Several companies utilize SaaS (software-as-a-service) products to perform different organizational functions. As per a BetterCloud study, companies today say that SaaS apps account for 70% of their overall software usage.
The discovery of SaaS software dates back to the mid-70s. At the time, it became necessary for companies to leverage SaaS products to get a few systems onboard cost-effectively.
As the internet evolved and technology advanced with time, accessing different software solutions has become much easier. And as more and more companies make a switch to SaaS products, it has become significant to build SaaS applications well.
This post will help you explore more about SaaS product development, including:
- Benefits of SaaS app development,
- Why should you develop a SaaS product in 2023?
- Steps to develop a SaaS product,
- Things to consider while building a SaaS product,
- Effective tools in SaaS project promotion and,
- Different types of SaaS Solutions
What is a SaaS Product?
SaaS, essentially, is a solution offering users access to ready-for-use software through a mobile application or web browser. The users don’t have to install or maintain the application. They just have to rent or subscribe to it and pay money to get permission to use the application.
Stable internet connectivity is the only requisite to make the application work. Several tools we use in our day-to-day lives are SaaS-based. For example, Windows, Slack, Google Docs, Canva, Salesforce, Azure, and others.
Why Should You Develop a SaaS Product in 2023? (Top Trends)
The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 led to an acceleration in digital transformation by many companies globally.
The SaaS trends impacted by the coronavirus pandemic include higher market demand and opportunities for vertically-focused SaaS solutions.
Increasing market demand:
The pace at which businesses globally are going through a digital transformation is increasing the need for SaaS product development.
SaaS continues to be one of the biggest market segments. And the major reason behind this is the higher demand for advanced software collaboration mechanisms.
As per a report by Blissfully, the spending of small-scale businesses on SaaS app development has increased sharply.
The average 5-year expenditure of small businesses on SaaS product development increased to around USD 220,000 in 2019. And the coronavirus pandemic just boosted this trend.
With the absence of skilled IT professionals prompting increased competitive salaries, IT service companies are spiking their prices. That, in turn, is helping them increase their spending growth in SaaS through 2023-2024.
Increased opportunities for vertical SaaS solutions:
With the increased shift to cloud services, companies are considering SaaS products targeting their industry’s core points. That offers SaaS firms a chance to make industry-specific vertically-focused SaaS solutions that offer better results to narrower user groups.
These SaaS solutions also help increase customer insight and enhance data governance.
Many SaaS firms have reaped benefits from such market opportunities. For instance, G2 covered over 34,000 SaaS solutions across 745 vertically-focused SaaS categories in 2018.
What are the Steps to Developing a SaaS Product?
Building a SaaS product requires a good balance of hard work, good ideas, great optimization, and visionary thinking. Several SaaS products begin as good ideas; however, they witness changes and bumps to their roadmap that affects their launch.
Below are the nine steps to building a SaaS product that can help you achieve favorable outcomes.
Step I) Cross-Examine your idea:
Before you begin your SaaS product development process, make sure you answer some questions honestly. The first question is, ‘Do people really require my product?’
Though your friends and family might like your product idea, will a random individual on the street agree to it? Will your target user agree? Rather than focusing on what you’re developing, focus on who you’re developing this for.
Before building a SaaS product, connect with a few prospective users for R&D and ask about their pain points. You could even utilize survey tools such as ProProf’s Survey Maker and Qualaroo to collect feedback from potential users and gain insights.
Besides, it’s important to discuss the minutest detail with the company you are developing the SaaS product for, such as:
- What issue is your SaaS product solving?
- Who is your target audience?
- What factors/features differentiate your product from the competitors?
Answering these questions should help you identify any inconsistencies and weaknesses in your product idea during the early development stages. A market study is an ideal means of testing your idea and collecting useful insights into users’ unanswered needs.
Step II) Discuss Fundamental SaaS Requirements:
The foundation of building a SaaS product needs a proper plan for privacy protection, security audit, customization options, and scalability. Earlier, security was considered an afterthought in software development rather than an important foundational feature.
Users nowadays expect the safety of their sensitive data, and the current legal regulations make top security standards a must. So, depending on your clients’ and users’ needs, discuss how you can adjust your product to their particular SaaS requirements.
Finally, you’ll have to build SaaS application that responds well to the demands of a rising user base.
Step III) Plan your Budget:
It’s a good practice to estimate your budget at this stage. That’s because it’ll give you a realistic idea about the entire SaaS product development and resource planning.
Generally, the budget comprises many parts: design, programming, business analysis, customer support, maintenance, and marketing.
Depending on these aspects, the time required to build SaaS application will vary. Ideally, it can take around ten months to develop a SaaS app in a proper SaaS app development company. However, most SaaS MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) can take up to six months for development.
Besides, decide your budget allocation and source carefully. Don’t avoid considering possible challenges and setbacks that might affect your finances later. If this happens, you’ll have to search for new finance sources amid the development, leading to unwanted delays.
Step IV) Decide your Monetization Strategy and Model:
The pricing strategy and model can break or make your SaaS product. If your pricing model isn’t adjusted per the target user’s habits and needs, you’ll not be able to gain customers.
