3 ways a SaaS “solution” should support business goals

Posted by Mike Ryan

A SaaS solution will add value to run critical elements of a business – but what should it include? Mike Ryan shares the three key things, a SaaS solution means to him.

The final Channel Meet Up webinar in a three-part summer series featured an all-star panel comprised of Zachary Kilpatrick (Okta), Ravi Patel (Zoom), Keith Joseph (Proofpoint) and Chris Stolley (Optiv). It was facilitated flawlessly by Peter Thomas (E2Open).

Together (with some help from the audience), the group examined the challenges of positioning and selling SaaS across a wide spectrum of company models. In an informative and spontaneous exchange, they explored the advantages of having a channel-specific, go-to-market strategy in place. And they looked at how a SaaS solution could (and should) add value to those who depend on it to run critical elements of their business.

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I thought I would focus on that last point. The “adding value” part. A complete “solution” benefits both the business planning and the execution for its client sponsor. And it does so with a higher level of simplicity, scalability, and, yes, service. Below are three things I thought of during the panel’s presentation.

1) SaaS should be simple for everyone

The first part of that heading goes without saying. SaaS should be simple—it should be simple to install and even simpler to use. The “for everyone” part of that sentence, however, is not always part of the equation.

A software platform delivered in the cloud does not require hardware considerations or expenditures. So, there is that. SaaS systems are also optimized for open integration with other platforms. There is that too. By their nature they should be easier to deliver and install.

They should also be easy to figure out. Companies that sell a SaaS solution (CR Worldwide being one of them) should have customers whose only concern should be, “what can this program do in support of my business goals?”  In fact, what often separates one SaaS provider from another is the wider range of possibilities that reside within their applications.

Now, let us talk about simplicity but do so on the user level. Since the best systems come equipped with “single sign-on” capabilities, they offer the ability to seamlessly toggle from one system to another without interfering with an individual’s workflow.  Whether it’s with channel reps, dedicated salespeople or other types of employees, that’s a big (if not simple), convenience for the many throngs of multi-taskers out there.

Responsive design is also a big factor in making SaaS simple for anyone tapping into it. For employees who are highly mobile (and who isn’t these days?), having your system appear (and function) the same way it might on any device (be it a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone) is paramount.  That helps your SaaS solution fit right into the organization’s way of working no matter where employees operate from.

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2) The right SaaS solution also redefines “scalability”

SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments and can easily absorb more users without hardware concerns. Clients do not have to invest in another server, for example, to accommodate expansion. That makes SaaS (by definition) scalable.

But growth capabilities aside, your SaaS solution is nothing if it is not also agile. Most of the world-class applications out there support the concept of program expansion extremely well. But do they also deliver responsiveness? That’s another question altogether.

Not only are the best SaaS systems built to add programs and participants quickly, they can also help clients change strategies mid-stream if (and when) markets fluctuate. And they do all of that without sacrificing speed, quality, or reliability. That adds a new dimension to the word “scalability” doesn’t it?

One final thought here: As the panel dissected the advantages (and challenges) of selling SaaS, they pointed out that sellers often struggle with articulating the value add. So here is a positive for you: Giving organizations the ability to control their incentive investment decisions quickly and without delay is one of the more compelling benefits a SaaS solution can offer.

3) Finally, software as a service should include one obvious thing— “service”

Some purchasing companies are looking for what is called a “better together solution”. By that calculation, the SaaS system they buy is only part of the value proposition a vendor offers.

CR Worldwide prides itself on being a full-service performance improvement company. Not only is our technology built to improve business results through increased salesforce and channel rep motivation, we enhance employee engagement as well. No matter what the goals, all of our people, processes and supporting products are focused on exceeding the client’s objectives. In that regard, “service” is a big part of the solution-set we bring to the situation.

Sure, we have our share of do-it-yourself types (and those self-managed clients find great value in the system’s intuitive set-up and usability). But for business customers who want (and need more), they can get it from our organization.  They get not only the benefit of flexible software; they get an entire support staff focused on the client’s short and long-term business objectives.

How does service translate into a significant advantage? Beyond the obvious benefits of helping you administer program specifics, full-service organizations can help you imagine, design and plan programs that surpass specific business agendas. Along the way, they can service you and your participants in a manner that matches (maybe even exceeds) the standards that distinguish your own brand or culture.

Simple enough for everyone (yet sophisticated in its design), scalable so it accommodates growth (with speed and agility), and backed by a level of service and commitment (consistent with only the most stringent standards)—that is what a SaaS solution means to me.

To discover the secrets to energising and enabling your Partner Sales Teams, as discussed in the CR Worldwide breakout room, download the video here.

To discuss how we can help build and implement new channel sales and marketing initiatives within your business, contact us today. Or check out how we have successfully implemented reward solutions in these businesses.

A 25 year industry veteran, Mike is responsible for expanding CR Worldwide’s business portfolio in the United States.