A SaaS Buyer’s Journey

A few years ago, when researching a new project management software tool for Bop Design, I did what most prospective buyers do. I came up with a list of requirements, searched the web for top project management tools and talked to other people in the industry. This resulted in a very short list of contenders—one of which swept me away with their beautiful, compelling website and charismatic sales people. Finally, a tool that was going to solve all of my project management woes!

I sign a contract and start the promised “3-week implementation” period. Fast forward three months later, this expensive software is still not being utilized and my staff being trained to use it, hates it. The user-interface (UI) is confusing and the user-experience (UX) is even worse.

Unmet Expectations

So, what went wrong? The hype created in the sales process and cutting edge website, didn’t match the software experience. This is a perfect example of a poorly executed brand promise.

Your brand is more than your logo. It’s the expectations and experience a buyer has about your products and services, from the first touch point to sales engagement to user experience to customer service. A good brand aligns marketing and delivery. Let’s take Starbucks as an example. We are sold the idea of community, seasonal beverages, and fair-trade. When I go to Starbucks that’s exactly what I get. I don’t get unfriendly people, a static menu, and a lack of social-consciousness.

What Makes a Good SaaS Brand?

In this day and age where SaaS products come and go and buyers are more impatient than ever, there are several things that can make a SaaS brand get noticed and stand the test of time including:

  • A tool that solves legitimate problems
  • Clean and intuitive UI & UX
  • A tool that doesn’t require months, weeks or even days to learn
  • High adoption rates (The easier it is to use, the higher that adoption rate. No one is going to pay for software they don’t use for very long.)
  • Accurate and honest marketing

Below are 3 SaaS brands that are getting it right:

Basecamp

How they are getting it right

  • Basecamp’s website and their software have a consistent look and feel.
  • The home page clearly spells out use cases and showcases social proof.
  • The “How it Works” page is accurate and looks exactly like their software.
  • The software is incredibly easy to use, and that’s saying something for a project management tool.
  • It requires almost no training.
  • It has had a tremendously high adoption rate.
  • The visionaries at Basecamp are very focused on improving their flagship product and aren’t getting distracted by continually trying to create spin-off products to expand their market.

Slack

How they are getting it right

  • What seems like overnight, Slack has become an indispensable tool in many workplaces.
  • The user-experience on desktop and mobile is exactly the same.
  • While most chat apps are very easy to use, even Slack’s more advanced features are intuitive and require no training.
  • Their visual brand is super consistent—from their ads and commercials to website and software, it’s a consistent look that is undeniably Slack.
  • The app has extremely high adoption rates.

Quickbooks

How they are getting it right

  • Quickbooks has been around forever (in software years anyway) and has adapted as the market has changed.
  • Their new SaaS platform has made the software incredibly easier to use.
  • With the help of my CPA, I was able to learn what I need in Quickbooks in less than an hour.
  • The UI is very intuitive, visually appealing and consistent with their marketing.
  • Their website displays social proof and honestly speaks to their target market of small businesses.

The Takeaway

With the marketing of a SaaS product, make sure your company can live up to its brand promise. This will translate into long-term, happy customers.