9 Reasons I Won’t Buy Your SaaS Tool

9 Reasons I Won’t Buy Your SaaS Tool

I am a tool addict, I want to play with every SaaS tool out there and I try as many as possible (seriously, I’ll demo anything).

I inspect the features, see what is possible, look for use cases and check out integration opportunities for business processes.

How We Grew Inbound.org to 154k Members

How We Grew Inbound.org to 154k Members

What does it take to build a thriving community?
How do you get people to come back on a regular basis?
And what mishaps are there you can learn from?
Perhaps my time as a community manager with Inbound.org will give you some insight.

50+ Growth Resources for Startups (Updated)

50+ Growth Resources for Startups (Updated)

There are dozens of guides for startups to reference when they are researching different aspects of growth. But, it isn’t always easy to find them.

I searched with multiple tools to find as many as I could, for this post. As I find more I’ll add them in.

I’ve found calculators, tools, spreadsheets, and more, with the following topics covered; onboarding, bootstrapping, customer success, churn, retention, pricing, business model, user experience, blog, growth, marketing, sales, and various. I hope you find this useful.

For starters let’s talk about the Growth specific guides:

Growth

Rational Growth by Andrew Chen – Free, No signup- Here, Andrew Chen talks about the frameworks, questions, and thought processes you need to build a product with millions of users. The visuals are helpful, the focus on using spreadsheets is refreshing, and you walk away with a real feel of what is needed to make growth happen.

The Scientific Method: How to Design & Track Viral Growth Experiments by Brian Balfour– Slideshare- Why would you care if you are designing and tracking growth experiments correctly? Well, because the human brain has a limit to how much it can remember accurately. So, follow Brian’s suggestions and always have a resource to refer to with future teams and employees.

The Data-Driven Guide to Growing Your SaaS Company by HubSpot– This guide is about establishing sustainable and measurable growth. It includes the initial information a new SaaS founder or marketer would need, and talks about finding growth and scaling it for success.

Ultimate Guide to Growth Stage Pricing By Open View Partners– These guys know pricing and will help you understand the nuances of a pricing strategy in the growth stage. This is powerful information that will help you optimize your MRR while figuring out what your users will pay and how to get them to pay the highest prices.

SaaS Marketing Essentials 3 Chapters by Ryan Battles– If you are at all new to SaaS marketing and growth, Ryan Battles book is a foundational piece that will help you take off running with your newest project. Here you can get the first 3 chapters for free.

The Definitive Guide to SaaS Marketing by New Breed Marketing– This lengthy guide was written to help you get growth moving through your marketing efforts. It includes the basics of metrics, goals, and budgeting while discussing tactics, templates, and techniques for marketing your SaaS company.

Essential Guide to Customer Journey and Lifecycle by GainsightFull Guide On Site- An often overlooked aspect of growth, though not by majorly successful companies, is Customer Success. In this guide by Gainsight, the customer journey and lifecycle is discussed. While it seems this sort of thing is for corporations, these are exactly the types of things that Andrew Chen considers when working on growth, as you’ll see in the guide at the top of this list.

Strategic Marketing Tactics for SaaS Companies by Inturact– This guide by Katy Katz focuses specifically on content marketing for SaaS companies, but it doesn’t stop there, it includes the information you need to target customers and promote content, then follow up by keeping your users happy. Very useful for content marketers.

Scaling Personalization for Behavior-Based Trigger Marketing by BlueShift– In this guide by BlueShift you’ll learn about marketing based on behavior. As technology continues to impact marketing we are able to get minutely specific about who and when we share a message. Learn how to use your trigger marketing opportunities to get the highest number of conversions.

Lifecycle Marketing by Retention Science– Lifecyle marketing might sound like a highly specific, almost boring approach to marketing but it has several implications for growth. One of the things I’ve focused on for years is lifecycle marketing, and you’ll find numerous points of interest in this guide, that will impact your growth.

Growth Marketer’s Guide to Customer Engagement by BlueShift– Another guide by BlueShift, this one helps you focus on your relationship with your clients and using it to engage them, market to them, and increase revenue.

SaaS Grader by New Breed Marketing– This tool helps you figure out some of your more difficult metrics and explains the implications of each KPI. You do have to enter your information, but it’s very helpful if you aren’t already tracking on a tool like Chart Mogul.

Free Trial Conversion Rate & Cohort Analysis Template by New Breed Marketing– A spreadsheet template that analyzes your free trial conversion rate, and provides cohort analysis. Your cohort analysis will reveal what audiences you can provide better marketing experiences for, and help you further understand your personas’ needs.

