When is the right time to Scale your SaaS startup ?
I believe there are two ways to start a startup.
1- You are a domain expert, know there is a problem, build a solution for a client, who is your first customer. You satisfy their needs, and then move and recruit another customer, and then another, and then another. Once you learn how to on board a few customers and identify issues in the on boarding process and make sure all is smooth, then you should look how to scale.
2- You come up with an idea, you validate that idea with the market, pivot, pivot until you get it right. On board a few customers, see how they use it, modify what needs to be modified and then after learning how your customer success team on boards customers, you then scale.
So once you are ready, scaling is about business model, pricing, users, sales, distribution and channels.
1- Working backwards, you try to understand which channels and distribution you want to use in order to scale your product.
2- You introduce an inbound activity by allowing your content team, expert around the domain, to create educational content on social media. This content is key for you to build loyalty and trust with a customer base. And make sure to build heroes in organizations that are targeted with this content.
3- Your inbound activity should be managed appropriately with tools that allow you to measure conversions from leads to sales. SQL and MQL is key.
4- Figure out what marketing automation tools you need to use.
5- You also start an outbound activity by doing both, direct selling to customers using rolodexes of people you hire and by building new rolodex from LinkedIn, attending events, etc…
6- Your account executives should be tied to a pipeline and a quota. Make sure everyone has enough leads and enough to work on. Increase the team when it makes sense to increase the team.
7- Track your sales cycles. If they seem to be short, then understand if it is time to increase your sales force.
8- You need to make sure that your outbound activity also includes channels. These are organizations, typically for profit, that serve or have relationships with a large pool of the clients you want to reach. You figure out how to use them and build a sales formula so that they distribute your product. Either as standalone or through an integration.
9- Once you know that they’re sales team is compensated for selling your product, then you know that the channel is active.
10- Make sure to build an ecosystem. Opening an API will allow you to build an ecosystem. This is important not only because you will have much more to offer to your customers and vice versa, but you will allow to increase the LTV of your customers, as they will store data or use services/products that are complementary to your product.
Make sure you are able to track and record the stages of a pipeline. If you are a SaaS startup with a focus on workflow process, sales is key to your survival, and so you need to show not only yourself, but your future investors, how the future looks like.