The SaaS Platform: A Beginner’s Guide to Software as a Service

When a business wants to buy software, chances are they’re looking for SaaS, or software as a service. Think of any software, from email to Microsoft Word, and now imagine it as an app that’s accessed via the internet. This is very different from traditional software that’s installed on computers. And, it’s so much better.  Today, nearly every software provider offers a SaaS platform. Why? Because it allows companies to get up and running quickly and with little cost. 

Whether you’re a digital marketing agency or a media company, you can gain the competitive advantage with SaaS software that’s tailored to your business. If you’re not sure which platform is best for your business, we have you covered. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover the fundamentals of a SaaS platform and identify the essential platforms you need for marketing and sales.

What is a SaaS Platform?

A SaaS platform is a type of software as a service that users access via the internet. Also called web-based software or on-demand software, SaaS is different from traditional software because it’s not installed on computers. Instead, it’s available via the internet, and users can access it via a website or an app. 

  SaaS platform

Since the software is not installed on a user’s computer, it lives on the SaaS provider’s servers.

A popular SaaS example is Microsoft Office 365. Users can purchase a subscription to the app versions of Microsoft software -- such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. 

SaaS is available for a wide range of software, including sales, ecommerce, marketing, and business development software. Some SaaS platforms, such as Salesforce and Hubspot, were even born in the cloud.

SaaS Platform Pricing

In addition to how it’s accessed, SaaS is priced differently than traditional software. SaaS platform pricing is based on a subscription, or pay-as-you-go model. Here, we go into the most popular types of SaaS pricing options.

Subscription and Tiered Pricing 

A SaaS subscription pays for access to the software as well as maintenance, updates, and security.

This pricing model comes with many benefits for customers as well as businesses. It’s more affordable than buying traditional software, so you have the choice of customizing features and only paying for the features you need. Vendasta, for example, has multiple subscriptions, including Starter, Basic, and Pro. Enterprise subscriptions are also available. 

Freemium Pricing

In addition to the pay-as-you-go pricing model, Vendasta has a freemium model of its SaaS platform. This means you can access the platform without cost and start using it to provide digital solutions to your customers today. Then, as your business grows, you can start thinking about the upgraded options that fit your needs.

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Benefits of SaaS Platforms

Software as a service is a huge win for companies, especially digital marketing agencies, start-ups, and small businesses. The unique pricing model and the way it’s accessed offer numerous advantages, namely cost savings and a competitive advantage. 

When it comes to SaaS pricing, SaaS helps companies save a lot of money by:

  • Eliminating initial costs
  • Eliminating costs associated with maintenance and updates
  • Providing automatic upgrades
  • Simplifying feature add-ons 
  • Allowing for scalability 

Before SaaS software, the cost of software installation fell on the customer. Whether a business had an IT department or not, the customer was responsible for installing the software and making sure it was regularly updated. This also meant staying on top of security measures and updates. 

But with software as a service, the provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware and software. This means you no longer have to pay to purchase, install, and maintain software. 

SaaS is also practical and easy when it comes to backups and security. Companies used to be responsible for backing up files and keeping security up-to-date, which are all in a day’s work when dealing with software. But security and backups are now on the shoulders of the provider. 

Along with cost savings, SaaS is ideal for marketing agencies and media companies because of its ability to grow as a business grows. It’s scalable and flexible.  

For example, companies no longer have to pay for features they don’t want. With SaaS, they can easily customize software packages to fit budgets, and then add on features as they grow and need them.

But perhaps the biggest advantage is access to enterprise software. 

Traditional software is usually designed for the big guys that require sophisticated applications. But by eliminating the need to install and run software on computers, SaaS allows companies to subscribe to enterprise-level software such as sales CRMs and marketing platforms. 

For this reason, SaaS is the fast and easy way for companies to gain access to enterprise-level software without the cost.

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5 Signs Your Business is Ready for SaaS

Business today happens in the cloud, and software as a service is expected to grow 17 percent in 2020.

Companies are investing in cloud solutions, and now is the time to make the transition from traditional software to SaaS. 

According to Gartner Inc., by 2020, “up to 60 percent of organizations will use an external service provider’s cloud managed service offering, which is double the percentage of organizations from 2018.”

SaaS is the new normal, and today’s growing companies stay competitive with SaaS CRMs and marketing platforms. As you think about your sales and software needs, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How does sales and marketing function within your business?
  2. Are you interested in improving sales within your company?
  3. If you solved cold calling, how much would that be worth to you?
  4. If you could change one part of your business, what would it be?
  5. How do you currently train your sales reps, and how much time and resources does it take?

With those answers on hand, how do you know if you’re ready to make the leap from traditional to cloud software? 

Here are five signs your business is ready for SaaS:

1. You want enterprise-level sophistication. 

Today’s competitive businesses want the same tools as the big guys. If a small business CRM is letting you down, it might be time to upgrade to SaaS and take advantage of some of the enterprise features and support you’re looking for. 

2. You want to lower costs and a simple pricing structure. 

There’s no doubt traditional software is expensive. It’s costly to buy, install, update, and maintain traditional software. By using SaaS software, you can reduce costs associated with traditional software. Plus, SaaS has that simple pricing structure that allows you to keep software costs within your budget. 

3. You want scalable and flexible software solutions.

The goal of most every business is to grow. It’s vital to the success of your business to invest in products that will grow with you. With SaaS, you don’t have to pay for features you don’t want or need at the moment. Then, as your business grows, you can add features and integrations that matter most to your business.  

4. It supports a remote workforce.

Modern business has embraced the remote workforce, and SaaS fits into this picture. SaaS is accessed via the internet, which means if you can now provide remote employees with the same software they use in-house. Whether it’s to communicate and collaborate as a team or close sales, SaaS helps empower the remote workforce.

5. You want mobility. 

Today’s workforce wants to work anywhere, anytime. With SaaS, they can access essential software and tools via an app on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. 

As you think about your business needs and whether you need SaaS, remember that it’s a solution to many of your current problems with sales and marketing software. The good news is that a proper SaaS CRM platform can solve all these issues, and more.

SaaS CRM Platforms

A SaaS CRM platform is a subscription-based customer relationship management platform. For a recurring subscription fee, you can use a robust sales CRM and boost sales without having to invest in enterprise software.A SaaS CRM should be able to do all the functions and capabilities that traditional CRM software can do. While you might tailor features, the basics should be strong enough to support your business today and in the future.

Here are the key features to look for in a SaaS CRM platform:

  • A sales CRM 
  • A pipeline management tool
  • Sales training resources
  • Marketing automation 

As you consider selling SaaS, think about packaged SaaS that include products that help your company with specific processes, such as sales and marketing.

Vendasta SaaS Platform

Whether you’re a digital agency or an MSP, Vendasta has the sales and marketing automation platforms they need to thrive in the local environment. In fact, Vendasta offers white-label software that allows you to build your brand and provide digital solutions using our SaaS platform.

As an end-to-end platform, Vendasta’s CRM is packaged SaaS because it’s integrated with other essential business software, including marketing automation software and key industry tools.

In addition to Vendasta’s platform, we also have an entire Marketplace of products for collaborative SaaS and technical SaaS applications.

Ready to see a demo? We invite you to partner with Vendasta and start using our best-in-class SaaS platform for the modern era. Get started today.

About the Author

Filled to the brim with talent, Vendasta's Marketing Team is always looking for ways to create thought-provoking content, eye-catching media and data reports that can help you sell digital solutions to local businesses.

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