Benefits of a Self-service Model for SaaS Growth
Whether you are starting your SaaS business or pivoting your growth strategy, you have a clear goal: to maximize revenue. A self-service model is a great way to automate your SaaS sales funnel and provides multiple benefits to increase revenue and achieve exponential growth.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of the self-service model and exemplify how you can tap into its multiple variations to make your SaaS grow with fewer resources and larger revenue.
Here are the benefits of a self-service model and how it can help grow your SaaS
What is a self-service model?
Self-service is any point of sales or services in which a customer doesn’t interact with a human being. From automated password recovery and app downloads to complex support bots and extensive documentation wikis. If it’s something that customers can do by themselves without any human assistance then it’s self-service. Plain and simple.
A self-service model is the implementation of those tools at a larger scale to grow your SaaS spending fewer resources. Let your customers work for you 😉.
The benefits of self-service for SaaS
Self-service is preferred by users
I have a confession to make: I don’t like shopping. If I have the opportunity to make the process quicker, I’ll take it. For that reason when I’m at my local grocery store I almost without exception use the self-service checkout. 🛒
I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. Reports have shown that customers are 4.8 times more likely to rate self-service as an important feature. While business buyers are 5.2 times more likely.
Self-service is a blessing by itself for any growing SaaS company. It’s less intrusive, as it gives users the autonomy to explore, learn and solve their problems at their own pace. Users want to be in control and 40% of them are preferring self-service over human contact. But what else can self-service do for you?
A self-service model provides any SaaS with a larger funnel or a wider net to cast. As you don’t need to focus on each potential client individually you can spend your time improving your customer retention strategy or your product messaging to expand your audience.
That way you can catch the attention of bigger audiences of potential users that can try your product and stick with you if you convince them of your value. No human intervention is required.
Self-service is a great option for new SaaS products
Most SaaS businesses don’t have a huge funding or much resources to invest in sales and marketing.
The typical path of newly created SaaS products is launching a MVP to continue developing a more robust and suitable product for their target buyer. During this process, the team should be focused in getting feedback from users and building the right features.
Having a self-service model in place releases the rest of the team of the sales responsibilities to center their attention in the product development and improvement.
Forget about waiting times and closing hours
Time is money 💸, and by implementing a self-service model you’ll save resources while you generate time-saving benefits for your customers.
One of the most important attributes of the customer experience is fast response times. Unlike other models, self-service is immediate. They’ll sign up, subscribe, and upgrade by themselves, so they’ll avoid long-term negotiation with a salesperson. That means there is no queue and no waiting time to start using your product.
If you have an international audience, and especially if your team is not available 24/7, self-service and automation can provide you with global coverage. No closing hours, and no need for your team intervention to close a sale.
In the self-service model, you still need to have a good product, attract potential customers, invest in targeted ads, and improve your marketing strategy. But instead of engaging each potential customer one-on-one, you’ll use your onboarding process to guide them to help themselves to the products that fit what they’re looking for.
Self-service only works if the user knows how to sign up and subscribe by themselves. So if you want to automate your sales and upgrades, you’ll need to improve your user onboarding process too. You can use some interface tricks to decrease bounce rates and keep your users engaged long enough to generate revenue:
- Be creative, strategic, and clear with your CTAs. A good call to action should inform a user what will happen when they click and also entice them to do so.
- Offer tips and suggestions. Not all users are tech-savvy. Ask them if they want to learn more and show them what else they can do with your product.
- Reduce churn by better targeting your customers during onboarding with personalized messages and relevant content for different kinds of users.
- Regardless of the pricing model you decide is best for your SaaS, an automated payment system (there are plenty of tools that can help you with that) will help you take any lead from trial to purchase or upgrade without a single call, meeting, or email.
Upselling and cross-selling
Once your sales self-service model is working, you need to make sure to have supplementary processes to upsell and cross-sell to keep your SaaS revenue growth without extra work.
To do so, you need to be able to show the value of the additional features of a higher plan and provide a self-service upgrade option and offer supplementary products or add-ons that can benefit your users.
You can implement a self-service upselling and cross-selling strategy by:
- Offering multiple plans, levels, or tiers with well-explained features so they can pick what’s best for their needs.
- Implementing a freemium model and offering basic features for free. Then entice them to upgrade to better or more advanced paid services.
- Offering a core service with multiple paid add-ons that solve specific problems or expand your main features.
- Having a clear call to action to upgrade once your users want to access certain premium features.
Regardless of the method you choose, if you want your users to upgrade you’ll need to find ways to introduce new features or product updates. Clear communication is key to attract their attention and convince them to take the next step.
Beamer is an amazing tool for that job! With Beamer, you can announce news, product updates, promotions, or any kind of content that will lead and drive your users to upgrade. Copy and paste the code in your app or website and you’ll see an embedded changelog or notification center, highly visible and fully customizable.
Beamer includes a full suite of tools for automatization and self-service:
- Push notification opt-ins for users who want to be kept updated
- Post scheduling to prepare content in advance
- User segmentation to send targeted notifications based on all sorts of user parameters
- Call-to-actions in every post to attract your users and lead them directly to purchase or upgrade
- In-app notifications to announce the most important updates with pop-ups, top bar, snippets and tooltips
Get more value from your users and your team
Self-service is especially well suited for small SaaS companies that can’t afford to cover all their bases at the same time. You won’t need a huge sales team and a skeleton crew will look like an army because automated processes can “live” without people. That translates as a higher revenue per employee (REP).
Being able to do more with fewer people means a better allocation of resources and more growth for your buck. You can then focus less on sales and more on the product itself, like in development or customer support. Every member of your team will be more involved and responsible for revenue even if their main role happens backstage.
But you won’t just be getting more revenue out of your team but also from your customers. Fewer support requests, less hand-holding, and automatic upgrades mean higher profit margins per customer too.
Googling has been a verb for some time now. We do it all the time! There have been moments when I was having a few drinks with some friends and someone asked a question that nobody could answer. Then everybody raced to their phones to find the solution.
A self-service approach to support means giving your users the tools to find the information they need to solve issues by themselves. Some examples of do-it-yourself support are:
- Anticipate your users’ possible pain points with tutorials and guides for specific issues or crafted to specific user groups.
- Create video explainers or demonstrations about how to use the product.
- Send targeted messages and notifications to remind them or inform them about upgrades, bug fixes, advanced settings, or new releases to improve feature discovery.
- Write robust knowledge bases, documentation pages, FAQs, and wikis with useful information about the product and its usage. This last point is very important and one commonly cited form of self-service support.
- Implement a chatbot with automated replies for the typical support questions. An AI driven chatbot can handle the most basic support, while your human team can focus on the most difficult issues or explanations to customers
If you want to provide your users with an FAQ page that will indeed help them to solve their problems, focus on actually useful information. Make it easily searchable and include step-by-step guides, diagrams, and other visual explanations. Try to avoid non-crucial articles like “our values are…” (that most users will ignore, sorry) and instead provide real value in the form of educational content.
British comedian Dave Gorman has a thing for strange FAQ pages filled with obviously infrequent questions. And even though he uses it for comedy material, he makes a good point when he says that an FAQ page is supposed to be like: “guys, we’re constantly being asked this and we’re going to (…) put this out there to save you the trouble of asking.” Help your users help themselves.
A self-service model is a great way for SaaS to scale revenue and achieve exponential growth without the need of a huge team. For a great way to attract, engage, upsell and cross-sell your user base, try Beamer today.