Below are some of the commonly used SaaS product pricing models:
- Freemium — provides a free-of-charge version with few features and encourages an upgrade to a paid plan with additional features.
- Pricing per feature — provides different kinds of features at different prices.
- Flat rate — provides a set of features or the complete product at one price, generally paid monthly or yearly.
- Pricing per user — provides a set of features or the complete product charged per active user.
- Usage-based pricing — this model lets users pay as per their product usage.
The product pricing model is an aspect that is planned for a longer term. Meanwhile, in the short run, the correct pricing strategy will help you settle in the market comfortably.
Some of the commonly used SaaS product pricing strategies are:
- Free trial
- Premium pricing — a common pricing tactic for exclusive brands.
- Promotional pricing — changing the price from high to low as the software/product gets exclusivity and credibility.
- Market penetration — gaining the attention of users with a low initial price.
Selecting the correct pricing strategy and model depends on your target audience, product, long/short-term plans, and other factors. Besides the pricing plan, it is significant to use the correct SEO strategy, marketing strategy, paid acquisition, and social media tactic.
Step V) Choose The Technology Stack:
The next step is to identify how your SaaS product will be developed. Here, you will have to determine the technologies required for your SaaS product development. A feature-rich and efficient technology stack helps your SaaS product sustain longer and remain scalable.
Here are some of the important technologies you should include in your technology stack:
One can use frameworks like Vue.js, Angular, or React to develop the UI of your product your users will interact with.
You will need a powerful back-end to add events for your SaaS product’s front end. one can create such a back-end with the help of programming languages such as Django or Node.js.
You could choose a consistent and reliable database for the SaaS product based on different factors like NoSQL, PostgreSQL, or MySQL.
- Hosting provider:
After your SaaS product is developed, you must use reliable cloud hosting services to deploy your app online.
Step VI) Emphasize MVP (Minimum Viable Product):
Finally, it’s time to develop a basic model of your SaaS product- MVP or Minimum Viable Product. MVP is a variant of a SaaS product that includes basic features to analyze its initial performance per user feedback.
In MVP, feature prioritization plays an essential role. Basically, MVP helps lower implementation cost, quickens the product’s market release, and tests the demand.
The sooner the users can show or tell you how they find the product, the more the chances of success.
A good way to get a better outline of your MVP is by defining:
- User persona
- The action they’ll have to take to address their issue using your product
- The solution to the issue
These factors will guide you on what features you should include in your Minimum Viable Product.
Step VII) Test and Iterate:
Once your MVP is created, it will need testing with the early adopters. During the testing phase, you get to determine two things:
- Whether your product idea is viable
- Whether implementing your idea is fair enough for the users
In this stage, it’s important to spend time communicating with the users. The higher the number of user feedback, the more insight you’ll get about enhancing your SaaS product.
Step VIII) Build the Final SaaS Product:
We have arrived at the most-awaited stage, i.e., developing our final SaaS product.
By now, you might have:
- A clear idea of what you aim to achieve.
- Selected a pricing model and strategy.
- Chosen the right technology stack for your SaaS product.
- Customer feedback through MVP and testing.
So, what next? Now’s the time to take action, which, here, implies creating the final product based on these factors.
Step IX) Maintenance and Further Development:
After the SaaS product is rolled out, a new story of maintenance and further development begins. The fact is, you can never actually put a stop to iterating your developed product, especially SaaS apps.
The SaaS product maintenance should include:
- Looking for new growth opportunities
- Seeking unique opportunities
- Onboarding new customers and growing your target audience
- Emphasizing customer feedback
- Identifying and fixing errors or bugs
Factors to Keep in Mind While Building a SaaS Product:
What should you keep in mind before you build SaaS application? What’s the correct approach to follow? Building your SaaS product could be more challenging if you don’t follow the procedures listed below. Let’s take a look.
Don’t ignore MVP:
Many people wonder why developing an MVP is important when they can simply develop the complete product instead. The reason behind this is- it lowers the risk.
Launching an MVP containing the basic features of your product lets you receive user feedback about its UI and performance. That helps you to understand what improvisations you need to do so that the final product meets user expectations.
Try to know more about your user needs:
Several SaaS products fail as they don’t match the needs and thoughts of the customers. Hence, before making any real developments, you need to understand your user and their wants/needs well.
Use the Agile approach:
The Agile approach to Saas product development process and management delivers more value to your customers faster. It involves product development approaches that employ continuous planning, improvement, execution, and evaluation of the project throughout its lifecycle.
You can create your product using this approach if you think your project’s core needs a methodology as Agile implemented.
Also Read : What is SaaS? FAQs About SaaS
So, is using Agile not the right choice for building a SaaS product? No, it’s good to use Agile. However, what’s important is choosing and implementing the correct Agile development method in your SaaS product.
What Factors Affect the Cost for SaaS Product Development?
So, how much does developing a SaaS product cost? Sadly, we cannot say how much exactly you need to spend on SaaS product development process, as it’s fluctuating and complex.