The Epic Guide to Bootstrapping A SaaS From Scratch– Perhaps one of my favorite topics around growth is bootstrapping. I just have to respect someone who wants to build their startup and product on their own terms. This is a blog post, and the creator is writing a book right now for others who want to do this. I love the sense of traditional entrepreneurship in bootstrapping, I hope you enjoy the post.

SaaS Sales

You can’t talk about growth without also including sales, a major path to growth, though one that can be more difficult to scale. Either way, these guides are a couple of my favorites for advice to startups and SaaS companies looking to optimize their sales processes.

Ultimate Guide SaaS Sales 31 things you need to know about selling SaaS by Steli Efti at Close.io. First of all, Close.io is a top blog for SaaS Sales, and Steli knows what he is talking about. Read through their backlog of blog posts and this guide to find pieces of information that will no doubt help your company grow.

My Favorite Startup & Growth Blogs

ProfitWell Blog– Let’s talk about your churn and MRR optimization. ProfitWell runs experiments, works with clients, and shares what they learn about improving profits at startups and SaaS companies. You’ll love Why Annual Plans Are Crucial for Reducing Churn.

What Users Do & Why Blog– I like this blog because it talks about user experience, something that is still a relatively new topic. Similar to my blog post on Inbound.org 9 Reasons I Won’t Buy Your SaaS Tool, the posts on What Users Do help you understand your market better so you can optimize their experience and revenue.

Tomasz Tunguz– A partner at Redpoint and the co-author of ‘Winning With Data’. Tomasz is a venture capitalist that writes blog posts every day about startups and does a great job of using data.

Brian Balfourformerly Growth at HubSpot, Brian has years of experience and writes monthly essays teaching about growth frameworks and the other processes needed to see extensive user success.

Jason Cohen– A Smart Bear might be my newest and most favorite startup blog. While I’ve heard of him before, I didn’t take the time to go back through his old posts and fall in love with how he shares. This is a great blog and I look forward to new posts.

First Round Review– If you go through the posts here you’ll find a lot of interviews and stories of founders and startups and their successes and failures. It’s a treasure trove of education from some of the biggest companies to some of the fastest growing.

Alex Turnbull on Groove’s Journey to 100k- Think of these posts as over-the-shoulder pieces that fully explain what it’s like to grow a SaaS startup. Great content by a dedicated team who really wants to help others be successful.

Various/ Miscellaneous

Cohort AnalysisA collection of tools that explain cohort analysis and how to use the information obtained to improve marketing and churn.

Understanding and Managing Subscription Businesses by Recurly– An informative guide that gives founders a look at the metrics they need to track and a great deal of information on identifying and fixing churn.

The SaaS CEO’s Guide to Happier Customers by Drift– Drift is killing growth and one of the reasons why is their focus on keeping customers happy. This is customer success and growth at its best and something we can all learn from. Check out my piece to 29 Growth Lessons from Drift.

SaaStr Academy-  Learn anything you need to about running a SaaS startup at SaaStr Academy, but this link will take you straight to their growth stage section where you can learn about founder mistakes, raising funds, and tips to growth 10-20% faster.

How to Nail Your SaaS Trial by Autopilot– Once you already have people in a trial, it’s much easier to convert them to a paying customer, right? Not so fast! In this guide by Autopilot they take you through the necessary steps to make sure you convert as many of your trial users as possible. Having gone through a trial with them I can attest to their helpfulness and passion to convert.

Creating Successful SaaS Products by Ramen– Many people launch their product or service without considering whether it will sell. Here the team at Ramen help you consider successful SaaS products and how you can emulate their achievements.

The Essential SaaS Metrics Guide by SaaS Metrics– An analytics guide to the metrics of importance at any SaaS company, this has been put together by a highly knowledgeable expert in SaaS analytics and we can all learn a thing or two about SaaS metrics here.

More Resources for Startups:

Onboarding Resources

Customer Success

Churn Guides

Retention Resources

Pricing

Business Model

User Experience

Improve Churn – 8 Ways to Over Deliver On User Expectations

Improve Churn – 8 Ways to Over Deliver On User Expectations

Over the years I’ve analyzed hundreds of tools to see how they will help businesses. From this experience, I’ve developed a sense of what B2B buyers need to be successful with a product.

I hope you’ll see these things from a customer’s point of view and they will help you preemptively reduce churn.

