A partner development framework is the ultimate guide to take your business from a software-as-a-service (SaaS) practice concept to growth in five stages. Within these stages, you will be able to discover new revenue sources and reach profitability faster. You will also be able to expand your reach and set your business apart from competitors by building SaaS solutions with Microsoft Azure. This playbook is meant to guide you to understand how to define your strategy, hire and train resources, go to market, and optimize to grow your practice. If you’re looking to build new applications or transition existing applications to using a SaaS delivery mode – you need to keep reading. I will be summarizing the highlights of the playbook and breaking down the five stages for you follow. For the full guide – click here.
There are many benefits when it comes to the SaaS model. It helps you to deliver better experiences to a broad range of customers. According to a 2017 Keystone survey, ISVs that developed a SaaS version of their software saw great improvements. A few of those were unlocking new customer segments, reducing complexity and lowering customer TCO, integrating new cloud services and leveraging aggregated data.
Adopting a SaaS model begins to open more opportunities for your business, especially when it runs on the public cloud. It eliminates barriers to geographic locations by supporting local data residency, sovereignty and compliance requirements. Another benefit is being able to free your current customers from the added cost by hosting software through Microsoft. You will also be able to improve your service offerings by providing more capabilities that would have been time and cost extensive, being developed independently. By aggregating the data collected across your customer base, you can perform benchmarking and analysis for conducting quick improvement of products or algorithms. Overall, the SaaS model will lead you to accelerate sales by making it more seamless for your customers to access trials and explore the value of your product offering.
Now that you understand what the SaaS model represents and how it can make your business successful, I will list the top 5 things to do in order to succeed in this practice.
1. A clearly defined strategy
Being able to develop a strategy, is critical to your company’s success – it will be time well spent. You must define what unique value you hold to better help your customers’ needs and why they should choose you. What is the best pricing option that you could offer? This includes pre-sales and post sales engagement and how to compensate sales executives. Building a business plan to provide your customers with will allow them to know exactly what you offer and how their business can grow with you. What are your support options for your customer’s, for Microsoft’s support offerings and the support related benefits you get from establishing capabilities in the Microsoft Partner Network?
2. Hire and/ or Train
The people you hire are a critical asset to any service-based practice. To start, an evaluation of current team members will help make the decision of whether you need to bring in more employees or train your current team. Most times, if a practice is just getting started, one person will likely fulfill the duties of multiple roles. Roles normally associated with cloud practices will have 3 + years of experience.
Being able to implement a solution delivery process is just as important as the technologies you use to deliver it. When it comes to creating solutions for a SaaS practice, the process you choose is what’s best for you. A few include the Scrum Process or the agile process. Developing a repeatable process makes for a profitable practice.
4. Go to Market and Close Deals
SaaS has changed the way buyers are purchasing the software, as trials and free preview allow them to interact prior to engaging with sales. However, marketing is half of the story, while sales is the other half and it truly is a team effort. One way to close a sale is to write a winning proposal. Microsoft is always committed to helping businesses grow and provides both co-selling and co-marketing efforts.
5. Optimize and Grow
All the strategies we have laid out for you will help build your SaaS practice, but how can you better optimize your practice? A major way to do this is to learn more your customers to expand to new markets through strategic partnerships. Developing customer personas can deepen your expertise and help you expand your efforts to your customers with a more comprehensive service and support team.
Are you looking to know more about the 5 steps it takes to deliver a SaaS model to your customers? The link at the beginning of this blog will give you the full playbook that explains all the details you are looking for. As a Microsoft partner, we never want our customers or partners to feel like their questions aren’t answered. This playbook highlights and framework defines how to take your SaaS practice from a concept to business growth in the five stages listed above. If you need help or need a team to implement this in your business, our technical staff can assist!
Samantha is the Partner Marketing Manager at Dynamic Consultants Group. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree that are marketing communications related. She has been working in the Marketing field for 7 years now. Sam specializes in creating the content strategy for the marketing department, publishing blogs, planning and organizing all aspects of company events, conferences, and the overall marketing department’s day-to-day tasks. She is passionate about the tech community because of the constant innovation that occurs, especially in the Microsoft Partner Network.