Software as a Service (SaaS) subscriptions have carved out a significant niche in the business world, especially among small enterprises. A new study by B2B Reviews provides insightful data on how small businesses are using SaaS subscriptions, how they measure these tools’ success, and what the future of SaaS use might look like for them.
B2B Reviews discovered that small businesses are increasingly turning to SaaS tools, with 35% currently using them and an additional 16% intending to do so soon. Despite this, 48% had only been using their current SaaS tools for under six months, indicating a recent uptick in adoption. The study highlighted the following as the most utilized SaaS tools:
- Zoom (46%)
- WordPress (39%)
- QuickBooks (38%)
- Microsoft Teams (25%)
- Google Analytics (24%)
Most small businesses allocated more than $4,500 annually for SaaS subscriptions, and 23% had increased their SaaS budget this year, with a significant portion being invested in marketing, CRM, and sales software.
For marketing, SaaS tools like email automation platforms and analytics software help businesses target their audience and gain insights into their customers’ behavior. In Customer Relationship Management (CRM), SaaS platforms enable businesses to centralize their customer data management so they can improve relationship-building and ensure personalized customer interactions. Sales software broadly assists them in streamlining sales processes, managing leads, and optimizing conversion strategies to help drive more revenue.
These tools make SaaS a valuable partner for small businesses, helping them enhance customer relationships and bolster their sales and marketing efforts.
When choosing new SaaS tools, the study found businesses most often prioritized the following:
- Cost value (39%)
- User-friendliness (31%)
- Data security (19%).
However, these factors present a few challenges, with high subscription fees (40%) and a lack of expertise in new software tools (18%) standing out as the primary hurdles. To navigate these challenges, about one-third of small-business owners took advantage of demos and free trial periods to evaluate SaaS tools before subscribing.
Moreover, businesses are increasingly seeking additional solutions to these challenges. For instance, to combat the issue of high subscription fees, businesses might explore group purchasing organizations or consortiums that allow them to access bulk rates for SaaS tools, thereby reducing individual subscription costs.
To address the lack of expertise, businesses are investing in training programs, online courses, and workshops to enhance their team’s skills in using new software tools. They also turn to freelance experts or consulting agencies to help them implement new SaaS tools smoothly with as few workflow disruptions as possible. Peer networks and online forums are also helpful avenues for businesses to find advice for overcoming common challenges they might run into when adopting and implementing SaaS.
According to the study, businesses predominantly measured the effectiveness of SaaS tools through the following metrics:
- Increased productivity and efficiency (34%)
- User-friendliness (30%)
- Overall business improvement (28%).
Nearly a quarter of small-business owners also considered reduced costs and minimized errors as indicators of successful SaaS implementation.
In addition to these metrics, businesses should establish a standard framework for evaluating the long-term impact of SaaS tools on their organizational goals and ROI. Setting clear KPIs related to specific SaaS tool functions, such as customer acquisition cost, lifetime value, and churn rate for CRM software, can provide tangible data on its performance.
Conducting regular surveys and feedback sessions with team members who frequently use these tools can also offer insights into similar impacts and potential areas for improvement. By integrating qualitative and quantitative data points like these, businesses can assess the value and impact of SaaS tools holistically, making sure they meet their business needs and help them progress towards reaching their goals.
SaaS appears to be on an upward trajectory regarding its small business use, with companies consistently evaluating their tech stacks and budgets to accommodate emerging technologies. Despite concerns about cost and security, the prevailing sentiment among small businesses leans towards optimizing and enhancing their operations with SaaS tools.
SaaS subscriptions have gained a firm foothold among small businesses, offering a myriad of tools to help them be more successful. However, businesses still need to navigate certain challenges related to cost, expertise, and integration. The future seems to at least hold a sustained, if not amplified, role for SaaS in small businesses, with a focus on optimizing productivity, enhancing customer interactions, and bolstering the bottom line.