How to Learn from Other SaaS and Leaders
SaaS is often on the cutting edge of the latest technologies, sales, and marketing tactics. SaaS leads other industries in best practices as it becomes more central to how many other businesses run. For example, many websites now resemble SaaS websites in “productizing” services and packages. SaaS has really tried and tested some of the best growth hacks and sales and marketing practices. There is so much to learn from previous and current SaaS success stories and leaders and apply to your own SaaS development, sales, and marketing.
Here are some ways you can learn from other Saas and leaders:
Networking and events.
The SaaS community is very good about sharing knowledge and keeping “what’s next” at the forefront with events year-round. These are both good for business in terms of networking for partnerships, fundraising, etc. but also for the educational experience. Many leaders from top companies are asked to speak at SaaS events and share the latest on their company practices, give their perspective on trends and changes in the market, and share new technological developments. There are often plenty of seminars, workshops, and speeches to attend where you can learn firsthand from these leaders and interact with them. There are leaders from the development side, marketing, sales, the c-suite, etc. all sharing insights on their roles in SaaS. These events are usually where companies present what’s next for them so by being present your team can get a leg up on what’s next. You can also look at what SaaS across industries are doing and look at ways you can apply the practices and technologies that are working for them to your own SaaS.
Similar to the in-person experience of seminars and workshops, mentoring opportunities one on one with SaaS leaders who have been there done that are great experiences and support systems especially for new SaaS leaders. There is a lot to learn from those who have already made mistakes and discovered better ways to do things. Oftentimes, you can get in touch with potential mentors at events and networking opportunities best. That connection is best built in person at first. It’s good to pick someone who will have experience both in your role as well as within the type of SaaS you’re going into. Mentors can help you in a networking sense as well and get you in touch with the right people to know in your niche that can help build the bridges and partnerships you may need in the future. The stronger your networking, the better opportunities you will have access to and the more you will learn from those in the industry. All leaders within your team can learn from mentors who have expertise in different areas as well and it’s important: development, marketing, sales, HR, finance, and top-level leadership.
Engaging in conversations in online channels.
Aside from in-person opportunities, there are plenty of online resources you can use to reach SaaS leaders and experts. There are forums online for all different focuses within SaaS where experts and teams share what is working for them and you can directly engage. The Saas community is quite active online with sharing information. Forums like Y-combinator, Quora, Medium, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook groups are places to informally engage with other SaaS developers, managers, sales people, marketing leaders, and finance leaders to learn more about what other SaaS teams are doing and how they are responding to current events and trends. SaaS teams and leaders often share their personal opinions and experiences on forums like this or share blogs from their teams on what’s next for their products. SaaS is particularly good at content creation. There is a lot of information out there in public forums like these.
Engaging with (or becoming) thought leaders.
Within SaaS and tech in general, there is a big emphasis on the importance of thought leadership as SaaS and tech are at the forefront and influence the direction of a lot of industries. Leaders at top-performing SaaS companies are called to share their insights and what they’ve found that works with the community and for other leaders. Some larger tech examples are Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk who are closely watched in what they share about their practices. Some SaaS specific examples include Evan Williams from Twitter and Brian Halligan from Hubspot. Many thought leaders like these regularly blog through their companies’ sites and share their opinions via public platforms like Twitter and Medium. Many leaders will also share how they approach more internal concepts like billing, taxes, HR, culture building, etc. It’s also good for SaaS companies to focus on developing thought leadership through sharing their experience. It brings notoriety and authority to your product and offers an opportunity to connect and engage with other teams and potential customers in the online space.
Watch for growth hacking tips.
You’ve probably heard the term “growth hacking” associated with SaaS marketing and sales. It’s essentially the strategy of using little tricks and strategies to leverage your product and other software to bring further awareness to your product. It’s an important part of product marketing. Learn more about product marketing here. Growth hacking includes ideas like using new product discovery platforms like AppSumo and Product Hunt to release and get feedback from your new product. Using tags on your product like “Sent from my iPhone” to get your brand name to new users using your current growing user base. SaaS companies are particularly good at developing these strategies. You can watch other SaaS companies see what they are doing to organically grow through new leads and conversions. You can go through the sign-up and onboarding processes of other products to look for some of these little strategies. Some companies even share these in their company blogs. There are plenty of ways you can adapt these strategies to your own product and better them. We’ve actually shared a few of the ways we used to grow Beamer in a blog post on our site you can check out here.
Sign up for newsletters and watch others’ sites and social pages.
A great way to learn from other companies and what is working for them, as mentioned above, is to actually go through their processes and learn from a user’s perspective. SaaS teams and leaders often share a lot through their newsletters and blogs. Signing up with top Saas companies can keep you in the loop as to what these companies are working on and releasing. It’s good to keep up with what SaaS companies are working on in terms of new features, new services, new pricing tactics, content marketing tips, sales and marketing tactics. You can get a lot of this from a company’s email and the social media of the company and its leaders. In this case, LinkedIn and Twitter are great for this. It’s also good to check out their websites and social media presence regularly for changes in the way they market their products, the branding and messaging around their products, and what they’re adding on next can give you ideas on what your team can do to improve your product development, marketing, and sales. If you can sign up for push notifications from companies, which is very common now, then do that as well. You can also watch demos and regularly sign up for SaaS products to take a look at new features and get ideas on what other companies are doing to boost engagement with their users. Many SaaS companies use push notifications, new product updates, and more on their sites and within their products.
“If you say interesting stuff on twitter, people will follow you there. I think Jim Caruso, from MediaFirst, does this well. He’s been at every single technology event I’ve ever attended in Atlanta for the last 10 years. He knows what’s going on. He’s a technology geek at heart… And he’s on twitter, tweeting about local startups, global technology news, and of course, his own clients. I follow him on twitter.”
— Ben Chestnut, Co-Founder & CEO at Mailchimp
We push notifications and share updates within our site and product with Beamer. Beamer is a changelog that sits within your app or website where you can share updates on new features, sales, news, new blogs, etc. with users and leads. You can add photos, videos, GIFs, and CTAs to make them more engaging. You can enable push notifications to bring users back to your product and site every time you send a new update. You can now also sign up for NPS by Beamer to track your Net Promoter Score with your product for better growth hacking. Many SaaS companies are using Beamer now to get in touch with users and boost engagement easily.
SaaS is often a pioneer in marketing, sales, user experience, and much more as SaaS supports so many businesses and teams. There is a lot to learn from existing SaaS companies who are succeeding and leaders who are willing to share what they know and what is next to help your company be a success.