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Your Guide to B2B SaaS

B2B SaaS? What is that? 

Here is your new 2021 guide in deciphering what B2B SaaS means!

Spoiler: you should consider using B2B SaaS for your business!

What is B2B SaaS?

Google Sheet is one of the most popular B2B SaaS apps today.
Google Sheets is one of the most popular B2B SaaS apps today.

To understand what B2B SaaS is, let us look at what B2B and SaaS mean:

B2B means Business to Business. A B2B is a type of business that offers products and/or services to other businesses. This is in contrast to B2C, where the products and/or services are offered to consumers. Some differences between a B2B business and a B2C businesses include the following, as listed by BlueCart:

  1. B2B pricing models include multiple tiers of pricing depending on the quantity and frequency of orders, while B2C pricing models include a single tier of pricing that can vary with discounts offered by the company.
  2. B2B companies employ account managers that take account of the specific needs of a business to come up with a tailored solution, while B2C companies employ customer representatives to handle common issues.
  3. B2B websites look more like dashboards that let the prospective businesses easily access the features and options, while B2C companies are designed to convert users to paying customers. 
  4. B2B checkout processes have more options to allow the company to cater to specific needs of the businesses, while B2C checkout processes are more streamlined to minimize shopping cart abandonment.

SaaS means Software as a Service. CloudFlare, a popular web infrastructure company, defines SaaS as a cloud-based method of providing software to users. Unlike software bought off-the-shelf, the software is not hosted on the user’s machine. Instead, the user accesses it via the Internet. Often, the user pays a subscription fee to be allowed access to it. 

Basically, a B2B SaaS is a combination of these two ideas: a cloud-based software that is designed for businesses. While it doesn’t sound advantageous for the businesses to subscribe to a cloud-based software, this is a fertile field for software companies–both seasoned companies and startups. Some of the companies that focused on B2B SaaS are the following:

  1. Google, known as one of the biggest tech companies in the world offering services via the Internet, is offering SaaS for businesses through their Google Workspace
  2. Hubspot offers tools to help businesses maximize their growth over time. 
  3. Slack offers a comprehensive platform for seamless team collaboration, an important tool for companies seeking growth.
  4. Shopify is still the biggest ecommerce platform in 2023, offering a robust platform for hosting ecommerce sites without businesses having to go through the technical hassles of hosting a website. 
  5. MailChimp is one of the primary services for email marketing, which is still going strong in 2023.

Seasoned companies that began offering B2B SaaS include the following:

  1. Microsoft, known for the ubiquitous Windows operating system, began offering Microsoft 365, a bundle of applications that include Microsoft Office, and other web-based software to enhance collaboration. They are offered both in Business and Enterprise pricing tiers. 
  2. Adobe is now bundling their well known multimedia creation and editing software as the Adobe Creative Cloud. Multiple tiers of pricing plans exist for their wide variety of customers, which include businesses. 

Why choose B2B SaaS?

Slack is another popular B2B SaaS app for project management and collaboration.
Slack is another popular B2B SaaS app for project management and collaboration. Image source

B2B SaaS combines the benefits of both B2B software and SaaS. They are as follows:

  1. B2B SaaS software is accessible everywhere (as long as there is an internet connection). A huge advantage especially today, where we prefer work-from-home arrangements due to the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, B2B SaaS software is platform-independent: you will be able to access the same functionality whether you are using an Android tablet or an iMac. They simply require an internet browser.
  1. B2B SaaS software offers streamlined workflows, enhancing your data and analytics capabilities. The biggest advantage of B2B SaaS is the huge boost in productivity that it offers as a central system that is accessible from anywhere. The data is easily uploaded to the system and can be accessed by other users within seconds of uploading them. B2B SaaS software often includes data and analytics tools, allowing you to see the metrics evolve real-time. 
  1. B2B SaaS software does not require you to install and maintain hardware and software. These things are handled by the company that maintains the SaaS. This includes improving and updating the software–you no longer need to deal with this, thus minimizing the downtime of your software. This also cuts a significant quantity of expense on your side, as there is no more hardware and software to maintain.
  1. B2B SaaS software offers competitive pricing through their subscription models. Since they are designed for large-scale use and use the scalability of servers, B2B SaaS companies can reduce their prices to become competitive. We simply pay subscriptions to the companies to keep using their software. 
  1. B2B SaaS software already includes data backup and security. Since it’s hosted in a cloud, the data is automatically backed up and its security is assured by the company that hosts the software and maintains the cloud. Additionally, the users may opt to store their local copies by simply accessing the data from the server.