Let’s get started…

Help Me Succeed Quickly (Time to WOW)

I purchased your tool to solve a problem I have. You should do this as quickly as possible. I’ll accept that you need details to personalize my account if you present a profile form, but this should feed into providing me with a better experience, not just helping your additional business goals. When I reach success with your tool, I’ll be satisfied with my purchase and likely to be a loyal customer. Appcues did a post about shortening your time to WOW where they also talked about the importance of this idea. How to do this: Answer these two questions and then work with your developers to make success a primary goal in your tool.

  1. What is the goal?
  2. How quickly can we help the user accomplish the first steps to this goal?

For a CRM I need to be organized. I need to import all of my information quickly, and if your platform automates any features such as highlighting opportunities for sales, that should be accessible on my dashboard. A SaaS Doing This Right: Contentmarketer.io (a former tool by Sujan Patel) immediately lets you enter a blog post to see who has shared a link. Very quickly I see how the tool works and what it does for me, now I can use this information for my business.

Concise & Immediate Onboarding

Layovers or onboarding wizards should be simple and point out the few things I need to know to get started. Onboarding should be short, the user wants to get started. At most offer 2-4 slides in a wizard and let them be done.

Do not give me a walkthrough of every feature you offer, this is not the time for that. A new user needs to see the promise you’ve offered in action as quickly as possible to seed their interest for future usage.

A SaaS Doing This Right: Ramen.is

Ramen quickly surveys the new user and directs them to the important aspects of their product. I would recommend using a wizard from Chameleon and making a slide of each section of the onboarding process.

 

Simple and Thoughtful Navigation

While onboarding should offer the initial information a user needs to get started, navigation also plays a major role.

For instance, don’t use fancy descriptions (like you see in Contactually’s teardown) for starting a project or task, use language that makes sense.

A SaaS Doing This Well: Close.io

Close brings users to an initial/example message from CEO Steli Efti and they immediately understand what they are looking at.

By looking at the screen a user quickly acclimates to the language on the platform and gets to work, because it makes sense. You can learn more about Close in my site teardown of their marketing.

 

Delayed and Useful Onboarding

Instead use in-app tools like Ramen or  Pendo.io (whose marketing I recently analyzed) to share those features with me through in-app messaging.

It’s great if the user can easily make their way around the tool, but let’s be honest, they will also need  messages about not-so-obvious features.

Onboarding should last up to a couple of weeks. This doesn’t necessarily require a daily email but keep reminding people of the opportunities to fix their pain by using your tool, especially if there is a free trial.

Regularly, over several weeks of time, you can also offer features that haven’t used or optimized. A decent installation of Mixpanel with an integration of Intercom will make this easy. However, keep personas in mind when arranging these workflows so that users get highly personalized and relevant information.

A SaaS Doing This Right: Quuu.co Is a tool that automatically shares hand curated content to your social media accounts, helping you stay relevant without a lot of time invested into finding pieces to read.

Three days after signing up the following email is sent. This is a great example of timely email onboarding where they include tips on the best way to use Buffer with Quuu’s curation.

 

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Reliability, Uptime & Speed

As a customer of paid tools, features should work flawlessly (unless you are in beta). When problems do arise users expect an apology and estimate of downtime so they can schedule accordingly.

In general, paid beta users are a bit more patient but a product should always offer realistic uptimes. A post by StatusCast helps you see how this can cause reputation damage with customers.

Product Updates

Updates mean more value for users so they are usually acceptable, but it’s good to offer a heads-up about upcoming maintenance. Additionally, give people in-depth information about how to use new features, so they can optimize their performance.

A SaaS Doing This Right: Trello does this beautifully on their blog with an in-app tool tip. The notification is easy to see, yet non-intrusive and adequate information is always available.

Another Example: Hotjar

Below is an email from the VP of Marketing at Hotjar. This shows how they are improving their product to continually help users understand their customers (a goal of the product).

Accessible Tutorials & Knowledgebase

Users should have access to a library of tool resources. This includes videos, guides, tutorials, and a knowledge base. It’s best to have access to everything but feel free to remind me of the popular reasons to visit. Interestingly, Nuance study revealed that 67% of the people surveyed would rather use self-support options instead of talking to someone to get help.

Example: Convert

They have a support knowledge base with several topics to help you get started.

Convenient Access

People are on the go and need access to the tool everywhere. During email onboaring remind users about apps for other devices.

It’s nice to offer integrations they can use with the tool, as well. And if you have a browser extension make that known so people can get the most of their investment.

Example: Buffer

Buffer almost immediately introduces a new user to their browser extension. Installing the extension makes people more likely to become long time users of an app, and initiates the Hook model by Nir Eyal.

While they do this via email, an in-app message could be more effective. Here is their email about the extension.

