Talk digest : 6 winning Strategies for Agile SaaS Companies

Alexandre Morel
3 min read

Broadcasted first on June 11th 2020 at the SaaStock Remote 2020, Alexandre Morel, Chief Revenue Officer of Scaleway, will give you tips to develop your software and be more agile facing your competition.

You can also listen (and watch !) this content :

Switch to micro service architecture

If splitting your software into different autonomous parts is nothing new, the art of Micro-Service consist of a “full stack” approach, were not only the software but also the hardware on which it relies is split. This offer new possibilities:

  • you can scale part of your software – and not all parts will need to scale at the same pace.
  • it's also a useful tool if you want to be able to sell just a part of your solution on the market and not your full software to your customers.
  • And who knows, maybe that one feature will be your next stand-alone market-acclaimed service!

By embracing from day one a Cloud Native micro-services approach, you won’t have to spend time redesigning your software architecture into micro services later. Even better: it will accelerate your delivery, each team being able to push an update without waiting for the whole monolithic software to be ready to implement it. By giving each teams more autonomy, you will also reduce the risk of dependencies going wrong.

Be ready for a Multi-Cloud world

The underlying infrastructure is a huge part of your core business. It is important to treat it as so. You should be able to deploy your software anywhere without being locked-in, and to do so, you need to imagine yourself on top of the stack. When most of your competitors are certainly using one Cloud Provider, they may be confronted to an issue when the big questions come. What if a big customer wants to use your software in China? What if your CSP doesn’t have a local region opened when it’s absolutely required by your prospect? What if a huge manufacturer needs to have some parts of your software on-premise?

Not only a multi-cloud approach will decrease your lock-in, it will help you saying “yes” more often to demanding customers. And you will be able to easily bench CSP and deploy stacks where it makes the more sense for you: maybe CSP A will be much cheaper for this part, and CSP B will offer a unique service for this other part.

Focus on unique value proposal

The third strategy may seem obvious, but isn’t. We talked about micro service architecture which is splitting your software into single parts working and discussing together. Once you have made this exercise, you will be able to identify what are your unique value, and what is not. And maybe you are spending a lot of time and money to maintain develop something that everybody has also developed, and that doesn’t bring anything new or different to your solution.

Be part of software ecosystems… or be the ecosystem

There is a lot of ways to go to market. But mainly when you are a SaaS provider, you can be part of the ecosystem, or you can be the ecosystem. Usually, companies go from the first to the second. Selling in an ecosystem can be easier at the beginning, because you go where your customers already are. And maybe if you are in a big ecosystem, you will be able to be more efficient and to sell more. For example, if your app is on the SalesForce AppExchange, chances are you will have a better footprint on the market.

Being part of an ecosystem is especially clever if your solution have one or several micro-services that are over-performers compared to the market. You can reduce the scope of your software, proposing maybe 25% of your services that are acclaimed by the market and set it as a stand alone that can be connected to a complete ecosystem. Don't spend time on features that doesn't bring you money!

Develop API to accelerate new sales channel

The fifth strategy that I would propose is to keep an API-first approach in mind. With APIs that consumes your micro services, you can partner with a bigger SaaS editor, that will bring you cash by integrated one or all your micro-services. You will become a specialist that sells not directly to end users, but to other SaaS providers.

Give them first, then make them addict to your software

Last but not least! By now, many of you already switched to the SaaS mode and are multi-tenant through a single interface, so you can sell everywhere in the world and address huge markets. It is now time to accelerate your business. How? When you look at how software editor are now selling their softwares, you see that 80% of them are now using subscription. The license mode is just less than 10%. Time has changed!

And just as Subscription is now the standard, having a free-tier - or a "freemium" approach - is trendy.

You may see your transformation rate going from 10% to 3%, and it can be scary. But I prefer personally having 3 percent of hundred thousand customers than getting 10 percent of thousand customers. Sometimes you need to be brave to change your model. Switching to a SaaS model isn’t enough, and you have to go all the way: giving your customers something free give you value and helps you creating your community. And this is really valuable.

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