Thursday, June 13, 2024

What Should Startups Consider When Evaluating New SaaS Solutions?

SaaS solutions can make or break a company. Small teams can certainly make do with basic tools and resources. However, with growth an initial software tech stack is unlikely to have the flexibility or scalability required to grow with your business. This is why it’s critical to assess your SaaS solutions at each stage your company’s evolution.

Finding the right SaaS for your business feels challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Below highlights the optimal times for startups to review and source new SaaS solutions—and how to make sure you pick the right ones.

When is the best time to source a new SaaS solution?

As a startup leader, you’re carefully considering any and all business investments to avoid wasting precious resources. Of those investments will be the software services you use to operate (a.k.a. SaaS solutions).

SaaS solutions can look like a CRM and marketing automation solution (such as Pipedrive), payment platforms, and project management tools. By investing in the right SaaS solutions, you can optimise, scale, and expand your business’ functions. 

There will be pivotal moments throughout your company’s lifespan where you’ll want to invest in a new SaaS solution. What once worked for your business may not be as efficient as you scale.

So how can founders and leaders know when their current business operations will benefit from introducing a new SaaS solution? Here are some scenarios when implementing new SaaS is optimal:

  • When your company is hiring rapidly. It’s easier for small teams to handle decentralised communication and information sharing. But as teams and operations expand, it’s crucial to break down communication barriers and streamline workflows for productivity, employee satisfaction, and revenue growth.
  • When your company gets more investment capital. No matter what funding series you’re in, it’s wise to invest your new resources in tools that will help your company secure even more funding in the future. Future investors will want to see that your business has longevity in mind. Updating your legacy tech systems shows that you’re future-proofing your operations.
  • When current SaaS tools just aren’t working. Sometimes the tools themselves indicate when it’s time for a change. When your team is frustrated at a tool’s limited functionality, when they’re spending too much time on admin that could be automated, or when it gets too difficult to collaborate on your current symptoms, it’s time for a new solution. 

What should startups be wary of when evaluating a SaaS solution?

Deciding to invest in a new SaaS solution for your startup is straightforward. Then comes the hard part: How do you decide which solution is the best fit for your business? 

The global SaaS market grew from $225.6 billion in 2020 to $272.49 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to reach a staggering $436.9 billion by 2025. With so many SaaS options available and even more rapidly developing, choosing the right one for your business can feel overwhelming. 

Here are some points your startup should consider when evaluating a new SaaS solution.

Is the SaaS solution scalable?

As your company grows, you want your SaaS solutions to grow with you. Assess the product’s scalability, and forecast whether or not the product has the capacity to meet your future needs. 

Inquire about all the provider’s options, not just the ones that fit your company at its current stage. Start with the end in mind. If you outgrow the solution, what are your exit options? Get the business cancellation policy in writing, and ensure you won’t be locked in with a product hindering your business. 

Is the SaaS solution compatible with your existing software? 

Compatibility is crucial. You don’t want to invest in a new marketing automation tool only to find it’s incompatible with your CRM.

For example, ebook subscribers can be added automatically as prospects to your Pipedrive CRM. This means you save the time you’d have spent manually uploading contact information, and you reduce the risk of human error.

What are the available migration options? 

If you’re investing in a new SaaS solution to replace an existing one, ensure that your data can migrate easily from one to the other. 

Do some research on what that migration will look like before making any decisions. Will the data migrate automatically, or will some manual input be necessary? Will there be any downtime for your business as the migration takes place? You’ll want to prepare a contingency plan for your customers if so. This will help you determine how much time migration will take and help you better assess your investment.

What is the customer support availability?

As you onboard your team to the solution, there may be some growing pains. When vetting potential SaaS solutions, inquire about how much support you’ll receive when navigating the change.

When auditing the customer support you’ll receive, consider the following:

  • Dedicated agents. Some tools offer dedicated support agents to help your entire organization manage the change. This is often available on higher tiers of service, so you’ll want to see if it’s offered on the plan you’re interested in.
  • Availability and accessibility. If the customer support isn’t 24/7, make sure their available hours work with your team’s timezone(s). For solutions that your whole team will be using, find out if everyone will have access to customer support, or if it’s limited to certain authorized users. 

You’ll want to get these answers upfront rather than during a stressful troubleshooting moment!

What will onboarding your team to this SaaS solution look like?

It’s normal for teams to feel anxious about change. Leaders are often the ones making decisions about a new tool, but the people carrying out daily operations use it most frequently. 

Some points to consider while assessing onboarding include:

  • The cost of training. If the provider offers training, determine if the cost is included in your subscription, or at an additional rate. You’ll also want to know the duration of training and how long the provider will offer onboarding support.
  • Team involvement. You’ve already chosen team members to help choose the product, but you also need to determine who needs to participate in training. Depending on the scope of training, you may need to find coverage for these employees’ workload during the onboarding period. 

Effective onboarding is essential to ensure you get the most out of your SaaS solution, so you want to assess the process carefully. 

Asking the right questions is essential when sourcing a new SaaS solution

Sourcing new SaaS tools requires strategic consideration, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. By addressing the points above, startup founders and leaders can make the right decisions to take their business to the next level.

This process is better done sooner rather than later. For example, if you’re going through a stage of rapid growth, investing in new solutions will help you mitigate risk and lay the foundations to scale ahead of time.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
Sam heads up Cheshire-based PR Fire, an online platform that has already helped over 10,000 businesses to grab widespread media coverage on their news at an extremely accessible price point.

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