Making a new SaaS product work for your business

Liam Dunshea, 5 min read

Making a new SaaS product work for your business

SaaS (Software as a Service) was a pretty hot term in the 2010s, between all the cloud based products in the marketplace to help businesses function and the rise of Ru Paul, there has never been more SaaS or sass in the world.

As a business, you’re likely already using a SaaS product or 3, so it’s important to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.

This recipe for success is based on years of working for a SaaS company, who uses a whole suite of SaaS products, plus some scientific research at the end to keep you on your toes.

Integrate the SaaS product with the way you work

SaaS is fundamentally about providing you with a service to benefit your business. So the product needs to fill a genuine need and be incorporated into the way you work. First catering to basic needs, before unlocking value that you previously weren’t aware you needed.  

At Yarno, as our team started to grow, we needed a way to organise, track and manage our ever growing number of projects. So we decided to integrate a project management SaaS product called Asana into our ways of working.

We knew to make it a success, we needed to make it part of the way that we worked. It couldn’t be an afterthought or an add-on, it needed to be a fundamental part of the way we operated.

Within weeks we had our basic workflows into Asana to help us track and manage our project based work.

Getting the basics right is key with SaaS before you get too excited and shift your whole business a new direction. You’ll often need to walk before you can run.
For example, with Yarno, we tend to begin the journey by introducing our customers to our core offering: embed campaigns (the original Yarno campaign designed to embed and reinforce knowledge over time). Once they understand our product and we begin to understand more about their business, we will then begin to really deliver value with our additional products like bursts, video and the learning library.
The same is true of our experience with Asana. We initially used it for project based tasks, but now manage a number of other workflows and processes through it. Once the familiarity was there and the company had some power users, we were able to unlock the value we weren’t previously aware it could deliver.

Use your existing resources and expertise

Often SaaS will be less of a monumental shift in what you’re doing and more of a change in the way you do something.

For example, with a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Box, you’re still going to be storing files and sharing them with others, but now you’ve got an easy cloud based platform to help you do that across multiple devices.

Or if you’re adopting a CRM like Salesforce or Hubspot, it’s not that you weren’t previously gathering, organising and using customer information - it’s just that this data has a new home, whether it was coming from a different system, or the brains and documentation of your team.

To make your shift into using a SaaS product seamless, you should try to utilise your existing resources and expertise wherever possible. This shift in the way that you’re doing things can also serve as a great opportunity to take a step back and ask whether what you’re doing is best.

In my experience at a training company like Yarno, it’s not that people weren’t training before, it’s that we are providing a new way to deliver that training.
Those who have the most success leverage their existing resources from procedures, slide decks, trainers and old heads in the company, to help align on what training and information already exists, and can be delivered through this new training channel, Yarno.

But as I mentioned, it’s a great opportunity to take a step back and decide if what they’re currently delivering in that training is correct. Making a shift can allow for a bit of an audit.

Orchestrate a well coordinated change management campaign

As people, we’re often resistant to change. And as promised, here comes the scientific research to keep you on your toes.

When we’re replacing one product with another, there are a few things at play:

  • Loss aversion - if you’ve ever read any psychology books, particularly anything about or by Daniel Kahneman or Amos Tversky you’ll know we are risk averse by nature. We loathe the idea of losing $100 much more than we enjoy the idea of winning $100. So the idea of gaining one product feature but losing another, that can make us a little nervous
  • Status quo bias - William Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser (1988) dubbed this term that shows that people have a tendency and preference to stick with their current situation. It might be sitting in the same spot (do you have a certain chair at home?) or even failing to change our superannuation mix even as our age and risk tolerance changes. So introducing a new system can go against our deepest darkest desire: that everything stay the same, just as it is, thank you very much.
  • Fear of uncertainty - there’s plenty of science about this, or I can just ask “as a child were you ever afraid of the dark?” Uncertainty, it’ll get ya.

Overcoming our own biases

So when we make a change like introducing a SaaS product, we need to overcome the status quo bias and dispel the fear of uncertainty and loss aversion. Sounds easy right….well, not quite. But here’s a few suggestions:

  • Plan - like any change, you need to consider impacts with a range of key stakeholders. This is a key step to take internally and also with your SaaS provider (often it's at these times they will provide a Customer Success contact).
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate - communicating with a good lead time and through a variety of channels is key to making change work. Some people might see the posters in the break room, some might check their email and other might need to have a chat face-to-face, so be sure to communicate in creative ways and make it a bit of fun as well. In these communications, it’s important to address the potential losses and uncertainty of the new system.
  • Provide resources - this will help your people overcome that fear of uncertainty. So provide them with the resources in multiple places so that they can easily access them and get to them when they need to.
  • Have a pilot group if you can, who can then be advocates - before you adopt a full rollout of a SaaS product, a pilot group can be a great way to trial. If it’s a success, these pilot participants can then become advocates for the product, in turn influencing others to try it.
  • Be open to feedback - with any change, you need to listen to your people. Even the best laid plans can change in practice, so facilitate and listen to feedback so that your adoption of the product can go as well as possible.

That's right, a hop, skip, and some careful planning, and you'll be on to the next SaaS product, and revolutionising your workflow. Ah, modernity, just one piece of software from corporate utopia.

Liam Dunshea

Liam is a Yarno Customer Success king, fellow of the court (both the law and sporting kind) and can quote movies on demand (seriously, try him). He also doesn't like tea.

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