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Written by James Doman-Pipe Senior Product Marketing Manager
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15 Aug 2019  |  Moving upmarket

7 Lessons from SaaS Companies who Built Their Product For Teams and Enterprise

7 minute read

We take a look at what you can learn from SaaS companies who’ve adapted their product to sell to teams and bigger companies. Begin your move upmarket with these lessons from other companies who’ve done it, from optimizing the pricing of their product, to building in elements to help continued expansion, to introducing features required and desired by teams and enterprises.

Building your product for teams

Nearly all SaaS companies want to sell multiple seats per account so that their product becomes an integral part of a team’s workflow. Let’s look at how SaaS companies have positioned their product so that it both appeals to multiple users and encourages increased usage across teams.

1. Inbuild the potential for virality

It’s important to demonstrate the value of adding team members and to give your customers an easy way to do this. This can include:

  • Having a button that enables customers to invite other users via email or sharing a link. This will make it painless for the user to begin the process of building a team within your platform.
  • Stress the benefits of adding team members within the product itself, highlighting the features that the user’s team will benefit from. The ultimate aim is for your product to become an indispensable tool - something that forms the basis of a team’s work.
  • Consider an incentive for individual professional consumers, or ‘prosumers’, to invite other users. Dropbox, for example, offer their customers free additional storage space for inviting new users.

With multiple ways for your customer to indicate their interest in adding team members within your product, you’re in a strong position to identify upsell opportunities. According to ForEntrepreneurs, it’s four times cheaper to upsell to existing customers than it is to acquire new customers, so spotting these opportunities are crucial. Pre-identify these leads - from in-product indicators to customer calls to your Support team enquiring after more licences - and make sure that you have a process in place to efficiently route these customers to sales and a system to track their progress.

Team collaboration software Slack highlights the benefit of adding team members, not only by encouraging you to sign up ‘your company or organization’ from the outset but by having ‘channels’ where entire teams can collaborate beyond individual messaging.

2. Teams need access management and admin roles

You’ll need to consider access if you’re wanting your product to become an integral part of a team. Administrators will want the ability to provision the use of your product, granting access to other team members and enabling new users to create an account. 

Admins will also want to enable different access roles within your product. While everyone on a team may be able to access your product, some team members may only be able to view information, while others may have access to more advanced features (for example, an ‘exec license’ could enable the viewing of reports).

Design tool Figma enables different levels of access when a team is working on a collaborative project, enabling the owner of a project to invite team members with the level of access they require.

It’s important to consider how best to capture the value you’re offering in different admin roles, too. You could put users on different payment plans that reflect their usage - remember the key is to make your product sticky!

3. The ability to collaborate is important

Teams want to be able to contact one another to highlight and discuss the shared work that’s taking place within your product. Enabling the ability to add people to projects will help with this collaboration, as well as showing which users are working in which spaces and allowing users to comment and suggest. Learn how your customers are using your product and establish what collaboration features will turn your product into a crucial part of a team’s shared work.

Team organization platform Trello enables in-product communication so that team members can add files, suggestions and comments within a task ‘card’ which keeps a log of all previous team activity, as well as real-time updates for when someone is viewing the same card.

4. You need to sell how your customer wants to buy

It’s as simple as it sounds, but without looking into how your target market wants to buy your product, you could be waving goodbye to business. Look at your current pricing and ask yourself if your subscription billing model might be limiting your reach. For example, if you’re not currently offering a monthly payment option you could be losing business from teams in small to medium-sized businesses who may not have the cashflow to commit to a year or the certainty to make a long-term commitment.

Renderforest, a video and graphic creation platform, are aware of the vast array of customer types that their design product has, from hobbyists, to prosumers, to larger companies. Their price plans reflect this, offering monthly and annual billing, subscription plans and a pay-per-product option to cater to different requirements and budgets.

Building your product for enterprise 

5. You can use your product to approach bigger enterprise businesses

As we mentioned above in relation to teams, it’s possible to identify users that are particularly open to expansion and upgrades through their use of your product. By inbuilding restrictions or features, you’re able to see when a user wants more and wider use of your product.

Through what’s known as a ‘land and expand’ sales model, it’s possible to upsell a prosumer and essentially infiltrate a company through this one seat, turning a B2C transaction into B2B deal with a large company. This isn’t a dissimilar process to making your product viral within teams, except this is a far more proactive approach to selling your product to bigger business. It’s important to ascertain your optimal strategy for ‘land and expand’ however; this may be by approaching a decision-maker regarding the whole company using your product (the ‘top down’ approach) or by reaching out to individuals and encouraging a grass-roots change (the ‘bottom up’ approach).

Interactive design tool Framer found that their product’s appeal was garnering individual users from companies like Netflix, Tinder and MailChimp. By leveraging prosumers like these, Framer were able to move upmarket, selling a huge number of seats to enterprise for their collaborative tool. 

6. Offer advanced features

Enterprise companies expect a different product experience from small and medium-sized businesses. As enterprises use a large number of products and services with a large number of staff requiring access, enabling Single Sign-On (SSO) is hugely important to these customers. This will make the process of provisioning, deprovisioning and permissioning of user accounts and specific features as smooth as possible for them.

Analytics and reporting tools are more or less a prerequisite of products being sold to enterprise, so it’s important to be able to offer deep-dive insights into how your product is working and be able to separate these out into reports for different teams of users. It’s a way of your enterprise customer being able to see how effective your product is and for them to justify the cost for the value you offer. Audit logs are also very valuable to enterprise customers, enabling them to view the activity of all staff using your product for security and compliance purposes.

Conversion Intelligence Platform Gong - targeting mid-market and enterprise businesses - have enabled a variety of sign-on options as they moved upmarket in order to accommodate larger businesses using their product. They now offer sign-on with an individual email account, Google, Salesforce, Office 365, or other Single Sign-On providers.

7. Compliance is key

Enterprise customers will need to ensure your business is compliant with a range of laws and regulations - like GDPR, financial compliance, and even anti-slavery and anti-bribery pledges - before they purchase your product, that might involve legal, finance, and product development.  

Especially if your customer’s customers are in Europe, you’ll need to be GDPR compliant, so it’s crucial to ensure you’re handling your customers’ data in accordance with the May 25, 2018 ruling. Hubspot, for example, published a comprehensive product roadmap in response to GDPR, detailing the features they were adding to make collecting, tracking and managing consent in a GDPR-compliant way as simple as possible for their customers. 

It’s also important to ensure you’re on top of financial compliance, taking into consideration different invoice requirements globally, the need to generate compliant invoices for enterprise and ensuring your company is correctly handling sales tax

Want to spend more time focusing on your product? Paddle takes care of billing, global taxes, compliance and more so you can focus on your move to sell to teams and/or enterprise. Explore Paddle and get a demo here.