Saas – What are Containers?

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The emerging tool of containers promises to redefine infrastructure and cybersecurity, even as it speeds the development of cloud computing.

M&A Readiness: A Six-Step SaaS Integration Road Map

My Post202.jpgIn the age of SaaS, mergers and acquisitions present unique challenges compared to years past.

With large tech companies purchasing more and more SaaS applications throughout the enterprise, massive tech discovery and integration operations are in order.

Modern SaaS management opens the door for cost containment opportunities, risk mitigation and increased efficiencies for years to come. In the case of mergers and acquisitions, taking control of the technology landscape is a game-changer — and the creation of a SaaS integration road map is necessary.

Here’s how you can build a SaaS integration road map in six steps:

1. Align The M&A Team With Business Leaders

When acquired by (or merging with) a tech giant, what the M&A team says goes. However, according to my company’s study, as over 50% of SaaS spend is found outside of known software expense types, leaders of all business units are highly influential over the success of the enterprisewide integration. To ensure an effective merger of tech stacks, M&A teams must align with business units to devise an integration road map.

To uncover key digital change agents within the enterprise, identify heavy SaaS investors within the business units. Business leaders who are frequent buyers will be integral in driving tech innovation across the enterprise. Throughout the integration process, hold regular stakeholder meetings to align business and IT strategies. – Read more

SaaS Companies Can Increase Revenue 1.5 to 14 Times and Valuation 8.5 to 127 Times by Becoming a Payment Facilitator

My Post201.jpgThe convergence of Software as a Service (Saas) and payments as a value added service is accelerating, as more SaaS companies become payment facilitators.

Infinicept today launched a new ROI (Return On Investment) calculator to show technology and SaaS companies how integrating a payment facilitator model into their business strategies can open up new revenue streams and increase valuations.

Over the past several months, an in-depth analysis of several vertically focused software companies across the hospitality, auto services, event management and personal services verticals was performed leveraging the ROI calculator. By adopting the payment facilitator model, the analysis concluded that software companies can dramatically increase their revenue (sometimes by as much as 14 times) while also increasing their valuation – by as much as 127 times.

The ROI calculator is a free service that allows companies to enter a few data points about their customers and merchant card processing programs to generate a customized report showing their potential revenue opportunity and increased valuations as a payment facilitator. This new tool is available at Infinicept.com/roi-calculator – Read more

The 8 features all enterprise SaaS applications must have

My Post125.jpgSlick UIs and fast setup make great first impressions, but enterprise managers know they’re the tip of the iceberg. Unsexy features like interoperability are the real foundation.

Why bootstrapping your SaaS business is a great idea

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Venture capital funding is at an all-time high in India.

In 2017, Indian companies received VC/private equity funding to the tune of $17.6 billion, with Japan’s Softbank investing nearly a quarter of that amount in Flipkart, Paytm, and OYO. It would appear as if nearly every tech-based startup is backed by VC funds these days and if you want to make it to the big leagues, you need VC money, period.

But a closer look reveals that this claim is not quite true. Bootstrapping may not only be a viable alternative to VC funding, but it might also actually be your ticket to startup success.

Consider Sridhar Vembu’s Zoho, which lies comfortably in the multi-billion dollar valuation field, while being guarded assiduously from external funding for nearly two decades now. Similarly, Paras Chopra’s Wingify, which has an ARR of $18 million, was bootstrapped.

One could go on. The list of companies that were built from the ground up, without being funded by VCs, is quite a long one. If you do decide to go through it, a common pattern emerges: a majority of these businesses are B2B SaaS (Software as a Service) ones. – Read More

Top 5 SaaS Platforms Revolutionizing Audio and Voice Industries

My Post123.jpgVoice as a medium is growing exponentially with the presence of voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Home and now, Facebook Portal.

The demand for voice content, both in audio and video formats has been booming in the past 5 years, especially in video webinars, interviews and online training courses. Even podcasts, a relatively new medium, produce 4 lakh hours of episodes every month.

This demand is expected to exponentially rise in the next 5 years and to meet this demand, a number of startups are relying on developments in artificial intelligence and speech algorithms. Let us take a look at five brands that are redefining the voice industry in across the globe.

Storyline: Storyline makes it easy for anyone to create skills/ apps for Alexa without learning how to code. It features a simple, drag and drop interface that non-technical people can use to create voice-based games, trivia or briefings like daily News. It is the most popular Skills creator platform and powers more than 6% of skills available on Alexa.

LyreBird: Named after the bird that can mimic human voice, Lyrebird is a Canadian company that does speech synthesis, essentially converting text into human-sounding sound. LyreBird allows you to create entire sentences or conversations in a new voice. It is what we call TTS (Text to Speech). While there are obvious ways this can be misused, LyreBird claims to have security features built in so that only authorized sounds can be changed. – Read More

What’s Your Loss Rate? You Really Should Know.

My Post122.jpgA ways back on SaaStr, we wrote a classic post, Beware of the Confidence of High Win Rates. 

It’s something I see again and again, especially below $2m in ARR or so.  A start-up says they have a lot of problems, but winning deals isn’t one of them.  That they win every deal they are in.  Well, of course these early stage start-ups win all these deals.  Because they are only invited to just a very small percentage of the dances.

So ultimately, it’s healthy and positive to see win rates decline after $1m-$2m.  That means your mini-brand is coming into its own, prospects are starting to hear about you, and that marketing, one way or another, is starting to work.  You are getting into more deals that you aren’t ready for.  That’s OK.  You’ll learn from the ones you lose, and that gives you a roadmap to grow and improve.

