Let’s get something straight – SaaS is a disrupter. SaaS vendors are
attempting to move customers from the shrink-wrapped software days of old to a
new on-demand paradigm. Smart vendors understand just how sticky software is –
and in no sector more than SMBs. Why is this so?
Let’s look at the average SMB owner – as well as being responsible for
whatever it is their business actually DOES they’re also accountant, payroll
clerk, legal counsel, HR adviser etc etc – they’re multi-skilled but incredibly
time-poor. It’s for this reason that switching software solutions doesn’t rate
highly on their list of things to do.
This is why SaaS companies have to do everything to facilitate their
prospective customers becoming actual customers – and to a certain extent this
goes against the SaaS ethos. Most vendors will tell you that the world of
multi-tenant software limits the support burden by ensuring that all users are
running the same code – this is true…. once those customers are signed and
sealed – until that time vendors need to do everything to help ease the
I was reminded about this the other day when I saw a post from SaaS accounting
vendor Xero. Xero is a great accounting
application that I personally use for my consulting business (look out for
reviews of SaaS accounting offerings in the next few months), they understand
just how sticky shrink-wrapped accounting software is and as such should be
doing everything to help customers convert.
I was a little disappointed to see that the post linked to a third party
provider who is offering 3 hour “how to use Xero” sessions – at the cost of $199
a pop. I came away thinking that this is exactly the sort of thing that the
vendor themselves should be doing – often and for free – in order to gain
about this issue over on my own blog – that time in relation to a truly amazing
experience I had with another SaaS vendor – this time payroll provider iPayroll. I was also stoked to see this post from CEO of Freshbooks Mike McDerment – Freshbooks
is a very cool company and Mike is a heck of a nice guy. As Mike puts it;
can you afford not to?”
SaaS vendors need to remember that often the pain of conversion is sufficient
to stop an otherwise keen business from becoming a customer – can you really
afford to not ease that pain?