8 Characteristics of High Growth SaaS Companies and Their Outstanding Products
December 9, 2021
What do you think makes a SaaS business grow, and grow fast?
What does it take for a business to become the next Canva, next ClickUp, or Notion?
Of course, there isn't a secret formula behind these successful companies' growth.
There are just great products perfectly managed by capable people to solve actual problems.
In this article, I will quickly go over the characteristics of the top 1% of SaaS companies and their products; everything that enabled them to succeed:
1- Great Company Vision
What is the purpose of any given company?
What do they want to achieve in the next quarter, next year, next 5-10 years?
What is their vision of the company's future?
It is crucial for every company to establish a company vision and condense it into a vision statement. This way, every employee understands the goals of the company, why they show up to work every day, and where their efforts are pushing the company towards; from the C-level executives to interns.
For Amazon, it was "to be the world's most customer-centric company" while PayPal aims to be the "web's most convenient, secure, and cost-effective payments solution."
Slack is on a mission to "make your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive" while TED wants to "spread ideas."
It can be ambitious, it can be simple; any SaaS business that has a unified company vision is determined for success, as long as they're aligned under it:
2- Perfect Team Alignment
Yes, the company has a vision for the future.
But is everybody working towards this future?
It's important for businesses to understand that it's not just the product team or the marketing team or the sales team alone that will grow the company towards the desired outcome. It's everyones.
Most successful companies adopt a growth strategy and a business model based on their needs and targets; and then, ensure every team is aligned under this strategy, each member contributing to the progress of the business. Without a unified effort, there can be no success.
It's not just Amazon's duty to be "customer-centric"; especially if you're in the SaaS industry where keeping existing customers satisfied and happy is much more important than high-budget marketing strategies that bring in new customers.
The competition in your industry is fierce, and unless you just built the most innovative product of the 21st century, you'll have plenty of competitors who will always be breathing down your neck.
As the average SaaS business heavily relies on customer retention and renewals, making sure the customers' needs and motives are being met is a top priority for such companies. This is why the goliaths of the SaaS industry value customer support and customer success more than the average business.
They need to be as close to the customer as possible, recording their every move, profiling their preferences and actions, and ensuring that the next interactions they have with customers are extremely satisfactory.
4- Perfect Solution to a Significant Problem
The high-performing SaaS software company stands straight on the strong foundation their product/products have established for them.
Their products are not just cool-looking, these products solve actual problems with efficient solutions.
They add value to the customer's life and save them from spending extra money or effort on an unconventional solution.
Just like how Slack helped us get rid of unnecessary and lengthy email conversations while Calendly enabled us to schedule meetings in a matter of seconds.
It's always easier to maintain a good first impression rather than trying to destroy a bad one, right?
6- Strong Value Proposition
Your product is as good and capable as your ability to describe its value to your customer base; at least until they give it a thorough try.
The most successful companies usually are the ones with the best marketing copy that consists of words users would use to describe what relief their tool is.
It's what represents not only your product but every member of your company on your website, your social media accounts, your ads, and all your other marketing efforts.
One of the best examples would be Mixpanel's "Build Better Products - Powerful, self-serve product analytics..." right here:
Successful companies are not afraid to step out of bounds to find the right value propositions, and so shouldn't you.
7- Fair Pricing
Even though we tend to state that we would pay "anything" for a great product when we are enthusiastic, it's hardly the case.
A huge pricing difference between a great and a mediocre product can make users go with the mediocre one, thinking that the other product didn't actually offer the best value, for money.
So it's gotta be one of two things: either you go ahead and find the best price range for your product, so the potential users don't hesitate to click that "Upgrade" button.
Or, if you think your product is worth the relatively higher prices, you make sure you're successfully explaining the justification of your pricing to your users, whether if it is through demo calls or little notes on the pricing page.
8- Quick Time-to-Value
And last but not least, great SaaS products deliver on their value proposition and push users to their aha moments as quickly as they can.
Successful SaaS companies build products that are easy to adopt on the spot.
The time to first value should be instant, and the user should be convinced right then and there that the product is going to meet their needs.
Canva is one of the software applications that do this very, very well. Once you've logged in to the product, it asks you what you need right away, and provides you with one of the thousands of templates that you can instantly edit:
In short, successful SaaS companies are the ones that are aligned under the same goal, with each employee pushing the company towards the collective vision all the while offering you a product you can fall in love with.