The cost of building a SaaS product depends on many vital factors, such as the following:
UI and UX design:
The UX (user experience) plays a crucial role in making a pro-user impression of your SaaS app. The more dynamic and interactive your UI (user interface) is, the more user engagement your app will receive.
Ensure that you hire expert designing professionals who can understand your customer needs more efficiently and implement the right prerequisites.
|Region of SaaS app development||Hourly rate range|
|North America (the USA, Canada)||$40 – $250|
|Western Europe||$32 – $120|
|Eastern Europe||$32 – $85|
|South America||$25 – $80|
|Southeast Asia||$16 – $55|
The entire existence of a SaaS product is based upon getting a dedicated spot on a server. Choosing the correct server will decide your SaaS product’s efficiency, sustainability, security, and effectiveness.
The users can avail of your product services via a hosting provider’s server. Hence, it’s crucial to consider the varying demands of the hosting provider to establish a stable connection. That, further, would help you save a significant share of the money.
Product monitoring and maintaining:
There are several post-development SaaS product expenditures. As SaaS products are cloud-based, keeping track of all the errands becomes all the more important.
Serving your users remotely using a SaaS product can be difficult at times. Hence, constant monitoring and maintenance are crucial. While this may cost you a little more, it’s important for sustaining your product for the long term.
Product development and testing:
The cost of the resources you recruit to create and test your SaaS product can vary basis the technology stack, project complexity, and other factors.
Therefore, it becomes crucial to hire a professional developer who understands your project goals and makes the entire process worthwhile.
Which are the Effective Ways to Promote a SaaS Project?
- Content marketing
- SEO (Search engine Optimization)
- Product trials
- Google AdWords
- Referral Marketing
Content marketing isn’t new and is used globally to create a brand image, gain visitors, and convert them into loyal customers.
The key benefit of this marketing technique is content keeps providing continuous leads, sans any extra investment. Meanwhile, other marketing methods, like PPC (pay-per-click) ads, do not provide leads after you stop paying for them.
Do not forget to implement SEO, as that’s what helps users discover your content on search engines.
When we speak of PPC, it is one of the widely used marketing strategies because it delivers targeted traffic to your app and is scalable. Retargeting, done alongside PPC, would help convert hard-earned leads into customers.
Nothing’s better than getting the chance to try a product for free before purchasing. That’s why Product Trials should be used as an opportunity to have your potential customers estimate your product’s value. However, just providing access will not be enough.
You need to ensure that the users are happy with your Saas product development. Hence, support and onboarding both should also be offered from your side.
When we speak of SaaS, co-marketing might prove to be extremely effective. Generally, companies that plan on collaborating have either shared approaches or products that complement each other. Such combined efforts have the potential to offer a high outcome.
What are the Different Types of SaaS Solutions?
Many SaaS products are already available in the market, with each product having its own usage, objectives, and niche. But there are certain fundamental structures that each SaaS product possesses, which help them meet the needs of their users.
Let’s have a look at the different types of SaaS solutions:
The main purpose of such SaaS solutions is to ensure a flawless and smooth operation of remote processes. Some examples of Collaborative SaaS products are Google Drive, Google Docs, YouTube, One Drive, etc.
This SaaS solution focuses on complicated apps of the same niche, like CRM (customer relationship management), HRM (human resource management), etc.
Management & Enabling Tools:
Such SaaS products are designed and created to be deployed on a dedicated network for monitoring and tracking information. A few examples of these SaaS products might include POS (Point of Sale) software, Google Analytics, etc.
The SaaS solutions mentioned above can include:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Project Management Software
- Email marketing Software
- Accounting Software
What are the Benefits of SaaS App Development?
SaaS product development has helped product/software developers and users across the realm. The SaaS product development process offers some important business-oriented benefits, which are as follows:
Faster development speed:
Many SaaS product elements can be pre-configured or installed, resulting in faster and simpler development of code.
Due to its unconventional way of approaching product development as well as delivery, SaaS doesn’t indulge in numerous essential challenges that existed in a software development company earlier.
With an easier method, the price of building a SaaS product has become much more affordable.
Scalability and third-party support:
SaaS product development has gained popularity for its unique features and scalability. Scalability is one of the major capabilities of every SaaS software, alongside the support it gets from several third-party apps.
In contrast to conventional software products, implementing SaaS products is relatively easier due to their application-oriented functionalities and POC (proof-of-concept).
So, this was our best attempt to give you a clear and comprehensive insight into SaaS product development. However, don’t forget that this development process will eventually need a lot of improvisation and creativity to be a success.
Hence, always be open to trying new ideas, overcoming challenges, and team collaborations. Use them as fuel for the growth of your SaaS product.
Besides, the SaaS market, at present, is expanding at a rapid pace. More people are getting acquainted with the opportunities that SaaS products offer. In fact, both small- and medium-scale businesses have started acknowledging that SaaS is a good fit for their requirements.
As per Statista, the overall global SaaS market size is expected to hit USD 208bn by 2023. Therefore, joining the evolving SaaS market now might bring you incredible prospects and benefits in the long run.