in Learning 2.0

Two Things Required to WIN in SaaS

from Dan the man Martell:

(warning – long email ahead PACKED with value)

Want to know the non-negotiables / absolutes / must haves / can’t build a business without it things required in Saas?

Here they are…

Solve painful problems.
Solve it in a way the customer wants it solved.
Do this wrong and you’ll move sideways in frustration under the false belief that you’ve got something awesome and that any day now customers will realize it.

Nail this and you’ll have millions of people signing up for your software every month (FYI: Dropbox generated 4M referred signups in 15 months!)

Great SaaS companies solve really painful problems.


So your solution needs to be a Painkiller!

Problems like:

Team collaboration/communication missteps
Marketing program inefficiency
Losing sales
Managing infrastructure
Financial risk
The opposite of that kind of solution is a Vitamin. Something that may make you better but doesn’t address an immediate pain.

Like taking a vitamin… it’s preventative.

Things like:

Individual productivity
Marketing presentations
Business reporting
Employee morale
Improving documentation
These are all great things to have in your business but they don’t stand out as solving an immediate painful problem.

Never forget that: People buy what they desire, businesses buy what they NEED.

For someone to buy from you, two of the following things need to be true:

The customer has to have a budget to solve it.
The customer has it as a goal to solve.
Their career depends on solving that problem.
The good news is that many times, the issue is not the product, it’s the positioning.

If you look at both lists above (Painkiller vs. Vitamin) you may notice that all I did was take the same list but reframed them…

… I’m talking about the same issues but with a different “lens”, or positioning.

If you’re having trouble selling your solution, it’s probably because you solve a painful problem for the customers but they can’t connect the dots based on how you explain it.

So, to fix the Product Positioning method by filling in the blanks:

Who is your primary customer?
What 2 problems do you solve?
What 3 ways do you do this?
Then use this format:

We help [type of customer] with [problem 1] and [problem 2] by [solution 1], [solution 2] and [solution 3]

This will do a few things:

It’ll get you crystal clear as to what problem you solve – that your customer cares about.
It’ll force you to differentiate why your solution is different from other solutions in the market.
It’ll keep things short and to the point.
Most entrepreneurs are horrible at explaining what they do, who they do it for, and what problem they solve.

This process will get you there.


The second problem you need to fix is building your solution in a way the customer wants it solved.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pitched a product and thought…

… who in the world wants to solve that problem that way?

I’m talking crazy things like requiring a company to:

Give a solution access to all their corporate emails
Migrate their current solutions to a new platform
Force them to complete several form fields to get something created
The better way is to work backwards from the customer’s pain, and solve it in an elegant way that…

Doesn’t require any setup work
Works with their existing products / solutions
Doesn’t change the way they work
Because if you don’t, that just adds friction and could slow down adoption.

What you want to do instead is ask them the IPO Question…

The question is simple:

“If you could wave a magic wand and have this problem solved by a software solution, how would you want it to work?”

Then sit back and listen…

Ask that question to 10 of your potential customers all with the same problem, and look for the 80% that’s shared amongst their answers.

That’s how you should solve their problem!

Now, that doesn’t mean you can just build that and win.

Nope, you’re not off the hook… you’ll still need to take into consideration other factors like:

Technology landscape
Competitive solutions
Business goals
But their answers will at least align your product to solve the problem in an elegant way that won’t add issues to your sales process which we cover in my next email.

So until then, be sure to complete the following:

Write out your positioning statement
Email your customers and ask them the IPO Question
Dan “more painful, more money” Martell

Florin Muresan
Innovator & CEO
Everything In Life Is Touched by Digital Magic. I brought Digital Magic Into The World Through 29 Products I’ve Built and Sold World-Wide

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