SaaS B2B Market Research

Why SaaS Companies Need Market Research

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Authored byRaeann Bilow

SaaS companies face unique challenges due to a constantly evolving competitive and technology landscape. SaaS companies require specialized market research partners who can understand these challenges and design research that take these dynamics into account from the start.

The following case studies illustrate exactly how we’ve managed to, for over 16 years, meet the needs of SaaS companies when it comes to market research.

SaaS Acts Fast

Perhaps more than any other industry, the technology landscape is extremely fast-paced and quickly evolving. Here are just a few proof points that support this assertion:

  • Out of the top 25 companies with the most patents granted in 2021, 16 of them were technology companies.
  • The tech sector has seen the 2nd largest number of mergers and acquisitions since 1985.
  • Additionally, since 2021, the technology industry has seen the highest percentage of deals compared to all other sectors.
  • The pace of innovation and development in the tech sector has forced organizations to invent agile development methodologies such as Scrum, that many other types of organizations and industrial sectors have now embraced.
  • Finally, the industry with the highest share of R/D spend is the technology industry.

Thus, for the tech sector more than any other, market research that was conducted even a year or two ago may already be irrelevant. This makes it even more critical that these organizations pick a partner who knows SaaS intimately and therefore knows when an insight should be expired or retired.

Cascade Case Studies

A client of ours had previously conducted a competitive intelligence study that concluded that they were facing no significant competitive threats. However, recently, our client’s sales team had been hearing about two specific competitor companies repeatedly. Once these two competitors began stealing deals from our client, they requested we investigate.

Our research showed that these two companies were indeed threats. Over the past year, both competitors had added many new capabilities to their solutions. Our client’s prospects were taking notice, and these competitors were winning more deals.

If our client had dismissed the comments from their sales team and relied solely on the study conducted over a year ago, a limited number of losses might have turned into a flood. Instead, they understood the need to listen to their sales team and investigate further with a robust study.

Overall, our clients understand the importance of staying on top of their competitive landscape.

Beyond competitor-specific analysis, other studies such as brand tracking research can highlight marketplace changes. For example, brand studies can illustrate how awareness, perception, adoption, and advocacy change, over time, in favor of your brand or a competitor.

Saas: A Unique Dialect

The tech industry thrives on continuous innovation and development, constantly devising new approaches to address customer needs. This dynamic environment leads to an ever-changing array of terms, phrases, and frameworks unique to the sector. Each year introduces a fresh set of buzzwords to comprehend, alongside a collection of terms that fade into obscurity as once-dominant technologies become outdated.

These facts require a research partner who focuses on this space to understand this unique dialect. A thorough understanding of the unique aspects of the SaaS market is essential if a research firm wants to conduct an effective interview, focus group, quant study, or any type of research activity that targets this market.

Having this perspective allows a moderator to probe deeper into the answers received during an interview or the discussion that arises during a focus group. It also allows a research team to design a survey instrument that truly gets to the heart of what needs to be measured.

This level of depth and understanding also allows researchers to understand to dig deep with more technical research participants. Traditionally, we’ve noticed that these types of research participants have developed a habit of oversimplifying their answers for researchers who don’t know the SaaS market. This insight gap can be easily closed by a firm that already understands both the business and technology side of SaaS companies.

Cascade Case Studies

We recently conducted a message testing project for a client to understand how different personas responded to the website copy on their homepage. The client was trying to appeal to two distinct audiences: IT leaders and LoB leaders. However, in their attempt to develop messaging that would work for both, they found that it failed to resonate with either group. IT leaders felt that the copy was focused on business needs rather than addressing their technical concerns, while the highly technical language put off LoB leaders.

Our client ultimately decided to create two separate pages: one that addressed the business concerns of LoB leaders, and one that delved into the technical details that IT leaders needed. The research helped them understand that while a single web page might have been more efficient, two distinct pages were needed.

Mergers and Acquisitions Run Rampant

After a merger and acquisition (M&A), companies often commission B2B research to assist them in determining whether to rename the acquired company, keep it as a separate entity, adopt the new company’s identity, or merge two brand identities.

The number of M&As in the tech industry is growing at a faster pace than in any other sector. As a result, research that provides guidance to companies on how to proceed most effectively after an M&A is crucial for SaaS companies.

Cascade Case Studies

One of our clients recently acquired a company and intended to simply retire this smaller company’s brand. However, our research found that many customers had a strong affinity for the small company’s brand. This smaller company was seen as a local mom-and-pop type of business, and its brand spoke to those attributes.

If our client had hastily retired the acquired company’s branding they likely would have failed to benefit from the acquisition as much as they might have otherwise. Instead, our research showed that they needed to take a slow, measured approach toward merging the two companies at least from the perspective of current customers of the smaller organization.

Ultimately, our client decided to preserve the overall look and feel of the smaller company by adding smaller text under the brand’s logo, indicating they were now part of the larger organization.

B2B SaaS Market Research: It’s Different

No two industries are the same in B2B. Each has its own language that they use, personas that they target, and landscape in which they operate. For SaaS companies, these differences are profoundly unique.

That’s why SaaS companies need to be certain that the market researcher that they partner with has a deep understanding of the nuances and complexities that are specific to the tech industry. Without that knowledge, research projects run the risk of being too surface-level to provide any real value or, worse yet, deliver inaccurate information to SaaS companies.

So if you’re looking for a research partner that understands the unique landscape of SaaS, then give us a call. With 16 years of experience conducting market research just for B2B tech, we have the expertise that’s needed to deliver credible research that SaaS companies need to scale successfully.

Cascade Insights is a hybrid market research and marketing firm that specializes in the B2B tech sector. For more than 16 years, we have conducted powerful B2B market research for SaaS companies. To learn more, visit our B2B market research page.

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