tips

Do you know another priority that can make any Saas business?

Prospects.

Creating a product, understanding the needs of prospects are always going to be there but how can you scale your prospect count to a 100 in an efficient and quick manner?

This is exactly what this article will help you in. The creation of a unique product isn’t enough, getting prospects to invest in it and keeping that count increasing is important and necessary for your brand’s effort.

Find all the tips and information you need to start moving from 0 to 100 prospects for your business.

Let’s get started.


Scale from 0 to 100 customers in Saas

You can split this whole process of getting from 0 to 1000 customers in 3 phases

  • Phase 1 →  0 – 10 
  • Phase 2 →  10 – 100
  • Phase 3 → 10 – 1000 

4 Steps to get through Phase 1 successfully 

Most of the time, in my experience, people concentrate on the looks of their business or the product, like focussing on building their website or how their logo looks.

You really need to understand that seeking prospects is what’s going to get things started for you and not the aesthetics of your business.

Interesting Read :
Guide to B2B SaaS Customer Research

I don’t mean to say that things like websites and logos aren’t important, it’s essential because they represent the business, represent you in a professional way.

But, when you’re at the starting point it’s more important to get the customer!

Step 1 – Create a decent Landing Page

It’s easy to get lost in creating a landing page, you’d want to make the maximum impact through this one page.

But right now the focus is to just have web presence.

Start by buying a domain name and build a simple page.

Just create a decent landing page, add a widget through which they can provide their contact details, add a few social links and of course your logo.

Step 2 – Network to Kick-start things

‘’Every customer interaction is a marketing opportunity. If you go above and beyond on the customer service side, people are much more likely to recommend you. ~ Stewart Butterfield, co-founder – Slack’’

Include your friends, families, and the people they might know. You can’t just keep your product on sale and expect prospects to reach out to you. At this point to avail even one customer on your shelf you need to go all out to understand your prospects better. You can always start with your closed ones.

You never know you may find your ideal prospects who might be friends with someone you know and when that happens selling to them becomes much easier. Join online groups, get in touch with prospects online, and start engaging with them to understand why they need your product.

Remember the rule here is that since you started from scratch, you can’t just jump to selling. You know that your product is great but you telling the same to prospects isn’t going to help either. When you start networking, you need to start engaging with prospects and learn what their pain points are.

‘’Take every opportunity to spend time with your customer. Whether you are a developer writing the software or the marketer telling the story, you must have a firm grip on the problem you are solving from the point of view of your customer. ~ Ross Mason, co-founder – MuleSoft’’

When you understand that, you will then be able to get an idea of how your product can help them, and accordingly when you address it, selling takes place without any hassles. Also, try asking your peers or closed ones to recommend your brand to spread the word because when that happens, the chances to get acquainted with a new prospect is easier.

Pro tip:

  • Make a list of all the people whom you can start networking with
  • Connect and follow up with your connections
  • Go online and use social networking platforms to connect with your prospects
  • Invest your time in understanding prospects pain points rather than selling
  • Focus more on the type of audience you want to sell too

Step 3 – Blogging is the new SEO

‘’Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites.’’

This is true because blogging is a great way to get more prospects to drive towards your website. Blogging gives you the liberty to speak more about your industry and your product in a detailed manner. When you start to write blogs, you are sharing a good amount of knowledge you have on a topic you’ve written and that knowledge is needed by one of your prospects.

Blogging is now considered to be a great source to capture the attention of prospects and guide them towards your website. With the help of SEO tactics such as backlinks, keyword optimization, using high-quality images, and more, your blog stands all the chances for your prospects to find you.

Interesting Read :
What is Saas? Why you should be aware of it?

Pro tip:

  • Write longer blogs to showcase more details about your brand, your market, and the solution you are selling. ‘’Bloggers who write articles of 2,000+ words are far more likely to have strong results.’’
  • Conduct research and write on relevant topics only
  • Share your blogs and ask your peers, friends, and family to do the same
  • Make the blog simple to understand and easy to grasp
  • Write relevant information which will make your prospects to continue reading it and land up on your website

Step 4 – Exhausting but Rewarding – Selling

Sales is the only way you’ll know where your product stands in the market.

Obviously also closely study, their reasons for being interested in the product (as it will help you improve your pitch) and their reason for rejecting the product (and incorporate those improvements in your product)

Reach out to as many prospects as you can, and note not just any prospects – qualified prospects, pitch your product/service to them and closely notice how they react, this will help you understand the product from a prospective, customer’s view. 


2 Strategies to help you sail through Phase 3 Smoothly

Now that we have made further than most startups do, you have 10 solid customers. That calls for a celebration!

But don’t get carried away, now you have to change your strategies and approach the 2 phases of the process with even more eagerness.

