For many software companies, 2023 is off to a rough start.
Emotionally, financially, and operationally. More than a few SaaS brands had to restructure and part ways with savvy and loyal team members. If this industry-wide change has impacted you, I empathize with you.
Jason Lemkin summed up the sentiment perfectly:
Instead of repeating the past, I want to offer 12 helpful resolutions for SaaS founders and business leaders to practice for the rest of the year.
SaaS Business Resolutions for 2023
1) Maximize Partnerships — Whether it’s marketing, sales, or technology, lean on partners to grow. Reach out and find cross-promotional opportunities as well as monetizable campaign ideas. At a minimum, make things easy for users (embedded API integrations, for instance).
2) Recruit Top Talent — The byproduct of layoffs is that exceptional talent is available. Not a day goes by on LinkedIn when a talented individual (or a team) is on the hunt for their next gig.
3) Participate In the Gig Economy — Among those talented individuals who are available, they find equilibrium in working as independent contractors. This increased flexibility cuts both ways for SaaS companies and the talent themselves.
4) Demonstrate Customer Love — Super-serving existing customers, driving expansion, and maintaining service excellence are paramount to B2B account retention. Revisit your pricing to see if it promotes growth or inhibits it.
5) Rethink Your Tech Stack — Review your tech stack and ensure it’s optimized to meet the changes in the marketplace. You’d be shocked to see some enterprise sales and marketing apps have no “owner” and their contracts auto-renew. Examine your cost structure and identify areas where you are overspending.
6) Don’t Trip Over Short-Term Dollars — The adage of tripping over dollars to pick up pennies applies to SaaS companies, too. For instance, if you have a fancy code deployment system with proven reliability, is it worth the modest savings to bring tools in-house with less functionality? On the contrary, moving your DevOps to the cloud is worthwhile to add team accessibility and security to your platform.
7) Shift Your Mindset Around Value Creation — Customers don’t subscribe to your software because your team personally wrote the code. Instead, they care about how your software helps them achieve their desired tasks. Leverage rich infrastructure partnerships like Convrrt (landing pages), Twilio (voice and messaging), and SendGrid (email) so your team can focus on the core offerings.
8) Get Real About Efficiency — Last year was an extraordinary year of business growth. Speak to your teams about the importance of cash and minimizing spend. This also means prioritizing focus and execution over being ambitious. Focus isn’t an ambiguous concept. Chat with team members about their workload and ask what’s holding them back — be their offensive line to tackle them.
9) Get Ahead of Privacy Regulations — Your team must be familiar with compliant software and features as each state implements its version of GDPR-like privacy laws. You don’t want to get a CCPA data removal request and be stumped on how to handle it. Instead, consider enlisting a SaaS privacy expert to audit and provide a punch-down list of action items and get on it.
10) Celebrate & Communicate Progress — It’s easier said than done, I get it, but it’s crucial to celebrate your wins as an organization. Not only will it excite your teams, but it also informs prospects that you’re a thriving software solution. While others pull back, you’re leaning in. So be proud of it and keep it going! And if there’s bad news, address it straight up — don’t pull a PagerDuty in your messaging.
11) Welcome Brand Ambassadors — Spot the advocates in your network who can advise, collaborate on projects, and sing your praises. Support them by hosting webinars, and promoting some of their work and methodologies alongside your industry’s topic. Brand ambassadors’ compensation varies between SaaS companies but could be as simple as a flat fee, equity (0.25-1%), or even a percentage of revenue.
12) Get Ship Done — The best prescription for growing MRR is to create it. How? Launch compelling features that make people raise their eyebrows. They should say to themselves, “Holy crap! How did I ever do ___ before?!” Incremental progress ain’t going to get fanfare. Nevertheless, there are lessons in observing how ChatGPT lit the industry on fire in December and swelled demand (100M active users?!) for full-featured AI content tools like Regie.
The Future is (Still) Bright for SaaS Companies
By staying disciplined on your product’s core value, you won’t have to worry about the perception of what customers think about technical partnerships.
The concern I hear from founders who are hesitant to partner is most often a story they play in their heads. I guarantee that no paying customers care whether your team created a product feature in-house from scratch or reached for a proven solution off the shelf.
One way to maximize revenue per employee is to launch comprehensive features that don’t require a ton of engineering resources to stand up. Landing page management is one such lever to spark customer expansion.
These SaaS business resolutions ought to help you recalibrate your product growth strategy to survive and thrive in this economy. And while they’re not necessarily the most glamorous or exciting ideas, these “vitamins” I laid out above will strengthen your SaaS business from the inside out.
Onward and upward in 2023!