Make it Easy to Deploy

"Some Assembly Required." Three terrifying words for the "screwdriver-challenged." To those moms and dads who may have just lived through the experience, I'm sorry for reviving ugly memories.

What's scary about bikes, dollhouses and the Wii is scary for software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, too. The folks subscribing to SaaS solutions do so, in part, to avoid hassles. That includes not just hardware hassles and upgrade hassles, but implementation and deployment hassles, too.

SaaS providers should consider ways to minimize that implementation hassle for their customers. I recently talked to a company selling a SaaS solution to help non-profits manage fund-raising. They've put in place a standard implementation program that they offer along with their subscription. Under the program, a project manager walks the customer through a standard set-up process - migrating donor information, graphic design, automated email set-up, etc. - and holds their hands through the first few months of usage.

The company reports that these implementation services have been received well by customers and removed barriers to selling. It works especially well for organizations that don't have a dedicated resource to manage the system. That lack of a dedicated resource is likely the same reason these organizations were attracted to a SaaS solution in the first place.

This issue refers back to one of my "SaaS Marketing Essentials: Do's and Don'ts," namely "sell the entire service," not just the features, narrowly defined. Besides adding lots of functions, make the solution easy to buy, easy to deploy, and easy to renew. And tout those "easy's" as part of the total value proposition.

By the way, I have no idea what you should do with the handful of nuts, bolts, and washers leftover after assembling that bicycle, but I'd suggest your child wear a helmet and avoid steep hills.