Strategy 1 – Identify the Customer

What I mean, when I ask you to identify the customer, is – find out if he/she is a ‘Happy’ Customer or a ’Successful’ one.

As I read somewhere (probably a tweet Steli Efti made) “Happy customers like your product. Successful Customers receive value from your product”

There’s a very clear distinction between both these kinds of customers.

A happy customer like you, probably because they believe in you, your team, your company, your vision and what you stand for. They won’t really have any complaints, and will be happy to pay you money every month. Usually, there’s one person who’s advocating for your product and when he/she gets replaced, the faith in your company gets replaced as well. That ends up with a reevaluation and maybe a cancellation of your contract.

On the other hand, a successful customer is infallible, since they appreciate you for a different set of reasons, i.e – you actually provide value to them. Even if one of these people leave the organization that fact that your product to all intents and purposes works for the whole organization will get you to stay and grow sustainably. 

Strategy 2 – Short-Term or Long-Term

Short term strategies were what we used earlier, to get our first 10 customers but as I mentioned, in this step we’ll have to pick up the pace- so we’ll be moving to the Long-Term strategies.

So the steps we followed earlier, like,

  • Handling every support call
  • Personally attending new customers
  • Leveraging personal connections to kick-start the business 

Won’t work for us in this phase

Instead, we need to move towards steps like,

1 . Send Cold Emails & Cold Calls

‘’89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation.’’ Cold emails are not a thing of the past, even today it can help modern Saas businesses like yours to get more prospects. The count of email users are high, ‘’Email use will top three billion users worldwide by 2020, and 2.9 billion email users worldwide in 2019.’’

Cold emails are a great way to introduce yourself to your prospects and engage with them to learn more about your solution. Sending emails is also a good professional platform for engaging with other clients for the purpose of building up your brand. You can also conduct follow up emails as it will help give you the expected results in reply rates. ‘’Sending more follow-up emails can triple your reply rate.’’

While you send cold emails, also ensure that the email content doesn’t sound like a sales script. The main focus here is to capture your prospect’s attention by understanding what their needs are and how your product can solve it for them. 

Personalize your emails as much as you can, add the human factor and make it sound that you genuinely want to cater to their needs. There are multiple email marketing softwares that can help you get started. A continuous pattern of such an action can help you get more prospects because the prospects are aware that you are prioritizing their needs over your sales.

Pro tip:

  • Ensure every email being sent is personalized
  • Conduct frequent follow-ups and curate emails according to the prospect status of the emails being sent
  • Write simple, easy understand email content
  • Ensure no grammatical mistakes are spotted
  • Focus more on giving and helping prospects instead of just making sales

2. Invest in content and SEO marketing

In the second pointer of this article, the importance of blogging was explained to you. It’s not just blogging here which can help you capture leads, it is any form of content that you put out for your prospects to understand that you have a product that they need to try out. ‘’72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement. In addition, 72% say it has increased the number of leads.’’

Content is a powerful medium to tap your audience, say you have posted a social media post about your product. If your content has captured the attention of your prospects, they will stop scrolling and click on the link of your product. With the blogs listed, e-books, case studies, and other forms of content, they will be able to explore and learn about your brand better.

So if you intervene and place pop-ups asking them to sign in to get started with your product, if their interest is still retained with your content, they would confidently go forward. This is the power of content. It need not be too long or too short, just the right words are enough to capture and retain the interest of prospects.

Interesting Read :
The Ultimate Guide for PQLs in SaaS

Making your content even better, your investment in an SEO tool can help. As stated in the second pointer, SEO is a great tool because it helps to optimize your content which can rank the highest among your competitors’ content. Also with keyword optimizations where those keywords are used which your prospects will type to find your article can bring your content even closer to your prospect’s attention.

Content marketing and SEO are long term solutions that can help your Saas business to continue functioning better. It is important that you make use of such a medium-well.

Pro tip:

  • Research and write every content topic
  • Use keywords, backlinks, images, videos statistics to enhance your content better
  • The content should be framed in such a manner that it should help to retain the interest of your prospects
  • Share your content on all the platforms where your prospects are most likely using
  • Keep a track of your content performance to avoid any mistakes

3. Virality and the Network Effect

With traditional acquisition channels like SEO, SEM saturating, SaaS companies with Product-Led Growth benefit from an incredibly efficient way to grow because, unlike paid marketing, viral growth is free and compounding.

What is Virality though?

Virality occurs when a prospect’s first interaction with a product is through the product itself — a key element in product-led growth.

There’s no single player in the product if you want to witness a viral loop taking shape, it’s simple, imagine a product you’re using where you can invite a non-user to collaborate.

Calendly came in my mind almost instantly! You can send invites and set up meetings with others through calendly. — it has a strong networking effect. This networking effect exposes other people to the product and promotes its value before they’ve become customers.