(List compiled from TechRadar, Salesforce, and Practical eCommerce)

There are disadvantages in subscribing to B2B SaaS that you should watch for:

  1. You will get locked out of the B2B SaaS software you use if you fail to pay the subscription dues. It would be a massive inconvenience at best if you got a downtime of a few hours, if not a few days, simply because you missed the payment deadline.
  1. B2B SaaS software requires an internet connection. There are still places where internet connection is nonexistent or not in good shape, so a B2B SaaS software may not be the ideal solution.
  1. B2B SaaS software requires you to upload lots of company data to an external cloud. This exposes your data to possible breaches if the security protocols set in the cloud are broken.
  1. B2B SaaS software surrenders control of your processes to a third-party service, which may not be a good idea if those are absolutely critical to your company’s operation (beyond exposing your plans to competitors).
  1. B2B SaaS software may not fully offer the features you need. While B2B SaaS software would include additional features that businesses may or may not need, they may still miss some features that your business needs.

(List compiled from NiBusinessInfo and GoCardless)

Ultimately, every business is unique, and so are its needs. The next two sections will help anyone planning to subscribe to a B2B SaaS software or planning to launch one.

How can you select a good B2B SaaS software to subscribe to?

Shopify is the most popular B2B SaaS for setting up an online shop.
Shopify is the most popular B2B SaaS for setting up an online shop. Image source

Just like any other software, you should ask the following question:

What do I need for my business?

Identify what your business needs, so you could identify the features and functionality you need from the B2B SaaS software that you plan to subscribe to. 

There are more considerations:

  1. Pricing: What are the payment terms? Is it rated per user or per business? Is it rated per month or per year? 
  2. Ease of use: How easy is it to learn the software, supervised or unsupervised? Is advanced training available to further enhance the capabilities of your teams?
  3. Scalability: Can it handle well the increase in the workload due to your business’ growth?
  4. Customer support: Is 24/7 customer support available? Are there several ways to contact them?

The most popular B2B SaaS software are designed for the following applications:

  1. Business management software
  2. Customer relationship management software
  3. Database management software
  4. Marketing automation software

How can you market your B2B SaaS product?

SurveyMonkey is a popular B2B SaaS app for conducting surveys.
SurveyMonkey is a popular B2B SaaS app for conducting surveys. Image source

The thing is, there are differences between the channels, which includes their customer base. This is why tweaking your channel to maximize your growth is a long and meticulous process. Always be proactive in making improvements to your process.  

Create useful content

Content marketing is still alive and well in 2023! And if you have conducted your customer research, it will produce all sorts of insights you need in preparing for your content marketing. 

The important questions to answer are the following, listed from Animalz:

  1. Who will you write for? Your ideal reader is the one who buys your product, and that should include everyone that could affect a business’ decision to buy your product. To maximize the breadth of readers, you should include both technical guides and theoretical principles. 
  1. What will you write about? Your topics should, of course, help your target customer base. To do so, your topics should be driven by keyword research, as well as sales and support feedback. Target topics that would interest customers in all stages of the funnel:
  • Address high-level topics
  • Introduce new readers to your brand
  • Tie problems to your specific solution
  • Write directly about your product

You can regularly write about the same topic over and over again in order to stay on top of the search results.

  1. When will you publish? As you can learn from the article written by our fellow writer here in Lido, a regular interval in publishing should be prioritized. Try to publish as often as possible without compromising the quality of your content. The quality of your content will make or break your product.
  1. How will you earn traffic? There are two ways you can earn traffic:
  1. Organic search–the most ideal way because it’s free. The talk of the town is search engine optimization, or SEO. Some tips to master the art of SEO are as follows: 
  • Make sure the target keyword matches the content of the blog post
  • Do keyword research
  • Add backlinks
  1. Email–you can set up a newsletter so that you can hit the customers who are already interested with your product. This will enhance your chances of converting them to paying customers (or if they already purchased your existing products, make them purchase again). 
  1. How will you support the business? Make sure your content helps boost awareness of your product. Here are some ways to do so:
  • Let readers know about your product - often this involves a short pitch at the end of an article, for example. 
  • Capture email addresses - you can offer a newsletter, a short course, or premium content to entice readers to give their email addresses. 
  • Follow up with everyone - use those email addresses to nurture leads and keep your readers interested with your content and the products you sell. 
  1. How will you measure performance? You need to set up a way to assess how effective your content is. The following can be good metrics to measure:
  • Month-on-month traffic growth
  • Month-on-month organic traffic growth
  • Total backlinks and referring domains
  • Total keyword rankings
  • Target keyword rankings

Agree on a set of metrics, then start measuring them from the day you launch your content marketing campaign. If you have been producing content before you launch your new content marketing campaign, you should start tracking these metrics so that you have a baseline in comparing the changes in metrics as the campaign goes on.

We have our own B2B SaaS product…

...and it’s called Lido. We are targeting folks like you who need a handy tool to consolidate data from different ecommerce and marketing services that you use into a single dashboard that will help you easily and quickly see patterns in the metrics you look for. You can also use Lido to boost your existing spreadsheets! Learn more about Lido here. 

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