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Product-led SaaS Architecture

The basic architecture for a product first SaaS setup: don't focus on a sales force, instead focus on an intelligent product architecture.

I just finished the book “Product-Led Growth” by Wes Bush. Very insightful and a must-read for every SaaS (Software As A Service) related startup or business.

The simplified message is: try to make your SaaS product a self-selling machine (except if you have tons of money to spend on a sales force).

 

But, how does that look like in practice? Well, it can follow more or less the following diagram:

Product-led SaaS Architecture

Let’s look at the different parts:

  1. On top, you have your marketing website with a clear call to action (CTA): “Start a Free Trial”. So, no more CTA’s like “Book a demo” or “Make an appointment”, just a direct link to the entrance of your product.
  2. Then, a welcome message will be displayed to the new user. This is an often forgotten step, but it’s important to welcome your new users so they feel comfortable and they know what to expect. Imagine you’re invited by new friends and after you arrive, they just open the door remotely and then you have to find your way in (that’s not really friendly, isn’t it …).
  3. Next, there will be a sequence of steps called the onboarding. Typically between 3 to 5 steps. The important thing is that it should be as short as possible (minimum steps and minimum of inputs) in order to launch your user into your product and let him experience VALUE. Don’t ask questions that are not relevant for the trial, instead ask questions that will prepare the product for the best possible experience.
  4. At the same time, you will send your first onboarding email. It has 2 purposes:
    • You train your audience to open your emails
    • You set expectations for what’s coming next
  5. Finally, the user will enter your actual product. It’s crucial that your new user can experience real VALUE as soon as possible.

If you manage to configure your SaaS product as described, then you will be able to save on your sales-related costs because the sales are embedded in the product.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to know more, then I really advise you to read the book “Product-Led Growth”.

Glossary

SaaS (from Wikipedia)

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.

CTA

A call to action (CTA) is a marketing term that refers to the next step a marketer wants its audience or reader to take.

Sales-led companies (from book ‘Product-Led Growth’)

Sales-led companies represent the old way. It’s complex, unnecessary, expensive, and all about telling consumers how the product will benefit them. These companies want to take you from Point A to Point B in their sales cycle.

Product-led companies (from book ‘Product-Led Growth’)

Product-led companies flip the traditional sales model on its head. Instead of helping buyers go through a long, drawn-out sales cycle, they give the buyer the “keys” to their product. The company, in turn, focuses on helping the buyer improve their life. Upgrading to a paid plan becomes a no-brainer.