There are four key ways to market an app to small businesses. Following these will lead to growth and success in finding new customers for your app.
Selling software to small businesses is very different than selling to consumers or large businesses. Large businesses often require RFPs, long sales cycles and marketing specifically made for these types of customers, but SMBs act more like consumers.
We’ve been selling Autofy, our QuickBooks integration platform, to SMBs for over 15 years. In that time, we’ve had the opportunity to learn and evolve and create best practices for how companies buy apps they want to use to help expand their business.
SMBs require traditional sales efforts and focus more on product reviews and referrals from people they know. They are used to trying things out and experimenting before they start using new apps in their business. Apps need to be easy to use and purchase in order to see value in them.
What follows are the four keys to selling SaaS apps to small businesses.
1. Sell Where Your Customers Are
SMBs already use many apps to run their business. According to a survey done by QuickBooks, 68% of all SMBs use an average of at least four apps to run their business. They’ve adopted the cloud already and are comfortable using apps from many vendors to run their business. This means your app needs to be where your users are already. Integrating your app with other apps that companies use is a great way to find new customers. App stores like the QuickBooks app store and Salesforce AppExchange are a good place to start.
Most vertical apps that sell to SMBs already have a listing of integrations for their apps. Being integrated into other popular apps is valuable. Just integrating into a few other apps will only bring incremental improvements to your marketing. Instead, find ways to integrate into many apps. Whether they are an exact match of a partner application or not, you should consider integrating into any and all apps that SMBs use.
It might not seem to make sense for something like an e-commerce app to integrate into Slack or a messaging app, but if Slack is an app that thousands of companies are using, then it makes sense to find a way to integrate with it and be a part of an app ecosystem that is already thriving and is an app that your prospects already use.
Get your app on as many app stores as possible because it is where your customers find apps to use in their businesses.
2. Make It Easy For Them To Buy
Small businesses like simple solutions. Part of this is simple pricing. Seeing a price slider on a web app or limitations on the number of transactions or amount of data is a surefire way to scare off a small business from actually pulling the trigger on buying an app. Hiding the pricing is even worse! One of the top visited pages on our website is our pricing page, and I believe this is for a reason. It’s because SMBs are price conscious and want to see what they are getting into up front.
Making pricing simple is necessary to keep SMBs interested.
3. Be Quick To Help Prospects Find Their Aha Moment
People trying out new software are quick to make judgments. As SaaS-based companies, this means getting users onboarded and gaining a vision of what your app can do as quickly as you can. This time is measured in minutes — not hours or days (or in some cases weeks).
Members of one SaaS company I spoke with recently told me that they still require manual sales and onboarding, which can take weeks, to set up new customers. When prodded as to why the reason was because “that’s just the way it is” in the industry they work in. This company is trying to find ways to expand deeper into the SMB space, but it will always struggle until it overcomes this. The employees of this company need to rethink how they onboard and simply deliver a portion of their value instantly. Doing this would allow the customer to see the value and vision of the offering, get them used to using the service and, ultimately, make it harder for them to switch in the long term.
Without speedy time to value, prospects are able to switch easily and not see the complete vision of your offering.
4. Find Their Trusted Advisors
All companies have others they listen to for advice in to run their businesses better. Often this comes from people who are at the forefront of technology and business. For SMBs, we’ve seen countless companies that have an IT person, Salesforce consultant or a QuickBooks ProAdvisor who is deeply in tune with technology and how to optimize business operations. Getting connected in these communities is invaluable in regard to getting the word out about your app. Plus, these trusted advisors can easily become part of a partner program for your app.
All companies have a trusted advisor somewhere. Find out where these people hang out and visit with them. It’s a route straight to their customers.
Doing these things should help increase the sales of your app and help you find new customers.