3 things start-ups must consider when buying new SaaS products

Scalability, support and integration are crucial when seeking a new SaaS product, says Pipedrive’s Shaun Shirazian

There are many reasons not to love sourcing SaaS solutions in 2022. For starters, it takes up precious resources to research, demo and price options. The market is saturated with similar products and promises (8,000 and counting in the martech space alone).

Start-up founders working closely with sales teams know how critical SaaS is to daily operations. Pipedrive’s latest research, the State of Sales Report 2020–2021, found that the top reason teams aren’t using technology or automation tools to qualify leads is that their company hasn’t found the right tool yet.

However, the cost of not using tools to automate and simplify processes as you scale is too high to ignore.

Sticking with inefficient tools for convenience or taking research shortcuts will cost you more in the long run. Implement the right SaaS solution, and you can improve efficiencies and revenue.

See also: Automation still key for growth of small manufacturers 

When should you invest in a new SaaS solution?

It’s a start-up tale as old as time. First, a function is handled by one employee (one staff member might comprise the entire sales team). That person uses their own system to manage the workload using basic, available tools (like email and spreadsheets).

As the workload grows, the employee may struggle to keep up with the tasks, especially if they have other responsibilities. The start-up may assign a second employee to the function, so you’ll need to create a two-person workflow to manage assignments and record-keeping.

At this juncture, especially when communication volume increases, important information and tasks will start to slip through the cracks.

It’s only a matter of time before operations falter and your start-up struggles with client commitments.

So, what are signs you may need to invest in a SaaS solution to help you scale and grow?

  • Work bottlenecks when a key employee is out of the office
  • New employees can’t understand internal systems or find customer records
  • Staff constantly ping for help with process-related issues
  • Staff is confused about task assignments

3 components to consider in your SaaS search

To help you narrow your search before you even begin, collect a few key pieces of information: your budget, how many user seats you’ll need and which features you must have.


Avoid choosing the best tool for right now and select a SaaS solution that can scale as you grow. If you haven’t already, map out your growth plan over the next two to five years. Will the cost and capacity of the SaaS solution fit your needs in the next level (or two) of growth?

Another reason to choose a long-lasting tool: it takes time for staff to learn how to use new tools. Equally, staff can be resistant to change. Avoid frequent tool switching and choose a vendor that can scale alongside your business.

Looking ahead allows you to evaluate what your existing and future people will need to achieve their goals and get results. If you’re looking to hire a product marketer in the coming months, what will they need to succeed?

Using the jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework can help answer these questions. Speak to other experts in the field, understand what they do on a day-to-day basis and start evaluating tools that will empower new and existing employees alike.

Customer support

While service is in the acronym, customer support is rarely one-size-fits-all. When comparing SaaS vendors, you need a close examination of the exact level of support provided to you. If you don’t, you could be left troubleshooting and digging through knowledge base articles on your own.

To determine the level of support you’ll need, ask yourself what’s at stake if technical issues or human error prevent your core tool functions from working. If you can wait a few business days to resolve the issue, you may get by on a basic level of support. If downtime will cause critical interruptions to communications or revenue, invest in a high level of customer support.

Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate the level of customer support.

  • What kind of support is provided for implementation and onboarding?
  • Do you provide migration services for customers sunsetting older systems?
  • What days and hours is customer support available?
  • What’s the average wait time or response time for support tickets?
  • How do you communicate with customer support (phone, email, chat)?
  • Can you purchase a premium support option?

Ultimately, it comes down to how much assistance you need in achieving success. For example, when evaluating a new cold outreach tool, it’s likely you’ll just need live chat support to iron out any technical issues.

However, if you’re investing in a new business intelligence platform, the first three to six months are crucial to ensuring a smooth onboarding process for those who will be using the tool. Hands-on account management will be crucial for success.

See also: The customer is king, but do you know how to serve?

Integration and software compatibility

Depending on the growth stage of your start-up, you may have legacy software and systems you already use that your new SaaS system will need to integrate with. A BetterCloud report found that companies used an average of 110 SaaS apps in 2021, an increase of 38 per cent since 2020 and nearly 700 per cent since 2017.

Speak to your team members to learn which tools they’re using, which tools they’re not using and what would make their lives easier.

When evaluating SaaS options, look for a list of APIs or system integrations. Ask them about the process of integrating with a third-party system. The last thing that you want is to invest time and money into a tool that relies on slow manual data uploads or doesn’t communicate at all with existing systems.

Wrapping up

Finding the right SaaS solution for your business is a key decision that will help you improve your processes, communication and operations. Failing to put a solution in place can slow your start-up’s growth or hinder your customer experience.

Ultimately, you need tools and solutions that will help you and your people succeed. This means having the features and integrations needed to get the job done right.

Do your research to find a SaaS solution that will scale with your growth, provide user support and integrate with existing systems, and you’ll set your company up for success in the long run.

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