According to Virayo’s general SaaS statistics, 80 percent of companies use at least one SaaS product in their business today. Virayo states that in 2020 the revenue of the SaaS market is going to triple compared to 2014 ($48 billion). That is, it is going to reach approximately $157 billion.
No wonder that SaaS is growing so fast and many entrepreneurs want to try their luck in this industry. Creating a product that would attract customers is not an easy task even for big businesses.
People tend to choose those services that offer simple and hassle-free experiences. It means you need to show a strong value proposition and possess good UX.
When we were working on designing Gridle, a client management platform, our main task was to make it more valuable from the user experience standpoint. We designed a clear onboarding, improved customer tab, created customizable invoice templates, and more to make Gridle more efficient and easy to use for customers (check out our case study).
But still, is great UX all your company has to possess to beat the competition?
We’ve analyzed popular SaaS companies to figure out what makes them successful. But first, let's define what a SaaS company is exactly.
What is a SaaS company?
SaaS company is a cloud-based organization that develops, hosts, and manages software available for customers over the Internet. Customers pay not to own the software, but to use it on a subscription basis.
Fifteen years ago hardly anyone heard about such term as software as a service. At that time not many people could imagine that it would be possible to do their work and have their issues solved by accessing the internet only.
Since there are many Saas companies on the market today, people can choose the one that they like the most. But how do they know what service will best solve their problem? Read next what makes the customer pick a specific company.
Top SaaS businesses and what makes them successful
In this section, we will provide you with a list of the best SaaS businesses that managed to become successful. Let’s see why people choose them.
Revenue:$ 674.9 million
HubSpot is a cloud-based marketing and sales platform. It focuses on attracting customers and leading them through the whole buyer’s journey. HubSpot is known for its wide range of tools for business growth. They help businesses with email marketing, blog optimization, and social media interactions.
Even though many software companies provide similar solutions, HubSpot stays at the forefront of digital marketing. What makes it different from other services?
- Inbound marketing. The first point is that HubSpot follows the inbound marketing methodology. It means they attract customers via content they create and not with pushy ad campaigns. Hubspot provides readers with valuable information and lets them decide what product to buy.
They constantly create useful and relevant content on how to boost business growth. This way they gain credibility in the readers’ eyes. Whenever you type something related to digital marketing in your search engine, you get the results written by the HubSpot team at the top.
Every salesperson would agree that the best customer is not the one that you found, but the one that came to you. Hubspot uses this approach very effectively.
- All-in-one solution. The second reason HubSpot dominates the market is that it is an all-in-one solution. This cloud service locates a full stack of tools to support the customer's marketing and sales process in one place. The user doesn’t have to switch between different platforms that, besides, do not always integrate with each other. HubSpot combines tools for different purposes in one cloud saas application.
- Easy to use. The third reason for HubSpot’s popularity is that it is extremely easy-to-use. Its UI lets the user intuitively navigate through each component in the platform and learn very quickly how every tool works. The layout is clear and well-categorized so that even a non-technical person would understand how to complete the desired action.
In order to improve its UI and UX, Hubspot has even conducted a drunken user test. Yes, a drunken guy tested their UI design to measure how simple it is to navigate through the website. It’s funny, but it proves that HubSpot cares about a user-friendly interface.
To sum up, Hubspot’s strengths are inbound marketing, a full stack of tools in one place, and the ease of use of their product.
Revenue: $1.661 billion
Dropbox is one of the most profitable software companies that provide a cloud storage service. It allows us to store the information, share data, and synchronize files on different devices.
There are a couple of reasons why Dropbox is more popular than its competitors.
- It’s simple. Simplicity concerns everything in the Dropbox service. It doesn’t take much time for a person to understand how this platform works thanks to its minimalistic user interface. As well, no matter what OS you have, access to all features is available anytime on the Dropbox website.
Dropbox doesn’t try to “look smarter” than its users. All features that it offers just work well and efficiently perform their function. This popular SaaS service is not overloaded with tools that no one tries, because they are too complicated for a regular customer. In general, Dropbox looks like just one folder that is extremely easy to use.
- It’s fast. If you have a new device and want to synchronize data on it, you don’t have to wait hours while the information is being transported through the Internet. Dropbox uses LAN synching which allows you to do it much faster.
- It’s platform-agnostic. Dropbox’s UX is equally coherent on Windows, iOS, or Linux. You will be able to access your files or shared data on different web browsers, devices, or platforms. Dropbox’s team did a great job of designing a consistent experience across desktop, iOS, and Android.
Dropbox does its job really well, it is fast, easy to use and it has great cross-platform support.
Revenue: $ 622 million
Zoom is a company that provides cloud-based remote conferencing services. Except for video meetings it gives an opportunity to chat, share the screen, create workspaces, and hold webinars.
