Starting Monetization: A Guide to a Successful Self-Serve SaaS Product Launch

September 12, 2023
Pricing Models
Starting the monetization of your SaaS product can seem like a challenging and overwhelming task. Often, startups invest heavily in product features and UX but overlook the importance of a seamless signup process and clear billing.

For many early-stage startups, signup and billing are an afterthought, considered separate from the core product. Setting up public pricing, self-signup, and ensuring your customers are billed accurately are not part of your core product, yet all of these aspects are important when it comes to monetization. A poor signup process and confusing bills can lead to customers disliking the product before they ever got to explore all of its features.

But fear not - if you think things through, your SaaS launch can become a great success. Getting your SaaS launch phase right can make a huge difference in turning a SaaS pre revenue into a Series A stage powerhouse. In this guide, we'll discuss what you should include in your launch plan, including finding the right price, choosing the right pricing model, setting up a seamless signup flow, and exploring tools you can leverage for billing automation.

Understanding Self-Serve and High Touch Approaches

Self-serve and high touch are two distinct approaches to customer acquisition and service delivery in the SaaS industry.
Self-serve, as the name suggests, enables customers to access, purchase, and manage a product or service independently, with minimal interaction with the company's representatives. This approach is particularly popular for products with straightforward pricing and features, as it streamlines the purchasing process and allows customers to quickly onboard themselves.
In contrast, high touch refers to a more personalized, hands-on approach, where sales and customer success teams actively engage with customers throughout the sales process and beyond. High touch is often employed for complex products or when targeting enterprise clients, who typically require custom solutions, in-depth consultations, and dedicated support.
Increasingly, SaaS companies are adopting a hybrid approach, combining self-serve and high touch strategies to cater to a broader range of customers. By offering simple, publicly available pricing tiers alongside a custom enterprise option, companies can appeal to both smaller clients seeking a quick and easy solution, and larger organizations with more specific requirements. This blended approach enables businesses to capture a wider market share, cater to diverse customer needs, and ultimately, drive growth and success.

Your Launch Product

While you should not overcomplicate things, having a SaaS product launch strategy and a checklist is better than not having one. A simple launch strategy will ensure that you don't overlook anything before launching. What is the product that you want to launch? Does it have a unique selling proposition? Do enough market research to find out if your potential users will identify some competitive advantage when going through your landing page. As obvious as it may sound, any new product needs to solve pain points for its buying personas, and without a unique value proposition that simply won't be possible.
While it's generally advised to launch as early as you can, you should make sure that your minimum viable product satisfies a core need of the customers you are targeting. A new SaaS product doesn't have to be perfect, but if you launch your SaaS product pre basic product readiness, you'll have to deal with complaints from almost everyone who signs up, and your launch campaign will likely not be successful.

Converting Interviewed Users into Customers

That doesn't mean that you cannot collect customer feedback at this stage. Users that you've interviewed during the product development phase have the potential to become your most valuable beta customers. Inform them about your upcoming launch. Make them excited about getting early access. Get them on board and ask them for feedback. By engaging with beta testers and addressing their feedback, you demonstrate your commitment to meeting their needs and improving your product. Many of them will be happy to know that you listen to them and provide feedback for your beta launch so that your actual launch will be awesome.
These satisfied customers can become your first references, championing your product within their networks and helping you win over bigger and more customers. The more effort you put in the better, a smooth onboarding process can take you a long way. Their testimonies and recommendations will not only create a sense of trust and credibility for your product but also contribute to generating buzz and positive word-of-mouth, essential factors for scaling your SaaS business and reaching a wider audience.

