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How SaaS businesses can pivot while staying in control

There may come a time (such as this year) when your subscription business needs to pivot. This is how you can alter positioning and offers in a good way.
Niclas Lilja
By Niclas Lilja on October 08, 2020

This year has been tough for many, and with the future still unpredictable, we, in the SaaS industry, are some of the fortunate ones. With productivity and collaboration tech companies being especially well positioned during a time when many of their customers and prospects are going 100% remote, other SaaS businesses have found themselves needing to pivot their positioning and offerings. But for SaaS to stay stable, you must maintain control - even while pivoting. This is how:

Pivot from the inside out

It's not enough to create new marketing messages and exciting collateral to express how you can support businesses (your customers) in new ways. This is one of the easiest ways to lose control of your subscription business.

It's imperative that you have all-hands calls to ensure that, internally, all of your teams are on the same page. How will your customer support team discuss new options, or reframe their conversations with existing customers? How will sales make promises that the product team can deliver on? How will marketing tie it together in a way that sounds supportive, and not opportunistic?

Pivoting is tricky, and without making the changes and having the conversations internally first, it's very easy for different parts of your SaaS business to run off the rails. To ensure internal teams are aligned, you should also reduce gatekeeping and have as many integrated systems as possible, accessible to all. This enables transparency and can allow your teams to be more aligned towards common goals.

Reconfigure resources to reflect the pivot

While it's tough to do a complete budget overhaul in the middle of the year, or in the middle of your sales cycle, or really whenever you didn't plan on it - it is crucial to reevaluate when plans change. Part of your pivot needs to be the reallocation of resources to more activities and teams that focus on customer retention and preventing churn.

Because new sales may be more difficult (and even in "normal" circumstances have lower ROI than keeping an existing customer), you should look to how you can stretch your resources in the best ways that reduce CAC, increase upsells and cross sells, and improve CLV.

But don't just take our word for it - correct financial reporting systems that align with your CRM, usage data, and customer lifecycle reports, can allow you to better see where the focus needs to be. By having more control of the total overview of subscription operations, you will be better positioned to use resources more wisely, and quickly adapt budgets for where you need it most during your pivoting time.

Seek new tools and processes to support control while pivoting

Which brings me to one of the most important elements to keeping control during a pivot: using resources to invest in new tools that allow you to have that total overview of subscription operations.

If you are used to using legacy systems, or have disjointed departments for finance and marketing, sales, and customer support, now is the time to fix that. In some markets, employees are going on month 7 of working remotely, and hitting the wall is probably coming soon. But some of this fatigue can be due in part to manual processes, lack of real productivity tools, and not enough technical support while pivoting.

Control of the subscription business is impossible when so much energy is spent trying to stay on top of new demands, new offers, new deliverables, and even new duties within roles. Your systems must support the pivot by making repeatable actions and processes automatic.

Pivoting for any business is hard, and many companies have had to manage repositioning at break-neck speed this year. But pivoting can ensure your customers stay happy and loyal, and that you're able to survive - and even thrive - when times are tough, especially when you're able to offer improved services and support.

To make a pivot successful, subscription businesses must continue to establish control over the business, and can do so by first aligning internal teams, ensuring resources are allocated properly, and that the right systems and tools are in place to support the new vision forward.

Want to see how Younium can support your internal systems to be more aligned and efficient? See you Younium in action by clicking the link below:

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Published by Niclas Lilja October 8, 2020
Niclas Lilja

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