Customisation And Your SaaS Startup

The road to SaaS success is littered with obstacles and challenges. Finding product market fit, assembling the right team, building relationships with key partners, generating leads, closing business, preventing churn… the list goes on… and on.

When starting up the onus is likely to be on generating revenue to support future growth. It can be tempting to start agreeing to requests from potential customers and have the development team work on Customisation that will ultimately stifle long-term SaaS growth.

In the early days, a little bit of Customisation to help close new customers can seem like a logical way to generate revenue and push deals over the line. Your first customers are taking a risk opting for a start-up solution, in some cases putting their jobs and reputation on the line. A small bit of customisation seems the least you can do.

Although Customisation may bring in additional revenue early on, it is likely to cost your business revenue over a sustained period of time. Unless completed in the setup of a system, Customisation is highly unlikely to be an efficiently managed and scalable process.

Relying on a human element, Customisation can make upgrades and new releases a very difficult and time consuming process. The issues upon scalability may not be apparent until new releases are delayed due to roll out issues, or the Development team are swamped with bug fixes from resulting Customisation work.

The key to efficient SaaS product development and roll out is ease of scalability. If you can achieve customisation in the setup and configuration of your SaaS solution, great! If not, be brave and say no.

In many cases Customisation is requested to make the system more like a prospect’s existing way of doing things. Speak to prospects and explain why your SaaS solution works in a different way. Chances are the customer will still see the value of your product without Customisation.

What to do

Make it clear to your Sales team, Customer Success and Marketers that individual customisation is not something you provide.

When specific Customisation requests are put forward use them to help plan future releases and updates to your SaaS product. If the same requests are being submitted look to push these forward within product roadmap.

Whilst maintaining a catalogue of Customisation requests, you should also tag customers requests to their profiles in your CRM. If/ when their request is rolled out across the entire system let them know in advance. This a very simple method to improve retention and attract positive reviews/ case studies when implemented effectively.

Do have any advice, examples or additional ideas for managing Customisation? Let us know by leaving a comment below 🙂