The number of software-as-a-service or SaaS solutions has exploded in recent years. With a total market size estimated at $104 billion in 2020, it’s not surprising that SaaS has become a thriving, yet competitive space. As a result, the table stakes in winning and retaining clients as a subscription business has never been higher.
To stay competitive, the most successful SaaS businesses are exploring new add-ons services to maximize the value customers get from their product. As a result, they will consistently earn their place in a user’s ever growing SaaS stack. But where to start?
In a recent McKinsey study, 41% of companies say they are actively using data to drive new revenue for their business. What’s more among top performers, a striking 17% claims that more than 20% of their total revenue is generated by analytics-based offerings. In other words, dashboards sell.
But what is the best way to upsell your existing users with an analytics offering? In this article, we’ll explore 3 ways your SaaS can effectively monetize an analytics offering.
1. Standard dashboards as an upsell
Option 1: Offer dashboards only in higher pricing plans
Some companies see the value of analytics right out the gate. So instead of monetizing their dashboards, they offer dashboards to all users. In every pricing tier. Too bad, because you’d be giving up a huge amount of leverage and limiting your expansion revenue.
Your subscription business model most likely has different paid tiers. Maybe even a freemium model. Let’s say you’re running a SaaS company, providing a platform for email marketing. Your pricing tiers look as follows:
In case you’re looking for ways to upsell clients from Free to Pro to Enterprise, a dashboard is a seriously effective way to nudge up the value of your paid tiers.
To illustrate, you could decide to offer dashboards only to customers on the paid Pro & Enterprise plan. This lets you upsell data-hungry marketers from Free to Pro, giving them access to a bunch of new marketing insights.
This is the perfect way to get them off the freemium plan and increase their users. Because the more value you add, the higher your chances of turning them into power users of your product. For example, have a look at how one of our clients, Strobbo, is doing this for their personnel management platform. Dashboards are a strategic feature to upsell clients from the mid to high-end pricing tier:
Option 2: Give clients a taste to boost analytics upsell
If you’re initially disappointed with the number of upgrades from one plan to another, you can still think of additional tactics to boost the analytics upsell. Perhaps your users just aren’t seeing the value of analytics without trying it out first?
In that case, you can simply offer them a taste. Enable a free trial with all features, which eventually expires unless they upgrade. The only caveat is that your user might not gather enough data during a trial to prove its worth. In that case, you may consider the following upsell path.
Option 3: Basic vs advanced reporting in different pricing tiers
For some SaaS companies, it might make sense to offer dashboards in every pricing tier. Even in freemium models. In this case, you can take a tiered approach to analytics. For example, the free plan offers some basic dashboards, and you make it clear that upgrading unlocks a deeper level of insights.
Add an upgrade button below your basic dashboard, to make it clear that you offer more advanced analytics. Or a “register interest” button, so that sales can follow up. Pair this with a customer case study that shows the immediate value, and you’ll see a vast improvement in your ability to upsell, using analytics as the trigger.
Virtual events platform Hopin uses this approach to upsell users straight inside the app:
Ideally, as a SaaS company, you can test out all these approaches alongside pricing experiments to find a sweet spot that maximizes both revenue and churn reduction. The only issue is that dashboards typically aren’t a core focus for your business. So, developing this in-house draws resources away from other areas. As a result, it can easily take months to adapt to a shift in strategy.
Turning to an embedded dashboard solution helps you avoid the burden of starting from scratch and redirecting resources. As a result, you’ll bring the time to production and costs (including maintenance) down ten-fold.
2. Sell dashboards as an add-on
In the previous part, we discussed how analytics can help to upsell clients from pricing plan A to B. But the story is a bit more complex with seat-based pricing.
Imagine your Pro plan contains advanced reporting and analytics, but it only starts as of a minimum of 5 seats. What if a client really only needs 3 licenses, not wanting the 5 minimum they need for the Pro plan? Should they be denied access to your advanced analytics module? I hope not! They could be missing out on a ton of added value for which they actually want to pay.
When the next tier doesn’t actually align with your user, find an alternative way to let them pay for dashboard features. This will help them gain more value from your offering, and enable them to grow into your new tier in time. Managers and decisionmakers tend to be more data-driven with their decisions, so you could actually be holding them back from increasing their usage on your platform.
A perfect example is to price analytics as an add-on. In other words, set a fixed pricing for analytics access, next to your seat-based pricing plans. Take a look at how Intercom is tackling this concept of “add-ons”. Apart from their seat-based plans, they offer add-on modules as shown below. Analytics could fit right into this add-on section as a separate upsell track.
3. Custom dashboards as an upsell
Offering template dashboards for every user in different price plans is a highly scalable scalable approach. As is clear by now, this quite easily fits it into the most common SaaS pricing models. But what if your client has a use case that requires a more custom reporting dashboard?
With the right Embedded Analytics partner, you have plenty of options to accomplish this. You can easily offer your highest paying Business/Enterprise Users a custom analytics setup. And this without breaking the bank or needing months of development.
How? Well, your largest and most important customers likely have an Account Manager, so inevitably they will share feedback & ask for improvements. More often than not, customizing analytics to their needs is one of them. Imagine turning around saying “Sure thing!”, and having a fresh dashboard up and running the next day, that fully meets their needs. With a low code embedded analytics solution you can empower your team to do just that, without the back and forth between AM’s – Product – Engineers.
Intent Technologies – a construction tech platform – has implemented a great example of this. Other than a standard reporting module, they offer more customized dashboards to Enterprise customers. Thanks to this approach, they were able to close deals they would have lost if it weren’t for custom analytics.
These custom dashboards can be part of a wider analytics strategy across different pricing plans as well. One of our clients, resource planning software Timewax, has proven to be a great example of this. Within their pricing model, users get more customized analytics as they move up to higher pricing plans.
5. Whitelabel dashboard editor for clients
Lastly, you may find customers wanting to actually create their dashboards themselves. In that case, whitelabeling is the next step.
Grant your clients access to a dashboard editor that looks like your own. Instead of offering integrations with standalone BI tools, modern analytics platforms like Cumul.io allow you to fully customize the dashboarding experience to your branding. Adapt the logo, branding, or even the URL to a custom subdomain. Your users won’t even notice they are using third-party technology. As a result, you can wow your largest clients without actually building out an entire analytics stack.
Validate your analytics price setting, before scaling it to a larger customer base
Position your whitelabel analytics module as “exclusive”, increasing the potential for upsell
Start monetizing your platform’s data
Are you already monetizing your platform’s data? Recent research shows that only 1 in 12 companies are actually monetizing their data to its fullest extent. So there’s still a lot of untapped potential, allowing you to outrun your lagging competitors.
With the right embedded analytics partner to power your reporting layer, you can get a full-blown dashboard module up and running in as little as a month! Want to give your revenue engine a boost? Talk to one of product experts today.
Charlie is an AE at Cumul.io, where he advocates our cause of being the go to solution for SaaS embedded analytics. Previously, he worked as an AE at Paddle where he helped customers shape their go to market strategy through their international payments platform.