Interview with CEO of SaasGenius.com, Tom Gorski which was originally published by a Polish magazine MamStartup.
How many pieces of SaaS software does an average mobile app studio need?
At the moment, mobile app agencies with a marketing & sales department will soon need approximately 20-50 tools facilitating their work. These tools improve customer communication, internal communication, or can be used for analytics, branding, and scalable application testing.
20 to 50 sounds like a lot. Why so many? And how many did such agencies use in the past?
First of all, you have to bear in mind it is the American market we are talking about here. A few years back, mobile app agencies were focused on developing the best apps they could possibly make. At that time, SaaS applications market was only gaining momentum, but things have changed a lot since then. For the last three years, the number of solutions has constantly been on the rise – according to Scott Brinker’s research, from January 2014 to January 2016, the number of SaaS solutions tripled (rising from 947 to 3874).
Due to the level of competition on the market, companies are forced to look at the way they operate from a different perspective. They need to find room for improvement both in terms of cutting costs and improving quality. This is exactly why SaaS tools are so successful.
So will companies look for multitasking software in the future? Will they try to decrease the number of tools and opt for more comprehensive ones?
I am under the impression it’s actually the other way round. On the one hand, there’s a trend of producing very specific tools for a given niche. These tools are often flexible, easy to learn, and quick to implement. On the other, there are numerous marketing automation tools which integrate multiple functionalities. Implementing these takes from a few weeks to a few months (in most extreme cases). Moreover, some of these tools require extensive training, which is offered by software companies.
What are the features of a good SaaS solution?
SaaS tools rely on the premise that users get access to the software online by paying a monthly subscription fee. As a consequence, failure frequency is no longer a problem. Speed, access to helpdesks and customer support, importing and exporting data are of utmost importance. If you look at top SaaS solutions, you’ll realize they really care about customer success. I see a new trend – SaaS companies monitor their customer activities, and help them set up the tool to make sure it is used to its full potential.
How do we usually search for the software?
We often look for new tools because we want to improve lengthy or problematic processes – in other words, we try to automate these areas to some extent. In the past, professionals found out about new tools at industry events, but things have changed thanks to the web. We tend to look for new options and analyse software features online.
According to research by CEB and Google:
“Today’s business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete.”
Is it really so hard to find the right tool for your business?
It’s definitely much harder when it comes to CRM or marketing automation software. Brightlocal research points out that 88% of people read up to 10 reviews before making a purchase decision. Remember that companies are simultaneously using many tools, so this process needs to be sped up. That’s why we have founded SaasGenius – we have been in that situation ourselves, so we know it’s a long and often complicated process.
Where do we usually make mistakes when looking for new software?
People often start from asking a question on Facebook, which sometimes makes things even more complicated. In a few hours, you can get multiple recommendations of software which all looks pretty much the same at first glance.
So, is SaasGenius a business software comparison site?
Absolutely – SaasGenius gives visitors the opportunity to compare features of software they already know, as well as discover new tools which may serve as a good alternative to what they are already using. Our algorithm is based on user reviews and other tools they recommend.
How do you rate tools which can be found via SaasGenius?
Our matches are completed based on the needs of a given company. Through advanced search parameters, you can narrow your search to the tools which meet your requirements most. Thanks to our search algorithm, users will be presented with 3-4 tools, along with impartial user reviews which are key in making the final decision.
And how are you going to make your money?
We receive payment from software companies who wish to have a more comprehensive and more visible profile. Premium users will also be able to access detailed profile statistics. We will be introducing a new feature shortly – we are giving selected businesses the chance to sponsor a given category via dedicated advertisement.
Aren’t you afraid that SaaS tools with larger budgets will be more visible than those with smaller ones, which may be better in terms of quality?
Having many positive user reviews will be the primary criterion for the category sponsorship option. Small budget companies and new tools will be able to take advantage of other advertising options adjusted to their needs. This is an innovative approach which will allow us to get good ROI and maintain high quality of service.
Why did you decide your latest venture should be SaaS-related? You previously developed projects from other areas.
I am fascinated with how easily and quickly SaaS tools can be used, and with the business model itself. The SaaS model revolutionized software distribution and curbed the problem of using illegal software to some extent. For the last four years, I advised, trained, and provided consulting services to many SaaS startups. This gave me an idea to create my own SaaS tool, but after two years I thought a lead generation tool might be better. However, once I analysed the market and drafted a sales & marketing plan, I decided to change the core nature of the project. I’ve decided to establish SaasGenius because I know what problems tool owners and tool seekers are typically facing. I wanted to simplify the process for those looking for the right software, and provide effective marketing opportunities to SaaS tool creators.
Are those “effective marketing opportunities” the main reason software companies should join SaasGenius?
If you look at the chart above, you’ll see that we’re at the last stage of the cycle, which is where the directory user makes a decision to reach out to software provider.
According to Reevoo’s research, “68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all”.
At this stage, software developers have no control over their company image and reputation – our aim is to change that and allow tool owners to reach out and communicate with their customers. This is especially important in the case of negative reviews – as an example, we will also allow tool owners to comment on reviews.
According to Reevoo, reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales for e-commerce sites.
Why did you decide to go global with the project?
I have over 9 years of experience in the American market, which I believe is very receptive to SaaS solutions. The United States is our primary market we wish to concentrate on at the moment. In the next three years, the SaaS industry is believed to grow by over 30% annually (see chart below). This trend will be most dominant in developed countries which we want to target.
Why are SaaS solutions becoming increasingly popular?
For the last four years, SaaS solutions have been constantly gaining momentum. At first, users were skeptical – safety issues, having constant access, or being able to work at the desired speed were main problematic issues. However, as SaaS tools become more popular, they gained more trust from their users, who also underwent a massive change in terms of mindset – people feel comfortable using software they only pay for when they actually need it. What is more, increasing numbers of attractively priced online tools has led large companies (and corporations) to become interested in this model.
How do you intend to start your marketing activities?
At the beginning, we’re planning to appear in industry media outlets describing new startups, which will get us the first users. In general, our marketing actions will be based on content marketing and regular social media activity. Our plan is to interview top influencers in SaaS, publish content addressed at software creators, and guides for users searching for the right tools.
How are you planning to reach potential clients?
Our customers are both software producers and people who are looking for the right tools to grow their business. As we want to be involved in all SaaS-related discussions, we are going to use mentions monitoring software such as Brand24. This will allow us to step in and participate in the discussions in real time.
We want to produce content which deals with problems universally faced by people searching for the right software, as well as those faced by companies trying to sell their tools. We want our content to rank high in Google so that we can get traffic and convert some of the visitors to our clients. Having said that, a good product which solves problems of many internet users is our main promotion tool – I really think quality defends itself.