You’ve had a brilliant idea, you’ve got the funding from investors, you’ve set up a team, and after months of bug fixes and UX meetings, you’ve developed a stellar SaaS product. Congratulations!
All that is left for you to do is pull off a successful product launch. But launching a new B2B SaaS product isn’t as easy as you might think.
Many SaaS founders are engineers, and few engineers are great marketers, so setting up a SaaS launch plan and a SaaS product checklist will go a long way to ensure success.
Read on to find out how.
The SAAS product launch checklist: Exploring every stage
There are thousands of SaaS companies out there, and those in the same niche will be competing for the same clients. To stand out from the rest, you need a strategy to guide you at every stage of the SaaS launch:
- The pre-launch
- The launch
- The post-launch
The SaaS pre-launch phase
The SaaS pre-launch or launch planning phase is where you get to grips with your operating environment, customers, and your unique value proposition. Use this time to do research, make some calls, and create a lead list.
Understanding your competitive advantage
Before you launch a SaaS product, take the time to understand your competitors. What makes you different? What makes you unique? Which benefits do you want to highlight when speaking to your customers?
These answers will form the basis of your unique customer value proposition and should steer all of your communication, including your demos, website copy, and social media presence.
Set KPIs and goals
You’ve heard the expression, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” However, if you set up key milestones and goals for client acquisition and churn rates, you will be able to gauge whether your company’s growth trajectory is on the right track.
Learning about your target market
Before you start selling, you need to know who you are selling to and what they need from your product. Spend some time on market research, making calls, and doing surveys. Know which clients you want to target, which competitive solutions they are currently using, and what your product offers that their existing vendor can’t.
With tools like Walnut, you can even start presenting your SaaS product before it goes live. All you have to do is to capture its main features to create an interactive prototype. Send a link to your prototype to your advisors and potential clients, and understand what features they use most - or don’t use at all. This test will allow you to learn more about their needs to make sure your product will be optimized for the launch.
Creating a brand story
Once you know your competitive advantage, you need to communicate it correctly by creating a compelling brand story that appeals to your customer’s needs and emotions. This brand story can be used in pitches, on your website, or through your brand voice and the images you use.
The Walnut brand story starts with a famous product demo faux pas – Bill Gates and the first-ever blue screen of death. What is your story?
For example, let’s say you worked in HR and got tired of seeing how much needless paperwork gets generated, so you came up with a paperless solution. Or maybe you worked for a large enterprise and realized early on that a cloud solution would be much cheaper and more accessible for companies to manage. It’s a compelling narrative.
Your story builds brand affinity and helps you connect with customers during the sales pitch.
The SaaS launch phase
Once you’ve grasped the operating environment, you can launch the product and start signing customers up using the insights and knowledge gained from the pre-launch stage.
It’s important to set milestones and track your progress. During this phase, you’ll see if the brand positioning work you’ve done resonates with your target audience. Plan to make adjustments to your branding and messaging as needed.
Onboarding new customers
Every SaaS company needs to have an automated onboarding process. Very few companies or users will jump in without a thorough understanding of what your product has to offer.
There are several tips and tricks that you can try, but at the very minimum, your customer onboarding process should include:
- Quick sign-ups
- Welcoming messages
- Walkthroughs, tutorials, and product tours
- An option to request a demo
- A series of lifecycle emails
Showcasing your product to prospects with a demo
When you’re the new kid on the block, showcasing product features or talking up your team’s excellent customer service isn’t necessarily going to convince prospects to sign up with you.
An engaging, personalized demo helps your customers understand not only what you do, but what it is you can do for them. By creating personalized demos with Walnut, you can track a prospect’s journey and collect data that provides insight into the pains they face and how to solve them.
You can also use this to embed a self-guided product experience on the site to grab prospects at the early information-seeking stage of the funnel.
Demos differ from other marketing and promotional materials you create during the launch phase because, if done correctly, they can be customer-centric. Putting your customers first from the get-go will set you up for upselling success.
Customization makes clients feel like you genuinely understand their business and the pain points they face. You’re not making empty promises; you’re demonstrating that you can apply your product in scenarios that are relevant to them.
If your customer sees how your product can help them solve their problems, they’ll be more likely to convert.
Check out our full product demo checklist to make sure you don’t miss out on important steps.
The Marketing Mix will form a big part of your SaaS product launch strategy, compromising sales, promotions, pricing, advertising, and more. While most SaaS companies rely on direct sales, performance marketing and social media play a big part in getting the word out.
Some best practices:
- Launch your product on Product Hunt (did you know that Walnut was twice Product of the Day?)
- Show your PR muscles - Press coverage has a huge impact on public perception
- Send a newsletter to your database
- Leverage social media to amplify the noise
- Fine-tune your website to make a good impression on visitors
- Make sure to collect all the possible data on the same day / week - launches usually bring a lot of traffic
Modern marketing doesn’t just talk at prospects, but with them. If you embed product demos on your website and landing pages, you’re able to gather the information that can be used by sales teams when they set up their first meeting with the client.
This way, the client has already seen what you could do when viewing the marketing demo embedded on your page. The sales call that follows can use those insights to create a demo highlighting features of interest. They can then seal the deal by answering questions and overcoming objections.
Here’s a full marketing guide for your SaaS company.
The SaaS post-launch phase
After the launch, the focus shifts to analyzing the feedback received (both from customers who have and haven’t converted) and setting your clients up for success after purchase.
Before you’ve launched your product, make sure that you have a feedback mechanism ready for the post-launch phase. Customers can identify bugs and UX issues and provide valuable suggestions for improvement.
How Walnut Can Help You Launch Successfully
Launching a new SaaS product is exciting and challenging. Your launch is the culmination of all your product and marketing development efforts. As mentioned in the article, Walnut helps SaaS companies skyrocket their product launch in various ways.
Walnut’s users can easily create interactive product demos, walkthroughs, and tutorials - even if the product isn’t live yet. In addition, they can collect insights and analytics on their customers' usage in order to further optimize their user experience.