Software companies where people buy the product from a webpage and signup for a monthly subscription and all the interaction is electronic and automated is seen as the holy grail of business. The SaaS (software as a service) model is certainly attractive.
But every professional and consulting (and for that matter other businesses) should not copy blindly the Saas business model.
There is however some lessons we can learn. There are however many traps as well.
Firstly lets quickly look at the lessons we can learn :-
Software companies are great at automating a significant amount of their marketing. The more your marketing is automated the easier it is. This still means that content is created, information is created to position you however when the systems are in place then this can leverage your marketing to the next level.
Software companies are very good at considering the onboarding experience of new customers.
They are also very good at considering every aspect of the customer relationship and then automating actions and processes to provide a great customer experience.
Software companies are often very good at providing tiered pricing through the use of three options. This takes advantage of customer segmentation and leads to increased revenue.
(There are other lessons but these come to top of mind).
Now lets look at some of the traps :-
Software companies often put the three packages on their website. This is appropriate for Saas but is often not for professional and consulting firms where you have the ability to price the customer. Some people say that you can’t scale if you are pricing the customer. However the global consulting firms turning over billions prove otherwise.
The automation of software companies is something we can learn from. However there is no doubt that the real value is derived from the personal relationship. This is where a higher value result can be achieved. Professional and consulting firms must never forget this.
So my key message is to learn from the Saas businesses but also realise the potential in a professional and consulting businesses allows so much more.