14th July 2021
Answering SaaS Founder FAQs – Part II
Launching a SaaS beta or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a key part in any SaaS entrepreneur’s journey. If done right, it will provide invaluable insights which can be used to hone in on your target market, as well as allowing you to iron out the inevitable technical issues that will crop up before you go for a full launch to market.
This guide will take you through some key points to consider before you launch your beta – but first and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got all of the prerequisites sorted so that your beta launch is set up to give you the feedback you need to secure a strong platform moving forwards.
A successful SaaS beta launch will give you insights into the following:
It may be tempting to launch your beta straight on to the market to maximise the number of potential testers, but to do so you need to be absolutely sure that your MVP build is near flawless. This is most likely not the case for the vast majority of start-ups – and the reality is that your first beta launch should come before you’ve gone all-in on a feature set and allocated the resources to develop it.
One of the key outcomes you should be looking for in your beta test is to lock in potential long-term users within your target demographic. If you’re looking to launch a beta, you should already have a strong idea of where your target audience is and what problems they’re looking to solve.
This will allow you to focus on a small but robust set of key features for your product, ensuring that your tech infrastructure won’t be completely overwhelmed on day one with support tickets.
Beta testing sites:
Social media & other online communities:
Targeted user bases will of course differ for each product. For those readers hoping to offer a SaaS solution to enterprise-level clients, consider tailoring your beta launch to smaller organisations, where you’re more likely to find a receptive audience that’s willing to invest the time and take a chance on a new product on the market. They’re also more likely to find value in a pricing deal you may have offered to encourage sign-ups. Bigger clients on the other hand will be more difficult to on-board as they’ll have to get clearance, especially if your product will need to be installed by their IT administrators for security reasons.
This is arguably the most important step of your pre-flight checklist. Properly planning for the backend needs of your beta will mean the difference between a successful launch that provides you with key feedback for the next stage of development, and an abortive mess that leaves you out of pocket and demotivated.
Get yourself the right questions of your setup and development team – but there will no doubt be other points to consider specific to the nature of your SaaS that you may need more specialist input on.
Here you’ll want to consider practical issues including the size of your app (and the bandwidth needed access it), as well as any other dependent software that your users will need to set up for your product to work. In its early iterations, your beta’s user setup will be a key area of feedback you’ll be looking to measure and act on. That said, you’ll want to do everything possible to make sure that your testers aren’t put off by a buggy install process. To prepare for this ahead of time, have some clear user onboarding guides drawn up, and run some of your own tests on as many different systems as possible to root out common issues to be addressed by your support team when the launch comes.
You’ll want to give your hosting provider a heads up ahead of your beta launch to give them an opportunity to pass on any relevant information they may have on their end. You’ll want assurances that they can handle the increase in traffic, and ways to go about troubleshooting likely issues that may arise.
This may be easily overlooked as part of the beta preparation, but could cause you serious headaches down the line. Make sure that the T’s & C’s have been looked over by a professional that could flag potential pitfalls.
These pointers should get you well on your way to preparing for your SaaS beta launch. Stay tuned for our breakdown of testing and analytical strategies follow-up coming soon!
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