Many people are wondering how Zoom managed to become so popular, leaving behind such strong competitors as Skype and Google Hangouts. And again the general answer is the ease of use.
- Easy to install. As one of the SaaS benefits, you don’t have to download any applications, install them, and update. All you need is the browser and access to the internet. The user doesn’t need to spend time getting accustomed to this software. After registration, you understand how to use it intuitively. That leads us to the next advantage of Zoom.
- Great UI and UX design. The consumer-centric approach has raised the demand for convenient and simple video conferencing. Zoom made it possible to use their software from any device with only one click. They care about UI so much that when you look at the Zoom interface it almost tells you what actions to perform next. There is nothing that disturbs the visitor or makes them think of some technical issues of the software. The user can concentrate on their online meeting only.
By the way, one more feature that made Zoom so popular is that the user interface is consistent on the smartphone as well as on laptops.
Zoom cares a lot about the usability of their product and this fact makes them stand out.
Revenue: $1,58 billion
Shopify is a cloud e-commerce platform for online and retail stores. It provides a complete set of tools to set up, customize, and manage your business. Here are a couple of reasons why people prefer Shopify to other services.
- Non-tech friendly. Shopify allows people without technical experience to create and run an online store. Users subscribe to Shopify as they don’t have to care about development, updating, and server hosting. All features on the admin panel are logically structured which promotes an intuitive user experience.
- Graphic interface. Although the appealing interface has nothing to do with the platform’s functionality, it can improve the way the customer interacts with the service. One of the reasons Shopify has gained its popularity is a clear UI. It lets the person who sees this platform for the first time can handle it quickly and easily.
The above features make Shopify especially popular for those who want to save time and don’t want to care about any technical issues.
Revenue: $254,3 million
SurveyMonkey is a cloud software for conducting online surveys. Today the name of this company sounds like a gold standard in its niche and there are several reasons for that.
- User-friendly interface design. And again it’s all about being easy to use. SurveyMonkey dashboard will guide you through 5 main steps to design, distribute, and research your survey. As well, you can see the preview of the survey and its rate (how likely people are to take this survey). Finally, SurveyMonkey’s surveys work well on mobiles.
- A big choice of templates. This cloud platform offers more than 200 survey templates. They are divided into categories and are especially useful for beginners who struggle to construct an effective form. There is also a possibility to create a survey from scratch.
- The logic tool. This tool takes into account the user’s earlier answers and based on this information can hide some further questions. Depending on the answers the logic tool can redirect you to different pages.
SurveyMonkey managed to make complex software look user friendly.
Revenue: $401 million
Slack is the best cloud-based software for business communication. This real-time messenger allows employers to organize and manage dialogues according to specific topics, have private conversations, share files, etc. Slack has become a trusted means of corporate communication because of its:
- Design. Andrew Wilkinson, one of Slack’s designers, said that one of the reasons this messenger became successful is because it looks different:
“To get attention in a crowded market, we had to find a way to get people’s attention. Most enterprise software looks like a cheap 70's prom suit — muted blues and greys everywhere — so, starting with the logo, we made Slack look like a confetti cannon had gone off. Electric blue, yellows, purples, and greens all over. We gave it the color scheme of a video game, not an enterprise collaboration product.”
Slack’s interface was made not just for fun, it helps the user understand how the messenger works and makes it easy to use.
- Integration power. New technologies appear daily on the market and in case you need to include one in already existing software, there might be some problems. This doesn’t concern Slack, as it can integrate any technological innovations. For example, if you use Google Drive a lot in your work process, Slack can include its functions and allow you to interact with files from this platform without leaving the messenger.
Slack looks and feels different. The way the visual aspect is connected with this platform functionality makes it special and popular among users.
Revenue: $222 million
The last example of SaaS companies is Lastpass, an online password management system. It stores and organizes passwords and logins on different devices. People love it as it is secure and convenient. Still, there are a lot of similar platforms on the market. Here are a few of LastPass’s advantages.
- User-friendliness. A well-organized interface divides passwords into categories with appropriate icons. Each icon is well-designed and helps intuitively locate and find passwords. The setup process is also very easy and quick. For example, in order to start using a LastPass browser extension, you have to enter an email and select a password.
- Cross-platform support. LastPass is designed to work well on different platforms and browsers. You can use it efficiently on Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Dolphin, or Safari. As well, it is very easy to import data from other applications.
Customers like that LastPass is really easy to use. They prefer this password management system as it saves their time and doesn’t confuse them.
All the companies in the above list are top representatives of the SaaS industry that set trends and form the overall look of a successful SaaS business. They provide different services to satisfy different clients’ needs. Analyzing the strengths of popular SaaS firms has shown us they have got something in common. They all strive to make their product easy to use even for a child.
We hope that this article will help you understand in which direction to move when creating your SaaS product. To learn more on this read What Makes a Good SaaS Product.