And once start-ups start losing more deals, they don’t do the next thing they really should do.  Track their Loss Rate.  And just as importantly, every week, have a Win-Loss meeting.

If you don’t track your loss rate, even as your win rate goes down, you can lull yourself into a sort of false sense of “we’re doing great.  we’re doing as well as we can”.  Imagine you are at $3m ARR, growing 100%, burning little, with a 60 NPS.  You can kind of get … slightly complacent.  Things are going well.  But imagine your loss rate is 60% (you’re in a competitive space).  What would happen if you closed just a handful more deals, and drove the loss rate down?  You’d go from amazing growth, to outlier growth.  But if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it. – Read more

Should I use in-house or SaaS tools to develop APIs?

My Post121.jpgIt’s perfectly viable to approach API development using either in-house or SaaS-provided tooling, but each path has its place. Learn how to choose between these two methods.

Many of today’s software teams are faced with this question: Should you develop APIs with your own in-house tools, or use third-party SaaS API development tools? Ultimately, your choice probably won’t impact the intended features or capabilities of the API — it’s just a matter of the preferred platform in which to write that API.

 

An API is an interface that allows external programs to use services an underlying application provides, but still shields the underlying application from outside users. Typically, developers don’t develop APIs using the same language or format used in the associated application. For instance, many APIs operate over the internet by design. They employ a conventional HTTPseries of GET, POST, PUT, DELETE and other HTTP methods based on languages such as Python.It might make perfect sense to develop APIs on premises when the API can use existing software development toolchains, processes and staff. The additional costs and learning curves associated with outside API services may simply not be worth it. – Read More

How can you land a big client as a SaaS that no one has heard of?

My Post120.jpgSolve one of their top pain points, for real — that no other vendor is solving.

If you haven’t sold to the F500 / Global 2000 before, you’ll be somewhat surprised to learn that between the CIO’s office and functional heads, at most huge companies, there is a clear goal to bring in a handful of new “innovative vendors” into the company each year.

In fact, almost all the best run large enterprises know they have to seek out new gems in software to help their businesses run faster and better. Otherwise, their stack and approach will ossify. So they have budgets and often even innovation departments to work with emerging vendors.

But here’s the thing — they can only process so many each year. Each new vendor means a lot of business process change, even for a small deployment.

So that means big enterprises often only being in 1 new vendor per year per department, and maybe another handful at the CIO level. More than that is too many and too much to process. – Read More

5 founders share 5 sales strategies for SaaS startups

My Post114.jpgIn 2011, the famous investor Marc Andreessen wrote an essay titled “Why Software is Eating the World.”

Seven years later, SaaS is a billion-dollar industry.

But to lead the pack in SaaS, founders and startup teams should master sales. So, I spoke with five founders on how to sell a SaaS product based on their experience over the years.

1. Growth hack using Quora and SEMrush

With over 12,000 users, Funnel CRM is a sales tool helping businesses, agencies, and freelancers.

According to the company’s CEO Muhammad Gohar Shafique, Quora is one of the most useful resources to understand customer pain points. 

Whenever Shafique maps out a new content strategy, he usually goes through Quora to find the problems that his prospective buyers are asking. From there, he thinks of solutions to the problem and answers them on the site.

The opportunity is simple: getting traffic to your content by commenting on questions that your content actually answers.

Here’s the hack they use:

  • Step 1:  Log in to SEMrush and do a search on Quora.
  • Step 2: Navigate to the “Organic Research” tab under “Domain Analytics.” You’ll now have a list of top-ranking questions on Quora.
  • Step 3: Run a search for a keyword related to your content (e.g. “SaaS”).
  • Step 4: Sort the results in descending order by search volume.

Another simple hack is paying attention to customer support. “We provide 24-hour support and trained our support team to respond to messages within two minutes,” says Shafique. This approach led to a 43 percent increase in leads.

The company also makes it a rule that engineers and founders have to spend at least six hours per week as a support agent. “Why?” Shafique asks. “To understand customer pain points and then iterate the product faster to stay relevant and avoid being just another bloated SaaS product.”

2. Onboard the biggest players in the industry

Y Combinator-backed Cashfree is a technology platform digitizing both inward and outward bulk payments for 3,000+ merchants and brands.

A strategy that worked well for them, according to its co-founder Akash Sinha, is signing up the largest businesses in a given sector. “We spend most of our energy in getting the largest player, and once they come onboard, the rest of the players follow,” he says.

It’s also important to talk with the right decision makers. If your product is helping businesses improve their customer experience, for example, then talk with a product or marketing head. Scheduling meetings with department heads is way more helpful.

But the downsides of this strategy is that it requires patience. Since bigger clients take longer to make decisions, your overall momentum may take a hit.

Sinha’s advice is to chase both bigger and smaller prospects at any point in time. While it’s alright to focus on the larger companies, don’t ignore the smaller clients completely.

3. Don’t focus just on your product

SendX is a remarketing and retargeting SaaS solution that uses email, browser push notifications, and social media ads to drive more revenues.

Its founder Varun Jain shares their sales strategy: Before a product demo, the team researches about the prospect by looking at their latest news or events and their sessions on SendX. This allows them to understand the prospect’s background.

The team then does the demo, focusing on the prospect’s specific problem. They will typically only talk about SendX’s capabilities 10 to 20 percent of the time. – Read more