With so many software startups in the current landscape, it seems like only a special few find the right formula for scaling their early-stage successes. How do you replicate the early wins and repeat them on a large, long-term scale?
You need a comprehensive plan for achieving sustainable growth if you want people to stay interested in your brand and continue buying your software service.
In this post, we’ll go over 4 ideas that will help you grow more efficiently and ensure you get the highest ROI from your efforts.
1. Get funding
You know what they say: you have to spend money to make money. If you want your startup to remain profitable, you have to invest in all the right areas.
But as a young SaaS startup, you will likely run into roadblocks where it seems like you have to choose between investing in one area of your business or another.
Getting a loan for your small business is one way to quickly get funding, so that you don’t need to choose between 2 different tactics that you know will help your business grow.
Outside funding helps you address your biggest financial needs while simultaneously focusing on the bigger challenges of running a SaaS startup. Funding ensures you have money in the bank even if your revenue is in a state of variation.
Small business loans help you:
- Handle the costs of any unexpected events that might occur
- Pay for one-off projects and other operational obstacles
- Afford to stay in compliance with regulatory agencies
Even if you’ve had less than favorable experiences with past investors or bank loans, there are options for getting the funding that you need. You can read more about the best ways to fund your business in Nav’s Business Funding Guide.
2. Customer acquisition
If you want to keep growing, your company needs customers. In these early stages of your business, you should be spending the majority of your effort and budget on winning new customers. So which tactics will give you the highest return?
In order to keep selling your software, you need fresh new leads coming into your sales pipeline. Lead generation can become one of the most expensive areas for your business, but it pays off to invest heavily in effective lead generation tactics.
Inbound marketing is a staple for most SaaS companies. Inbound tactics like content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media media marketing can cost your company little to nothing, aside from hiring and managing employees to execute them.
We suggest an outbound strategy as well to back up your inbound tactics. This involves sales development reps (SDRs) following up with marketing leads to schedule sales appointments for your sales team.
When inbound and outbound work together (a concept we like to call an allbound strategy), you get an always-on sales engine that builds genuine one-on-one customer relationships.
As a new company, lack of brand recognition can be a big barrier to convincing buyers to choose your service over others. Though it’s hard to put an exact dollar amount on the ROI from good branding, it’s an important step in establishing yourself as a competitor in the software space.
When branding elements like your logo, website, and font choices are appealing and recognizable, it lends valuable credibility to your product. With a cohesive brand, buyers easily make the connection between your visuals and the quality of what you sell.
Did you know that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a new one? This is why it’s so important to do everything in your power to make sure customers renew their subscriptions to your software.
You can reduce customer churn by putting customer satisfaction above all else. Some of the best ways to strengthen relationships with your existing customers include:
- Guiding them through the onboarding and implementation process of your software to ensure they get full utility of your solution
- Providing comprehensive customer service through popular channels like phone, email, web chat, and social media
- Regular health checks to ensure the software is still working for them and to suggest any ways to maximize their use of the product
Automation is one of the most popular ways that growing businesses stay competitive these days.
The biggest benefit: by automating your day-to-day business processes, you can improve the efficiency of your operations and get more work done with less effort.
Of course some drawbacks are that many automation platforms require special technical expertise to configure and maintain. On top of that, a quality automation platform can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Still, automating tasks like email marketing or lead nurturing can make all the difference for the growth of your business.
As a startup, you likely have a small team and are just getting your footing when it comes to developing the core competencies of your business.
If you haven’t yet considered outsourcing some of your business functions to a specialized firm, it can actually be a smart way to recruit experienced talent without the costs of hiring and managing, as well as cut operational costs in the long run.
Many SaaS startups see success by outsourcing processes like marketing, lead generation, sales, and customer service because it allows them to focus their efforts on developing their product and high-level strategy. A few other reasons to outsource include:
- The specialized firm has subject matter expertise in the areas for which you hire them
- You avoid all the costs of office space and equipment for outsourced team members
- The outsourced firm is responsible for maintaining employees in certain high-turnover roles
Outsourcing may seem like a big investment for your business. But there are options for small businesses to fund an investment like this that will help you remove some of the uncertainty.
Wrapping it up
If you want long-term growth for your startup, you need to know where to focus your strategy so that you get the most out of your efforts. Knowing how to get customers, how to retain them, and how to make your processes more efficient are some good first steps.
Spending your budget wisely is critical for sustainable scalability, but you shouldn’t cut any corners in your plan for growth. Invest in the right areas, and you’ll reap the rewards.