Customer Support & Success

Highly important in today’s Customer Success Era you’ll want to ensure the success and useful support of every user. Obviously, a paid user should get preference in the support queue.

You should also have a system in place that allows for quick support answers, like Groove. Realistically, people want responses in minutes, but it is understandable to take up to a business day.

Example: HubSpot

HubSpot does a great job of responding to support very quickly. At inbound.org many community members shared their support expectations from HubSpot. They put the bar high, and their users definitely appreciate it.

Summary:

By better understanding what is expected of SaaS users you can provide solutions for their biggest pain points and offer customer success that surpasses others on the market.

Let me analyze your tool and marketing to help you better align your product and message with buyers’ needs and expectations, order your analysis today.

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Flexbooker Onboarding SaaS Analysis

Flexbooker Onboarding SaaS Analysis

Interested in your whether your onboarding is sufficient? Check out this analysis to see how yours compares and then get your free analysis here.

I’ll start with their homepage because the customer experience begins with your marketing, or however the to-be user finds your company.

In the first clip of the homepage we have 4 elements; headline, features list, screenshot image, and calls to action.

Headline

The headline doesn’t portray anything unique as there are many tools that can handle online booking. “The beautifully simple, yet powerful, way to accept online bookings from your website” leaves something to be desired from the copy aspect. I recommend: Automate Online Bookings With The Hottest Features Available.

Feature List

The features list included has the potential to be a helpful component of conversions, but we must remember that benefits sell, not features, so all of these features should be converted to benefits of the product.

For instance:

  • Allow visitors to reserve slots from your site.
  • Collect payments as they book their slot.
  • Automatically send appointment reminders.

Calls To Action

“30 day Free Trial” isn’t actually a call to action, it isn’t telling the visitor to sign up now. Every intricacy in your webpage can make a difference in the number of people who follow through. A call to action must encourage people to do something.

Generic but acceptable calls to action include:

  • Get Your Free 30 Day Trial
  • Get A Free 30-Day Trial
  • Sign up for your 30 day trial
  • Sign up now
  • Get started

Even these I like to see improved to include the benefits users get from the product, such as:

  • Automate Your Bookings
  • Increase Reservations with a 30 Day Trial

I’m confused in this next section why Flexbooker needed yet another CTA button so soon after the previous two. This is a great place to include social proof, a testimonial, or another benefit. They might have moved the section down the page to place the CTA before the blue section below, however, the following image shows they might not need the additional CTA at all.

This sign-up form feels premature. I’m used to seeing it after clicking a call to action. I feel the homepage is lacking a lot of information and copy and adding this is too early.

The call to action/headline is acceptable though could be written better to increase conversions.

I initially thought the blue section was an FAQ area, but it isn’t. The “Why Choose Flexbooker?” section should be more prominent and more than that, it should be a benefit. If you look at my article on the most important aspects of the homepage, you’ll see where I talk about all headlines and subheadlines being benefit driven.

In this blue section, we also see Social Proof. This is arguably some of the most important information on the homepage and it is buried and designed to be glazed over easily by the visitor.

I encourage companies to put their social proof near the top of the site, above the fold if space allows. It should be designed with quotes if possible, and images or logos, to stand out.

Onboarding

 

I signed up on the homepage to get a free trial of Flexbooker. This image above and the one below were on the next page. I thought this was actually a nice, quick, way of getting more information.

 

 

I honestly don’t understand the point of this FAQ after the sign-up forms. Most of this information could easily be displayed above the first onboarding form as part of the headline description.

 

Next, we have a welcome screen. I think this should come before the additional form above. Additionally, this makes me feel like I’m done with onboarding, and as you’ll see below that isn’t the case.

Now I am being asked to go through a wizard, of course, I will follow along with it, but I don’t fully understand why Flexbooker is following this confusing roadmap for onboarding.

The next screen (above) is asking me to fill in my services. I think they could have done a better job of explaining how the software works and what was going to happen during onboarding to help me know what to expect.

I ran into a problem with this form, it wouldn’t allow me to have 0 for the minutes field, so I had to add 5 to the field, which can mess up other reservations.

I had no staff to add so that was skipped, however it just asked for a name and type of account- owner or user.

Last I was asked to decide on my appointment times, I could pick days and open time frames to choose the reservations from.

After this, I was left with an empty schedule and there was nothing else to do. No code to add this to my website, no calendar link to share for my site, nothing. Just the following image:

I feel there is a lot that should be added to Flexbooker’s onboarding and their homepage. But, I have received multiple messages since signing up to help with further retention. I believe that with the same care on the site, they could improve their user acquisition and experience.

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