Choosing the Right Pricing Model & Finding the Right Price

Pricing can make all the difference when launching a SaaS product. If your product is priced too low, potential customers might question its value and hesitate to sign up. On the other hand, if it's too expensive, they may dismiss it without further consideration. For enterprise customers with fixed budgets, usage-based pricing could be a barrier to adoption, as they may not be allowed to purchase a product that could generate a substantial bill at the end of the billing cycle.
Wingback Might Be Able to Help
This blog post won't be able to answer all your questions about pricing. Wingback is here to help. This Blog has much more content on pricing models. Our Pricing Model Recommendation Tool can give you an idea of which model to use, and if you want to go deeper, feel free to book a free pricing consultation call here.
Pricing Model Overview
To give you a quick overview, here is a summary of the various options for your B2B SaaS business model.
Flat-fee pricing
This model involves charging a fixed fee per month, regardless of usage or features. Flat-fee pricing is straightforward and easy to understand, making it suitable for products with a limited set of features or for customers who prefer predictable pricing.
Unit-based pricing
Also known as per-seat pricing, this model charges a fixed fee per month for a unit, such as seats or users. Unit-based pricing is commonly used for collaboration tools or project management software, as it allows customers to pay for the exact number of users they need.
Usage-based pricing
This model charges customers based on their consumption of a resource, such as API calls or data storage. Usage-based pricing is ideal for products that offer metered services, as it allows customers to pay for what they use and can provide a more accurate reflection of the value they receive from your product.
Pricing Tiers
With tiered pricing, you offer several different pricing plans with varying entitlements and prices. This model allows you to cater to a diverse range of customer needs, preferences, and budgets, making it suitable for products with a wide array of features and functionalities. Customers can choose the plan that best aligns with their requirements and budget.
Add-ons are optional features that customers can add to any plan for an additional fee. This model enables you to offer more flexibility and customization, allowing customers to tailor their subscription to their specific needs. Add-ons can include extra storage, premium support, or advanced features not available in the base plan.
Free Tiers and Free Trials
Free tiers and free trials are effective strategies for attracting potential customers to your SaaS product by allowing them to experience its benefits without any upfront costs. Free tiers typically offer a limited set of features or usage at no cost, encouraging users to explore your product and potentially upgrade to a paid plan for additional functionality. A free trial, on the other hand, grant users full access to your product for a limited time, enabling them to evaluate its value and determine if it meets their needs. Both approaches provide opportunities for customer engagement, product education, and showcasing the value of your offering, ultimately leading to increased conversions and long-term customer relationships.

The right model for your product depends on a lot of different factors. For instance, usage-based pricing might be suitable for a product that offers metered services like API calls or data storage. On the other hand, per-user pricing might be more appropriate for a project management tool or collaboration software. Consider testing multiple pricing models and talking to your customers to figure out if you are on the right track to finding the right pricing model for your SaaS business.

Setting Up a Seamless Signup Flow

If your leads drop off during signup, you will have a hard time converting them into paying customers. Many SaaS products unknowingly leave money on the table by not investing enough time and effort into optimizing this critical UX aspect. Reflect on your personal experiences with SaaS products and consider how the signup process influenced your perception of the product and your willingness to invest in a more expensive tier. A smooth and seamless signup process probably significantly impacted your decision to choose a certain product over its competitors.
Signup is Part of Your Product
Designing a great signup flow should be considered as important as any other feature in your product. However, if you prefer not to design the signup process from scratch, you can rely on third-party tools. Some billing providers offer out-of-the-box pricing pages, signup flows, and self-serve billing portals. These solutions allow you to deploy a best-in-class signup experience without worrying about the design and development aspects. By implementing a tried and tested signup flow, you can save valuable development time while ensuring your leads have a smooth and enjoyable experience when signing up for your SaaS product.

Full Self-Serve Readiness

A successful self-serve SaaS product goes beyond merely allowing customers to sign up for your service. It entails providing a comprehensive, seamless, and user-friendly experience that caters to all aspects of customer interaction with your product. To achieve this, you must consider several essential components.
A self-serve billing portal, for example, should be in place to allow customers to download their invoices, update payment details, and manage their subscription. Chat support is crucial in addressing customer queries promptly and efficiently. Ensuring a good UX is paramount, as a confusing or poorly designed interface may cause users to abandon your product altogether. Moreover, provide options for customers to self-serve buy upgrades or downgrades, allowing them to tailor their subscription to their specific needs.

