Lessons in Software as a Service Product Development

June 16, 2014
F5Motion

Launching Saas Product

Launching and selling software product has been challenging and fun. When you’ve developed a nice tool that solves a specific problem for a defined group of people, getting clients up and running is a rush. Our mobile compliance app Action Card has been a great experience. We knew we had an innovative idea in mobile compliance reviews early on as we talked to our networks and some local franchises and multi-location companies. Throughout the development of Action Card, feedback we received from our beta-test group helped us immeasurably. We added features, fixed bugs and got better at talking about the app. Sales and marketing will always present challenges as we continue to study our client behavior and discuss how to scale growth and continue to make the app more user-friendly. However the next big test is upon us.

 User Adoption

A recent blog by Open View Partners states the next big challenge in software as a service development perfectly. “Snagging new customers is one thing, ensuring that they become active, long-term users is another.”  The writer notes that communication with the client is key, but goes a step beyond that. “However, to be truly effective, user adoption has to be a cross-departmental effort. Specifically, that means that a company’s product development, customer service, and marketing teams must partner to:

The prevalence of cloud-based software solutions and mobile app technology has created a wealth of options for businesses and consumers It has also challenged software developers to create easy to use applications that even the most technologically challenged can quickly use and incorporate into their daily habits. For businesses, the technology must make life notably easier for the user and even easier to learn. Often the best features to a software application are the ones left off.

What Does Success Look Like?

Interestingly, a growing number of businesses feel that Saas development and sales it is not all about client retention. Lincoln Murphy with Gainsight  writes about a new metric, DDR or dollar revenue retention. DDR is revenue renewal values which is basically not a measure of clients gained versus clients lost but a look at up-sells, cross-sells and additional charges for expanded use of your app. When your product is tiered in pricing and service, it is possible to lose customers and increase Saas revenue. Therefore it is good to see who drops off, when and for what reasons and who is becoming more engaged with your product. Is DDR the better measurement for success in Saas sales? Not necessarily, however Murphy makes a valid point;

…If you’re losing customers (even if you’re growing revenue with the remaining customers), something is wrong.

It might be that you are:

Ultimately, losing clients is a bad thing. The importance of interacting with your customers and soliciting feedback from them will help you gut check your theory on the application’s value and utility. Successful mobile app sales will have low churn and high rates of user interaction.

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