Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of businesses to help assist with SaaS product onboarding, training, support, and consulting. Through this experience, it is relatively easy to pinpoint how and why some customers were more successful than others using the exact same systems.
Removing any technical limitations from the equation, here are the key elements to ensuring that you get the most out of your SaaS products:
Understanding the Problem Being Solved
It is assumed that you would have purchased or subscribed to a new piece of software in order to solve a specific problem within your organization. An internal alignment of what this product is going to do and how it is either solving an existing problem or enhancing a current process is key. Additionally, It is important to identify how this is going to fit into the current ecosystem.
Understanding the long-term benefits of adopting a new piece of software is vital to the level of success you will see. Getting your teams to adapt to a new process can be extremely difficult and time-consuming so you must make this consideration before executing a new software strategy.
Ensuring Buy-In from Leadership
Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to introducing a new piece of software. Otherwise, this lack of cohesiveness will result in a reluctance to change old habits or could create internal doubt that can spread across departments.
More often than not, new software deployments fail because leadership teams are not on the same page or, in some cases, were never a part of the decision-making process. It will be very challenging for the vendor or service provider to manage the organizational misalignment. I have had to do this on several occasions and it rarely ends well.
With just about any new or existing project there is going to be a need for someone to be the designated project manager or ‘champion’ within the organization. The champion will ensure everyone is on board and promote collaboration amidst the changes.
In many cases, the decision-makers don’t have the necessary bandwidth to ensure that the deployment of a new piece of software is done effectively. Instead, they should be used as an authority figure that approves and promotes the use of the new process. The designated champion(s) ensures that the new system is set up correctly, helps with any potential integrations, understands how the new system works, and can help facilitate any training internally. Additionally, it’s important to only have a handful of people to communicate with throughout the relationship with your software providers. Otherwise, words and priorities can be misunderstood.
If you are not in communication with your SaaS provider on a regular basis it will be assumed that all is well on your end. Sure, there will be check-ins from the CSM (in some cases) but not with every offering. As much as it is important to communicate any issues you are having with your software to the provider it is equally as important to share big wins and features that you love. Doing so will promote learning and improvement as well as strengthen your relationship which creates good faith between both organizations. This can lead to the following:
- Being chosen to beta test new features.
- Company spotlight opportunities/free marketing exposure.
- An open channel for faster issue resolution.
It is a recommendation to have a minimum of a quarterly review with any of your SaaS providers.
The four elements outlined are not exhaustive but the basic and effective ones based on what I have seen. Let us know additional elements you might have.