Another product that I could think of was Slack, you need to invite others in order to work efficiently, that means you’re introducing the product to new people with every simple invitation.

Some other examples of this concept can be, Loom & Hubspot

4. Try Affiliate/Influencer Marketing

‘’65% of people discover a new brand or product through an influencer at least once a week (24% say they find one daily!)’’ 

’87% of shoppers were inspired by an influencer to make a purchase’’ 

Influencer marketing is a great way to make your brand’s existence aware in the minds of your prospects. Influencer marketing is growing and by using influencers who have a good number of followers, chances are anything recommended by them will be tried out by their audience.

Try Affiliate marketing, With Almost 40% of marketers mentioning affiliate marketing as their preferred method to acquire new customers it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we see that 81% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage affiliate marketing.


SaaS Success Stories

1. iDoneThis – Be Present

In order to understand where your prospects are it is always great to conduct research about them. It can be relevant subreddits, facebook pages, hashtags or ay of the numerous industry forums. Here’s a perfect example with a blend of all these – 

Walter Chen, iDoneThis founder, realized his customers were just seeded in other communities.

So, decided to extract his initial user base from large industry forums.

They posted an article on Hacker News. The post was made with an external link pointing to iDoneThis website along with a comment describing the project.

The HN post sent 2,300 visitors to their site over the next 6 weeks, resulting in 150 signups.

The next month, the company cross-promoted a post to three relevant subreddits totalling 16,000 subscribers.

The posts generated over 50 comments and remained at the top of the subreddits for 2-3 days.

The reddit exposure sent 3,000 people to the site resulting in 400 signups. It also sparked added social media exposure as people began tweeting and blogging about the company.

2. Box – More Free Options

Another way to grow better with your just launched brand is to start adopting the concept of product-led growth. This concept stresses more on how your product can be the sales figure. Using your product you can capture the attention of prospects and get them to make their purchasing decisions on the basis of your product experience.

You can conduct this action by giving them a free trial or going freemium for your product. 

A perfect example for this is of Box, they introduced the concept of Fremium when it really was unheard of

The company started out by selecting individual employees of target corporations and giving them free access to the software in the hope that the user would love the product, tell co-workers and eventually get their company to pay for it.

This was a very clever move considering employees have a lot of say in the tools and technologies their companies use on a daily basis.

3. Dropbox – Make Customers Spread the Word

Dropbox grew into popularity because they had such a convenient and innovative way of motivating the existing customers to bring in more prospects towards their brand. 

The introduced a scheme where the user would receive extra storage space for every friend they refer to. 

So imagine, how many referrals must have been registered. This is such a great opportunity to drive sales and it is evident with the successful growth of Dropbox.

The main objective of App Sumo’s founder was to get as many email addresses as possible. The founder knew that if they had the email addresses, reaching out to all the prospects would increase the chances of finding their ideal prospects.

4. AppSumo – Back to the Basics

We’ve already discussed this, initially the focus should be on the web presence and getting as many contacts as you can. AppSumo is a the practical example of this step working out for a startup – 

AppSumo built an email list of almost 700,000 addresses. And that is exactly how their business grew and is a popular name in the market today. 

The founder, Noah Kagan,had stated, ‘’When setting up my website I had one goal in mind: Get email signups. It has been my singular focus from day one. I am constantly looking for new ways to do this without being an annoying jerk.’’

Noah also shared from his guide the step to conduct such an action. To name a few are:

  • Sticky widget
  • Popup
  • Welcome gate
  • Exit popup and more

Bonus Tips

1. Give your prospects more free options

You can conduct this action by giving them a free trial or going freemium for your product. They could in a time period use your product for free and understand better how it works and how it can help their business grow.

This is a great way to capture more prospects since your product is being highlighted as a strong sales technique to increase customer acquisition.

2. Engage with experts in your market

Do you know another better way to capture prospects is learning from the experts? These experts have created their brand name and are considered as a great multinational company in your country or either across the globe. Many of them have learned from their mistakes which is why their success rates are higher.

3. Invest your time on Linkedin

Linkedin is considered to be a great platform to connect with your peers. It is a great professional communication platform where you can connect with multiple of your audience. On Linkedin, you have a feature where you can send direct messages to your prospects. This will help you to strike a conversation and connect with them better.


The Bottom Line…

The above steps and strategies are straightforward and actionable.

It is never easy to tap a huge amount of prospects in one go. That’s why we need to adapt to different strategies in different phases of our process, experiment and find out what works of us and what is liked by our customers.

It’s a constant trial and error with some comfort in the basic steps mentioned above.

Start applying the prospect scaling factors today and witness a change in your brand growth.

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Anushka Pandey
Anushka Pandey