Billing Tools and Solutions

There are several tools and solutions available to help you manage billing for your SaaS product. Some popular options include:
Chargebee is a popular subscription management and billing solution well-suited for SaaS companies with products of low complexity. While it has been a popular subscription management solution, it's important to note that it may not be the best fit for every modern SaaS company. It might lack some of the advanced features that newer platforms offer. This can result in developers having to invest significant time and effort in customizing the software to meet their specific requirements.
Recurly is another billing platform that has been around for quite some time. While it has established itself as a robust solution, it may not align well with the needs of modern SaaS startups. As these startups often require more flexible and advanced features to accommodate their complex pricing models and dynamic business requirements.
Stripe Billing
A popular billing solution with a great brand reputation that supports recurring payments, usage-based billing, and invoicing. Stripe Billing integrates with various payment processing providers, making it a versatile option for SaaS companies with products with low complexity.
A comprehensive billing platform designed specifically to support any complex SaaS pricing model, including usage-based components. Wingback supports any pricing model, no matter how complex, and offers out-of-the-box components like pricing pages, signup flow, and customer facing billing portal that make launching self-serve super easy.

Post-Launch Marketing Strategy

After your launch campaign, it's crucial to continue engaging with everyone you got in touch with during your launch process. There are many ideas for SaaS marketing that are worth considering to keep engagement up after your product launches, and it's important to note that each of these strategies mentioned could easily justify its own article. Therefore, it's highly recommended that you do more research.
One of the post-launch strategies is to continue content marketing efforts by regularly publishing valuable content that attracts new customers, and establishes your brand as an industry leader. Despite the abundance of content seen today, having your own blog (like this one here) and your own email newsletter are still worthwhile and, if done right, are a great way to tell your brand story and should be part of your marketing strategy.
Another thing to do is utilizing email marketing by sending targeted email campaigns to nurture leads, promote new features or updates, and encourage customer referrals. If you don't have enough hot leads yet, cold email outbound might be something worth trying out.
Engaging with users on social media can also be a valuable element of your post product launch marketing plan. Monitoring social channels for customer feedback, questions, or concerns, and interacting with users will help with creating brand loyalty not just among your beta testing users.
Offering webinars and workshops is another strategy that can educate your audience. You can combine the best out of two worlds: Provide educational content and give a product demo while doing so. It can be a great lead generation method as potential users signing up for the webinars are basically qualifying themselves as the right target audience when signing up. The are interested in a solution for a pain point that you are discussing in your webinar.
However, no matter if you decide to double down on social media marketing or interactive product demos, all these strategies work if they are well executed. So rather focus on a few marketing strategies that resonate with your target market to make your upcoming launch a success.

Getting the Whole Team Aligned

You might still be a small team and if that's the case, you can skip this section. But if you already have a digital marketing team, someone in customer success, a product team, and a product manager, making sure that everyone is aligned will become another important factor for your successful B2B SaaS product launch. By establishing and monitoring key performance indicators for all team members, you can assess the effectiveness of your teams efforts and make data-driven decisions. This alignment ultimately contributes to a successful SaaS product launch - endless meetings and pointless discussions about your product launch plan would certainly not help.

Final Thoughts

As B2B SaaS product launch is never easy, but it might not be as difficult as it seems at first either. Create your very own SaaS launch checklist, do some work ahead of time to find the right pricing model and price, be aware that a seamless signup flow is very much part of your product, and know that after your SaaS launch phase, there is still work to be done, By following these steps and considering the bigger picture of your pricing strategy, you can set your SaaS product up for long-term success and growth.
Find key performance indicators that work for you and keep track of them throughout the launch process and beyond to measure the success. Reviewing these metrics will help you figure out what to improve on your way to product market fit. Always remember that no matter how long your product launch checklist is, focus on the things that matter most.
← Blog