The digital world today is driven by Software-as-a-Service(SaaS) products, and user acquisition and conversion rates need to be prioritized when trying to achieve sustainable growth.
Sign-ups are a very crucial part of a SaaS Business. Most companies spend a large amount of money on acquiring new sign-ups. There are two ways a user can sign-up for a SaaS product – Considered Sign-up and Fast Sign-up. Let’s break down both of these.
A considered sign-up is a process where you give your visitors time to go through your product or service and pricing structure before they make a decision to sign-up.
In this approach, users are required to provide detailed information about themselves, and their organization such as company size, industry, and pain points. This ensures that only visitors that are genuinely interested are signing up for your product or service resulting in fewer initial sign-ups but attracting high-quality users that will most likely turn into paying customers. This process focuses on the quality of leads rather than quantity.
The information provided by the user at the time of sign-up can be used to target marketing campaigns effectively and also will help build a user base with quality leads for your sales team to convert later.
This model is best suited for Enterprise Companies that usually request a demo and are looking for quality leads that can be converted into paying customers. Most typical considered sign-ups require users to enter their credit card information. This causes users to pause and “consider” signing up which leads to only quality leads actually going through the entire process.
Let us look at both pros and cons of a considered sign-up process:
- Collects more information about potential customers
- This will lead to a higher-quality sign-up
- This approach is effective for businesses whose primary target group is enterprise customers
- Since a lot of information is being asked for, only few signups end up happening
- It is time-consuming, leading to a lot of people abandoning the process mid-way
Example – 1: Salesforce
An example of a considered sign-up is Salesforce, which is a CRM platform that helps you with marketing, sales, and commerce. They offer an entire suite of connected apps. They follow a considered sign-up method –
They are more focused on providing the customer with more opportunities to learn about the product before signing up. And when the user decides to sign-up for the free trial, they are expected to fill up a form with details about themselves and the company. Once the form is submitted a customer support representative will follow up on that lead.
Example – 2: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is the world’s first social media management platform that handles everything a social media manager does on a day-to-day basis. It aids a social media manager with pretty much everything from curating content to scheduling posts, managing teams to measuring RoI.
Hootsuite also provides users with the opportunity to look around, understand the product and also request a demo before finally deciding to sign-up.
But once the user decides to sign-up, they are taken through a 3-step process before signing up to start a free trial. Users are prompted to enter their credit card details which will be used to start a subscription-based model once their trial period ends. This makes sure that only genuine customers sign-up for the trial, and is usually the step where a lot of users who are not actually serious or are a bad fit, abandon the process which leads to only potential leads.
In conclusion, a considered sign-up strategy is ideal for businesses that are more interested in the quality of leads and who will most likely turn into paying customers. Typically a sales team will be employed to pursue these leads and convert them.
A fast sign-up is typically used by small businesses and startups that are looking to acquire large numbers of sign-ups. It is designed to be quick and easy.
In this method, the sign-up process is frictionless, meaning only a few basic details are required to be filled by the user, such as their name, email address and password. Or even in some scenarios, the users are allowed to use one of their social logins to sign-up. This option to sign-up is usually presented to the users as soon as they land on the website. The goal for this strategy is to bring in as many leads as possible, hence the concentration is on the quantity and not quality.
This method is adopted by companies that focus on quantity of leads and use an automatic marketing strategy. There are several benefits of using the fast sign-up method. Firstly, it reduces the number of abandoned signups as opposed to the considered signup method. When the signup happens in 1-2 clicks, users are more likely to go through the process. Secondly, the conversion also might increase as users get to use the product without having to go through a lot of steps before signing up.
A lot of freemium companies like Dropbox, Slack and Spotify use this method where very minimal details are collected at the time of sign-up and provide the users with a free account and limited features. Once the user wants to expand or use more features, these companies see some conversions.
Let us dissect the pros and cons of fast sign-ups:
- Helps the company acquire large number of users quickly
- Can help increase the conversion rate
- It also reduces the number of abandoned signups
- Since everyone signs up the quality of leads are low
- It makes it difficult to collect all the required information about potential customers to run targeted marketing campaigns
- It is less effective for businesses that are targeting enterprise customers
Spotify is a very popular music streaming platform that plays songs, podcasts, and videos from creators across the world. They are primarily a free streaming service, but you can choose to upgrade to a subscription model.
But if you want to access any content you are prompted to sign-up for free. Spotify provides users with the ability to sign-up with social media accounts as well or sign-up by filling out the form with basic details like name, email, password, and date of birth.
To summarize, this method surely does get people to sign-up but the number of users who will turn into paying customers are very few. Hence this method is best suited for companies that provide a free trial or want to give users a demo of the product.
A Mixed Approach
A lot of companies have a mixed approach to sign-ups. They have the option of a fast sign-up as well as considered sign-up.
MailChimp is an email marketing and marketing automation platform. They have a mixed approach when it comes to sign-ups.
They have the option to sign-up right on their landing page but also give users an option to explore their pricing plans.
When a user clicks on the sign-up button they are redirected to the pricing page where users can explore the various options.
If a user chooses to sign-up for free then the “Fast sign-up” method is used, where users are asked to enter very basic information like email address, username and password. But users can use only limited features. And if they want to expand their features they will have to purchase one of the paid subscriptions.
And if a user wants to buy one of the paid plans, then they have to go through a multiple-step sign-up process. A lot of information is requested like username, password, address, and finally the billing information.
Which Approach is Right for Your Business?
The right approach for your SaaS business depends on what your goal and target audience is.
If you are looking to acquire a large number of users quickly without concentrating on the quality of leads then fast sign-up might be the best option. Any automation tool can be used to onboard users and turn them into paying customers.
But if you are an enterprise business that is focusing on quality rather than quantity, then going the considered sign-up route might be the best approach. With lesser leads to follow up, your sales team has the opportunity to actually dedicate time to new users, helping to build a personal connection with them and converting them into paying customers.
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