The SaaS model made scaling and licensing easier but posed a real challenge to customer acquisition and retention. You have just a few seconds to show the value of a product. Then a customer's attention inevitably goes further. A good user experience (UX) is crucial to keeping your customers’ attention. The more engaged and satisfied your customers are, the more likely they are to continue using your product, which directly impacts your revenue stream.
There are already a thousand and one ways to boost SaaS revenues via UX. And all the same, a one-size-fits-all magic pill is still to be discovered. We did our best to extract and synthesize the most efficient and universal approaches to UX improvement. They apply to any SaaS product, be it B2B, B2C, or a marketplace.
Keep on reading to discover how to increase sales with UX and implement these transformative strategies in your business.
Optimize your funnel and remove barriers
First and foremost. Stop thinking of your user experience in terms of a website. Visually pleasing sites are not always those that convert well. If you really want to increase SaaS sales, your website is no more than a collection of visual and textual components. Forget such phrases as a homepage, a web page, a popup, and that sort of thing. Instead, consider your site as a sales funnel.
Get a vision
As you create your website and curate content, consider it a sales funnel, aka a buyer’s journey. This journey is a step-by-step process your potential customer undergoes, moving from the moment they first learn about a product to its eventual purchase.
From this perspective, your UX/UI becomes not an eclectic kit of rigid web elements. Contrarily, it turns into a strategic framework, where each website page corresponds to a specific stage in the buyer’s journey, motivating the prospect to progress further down the funnel. But how do you encourage your potential customers?
Make a strong first impression in the Awareness Stage through an intuitive website design, a clear value proposition, and engaging product demos. Once you have your prospect hooked, offer hassle-free onboarding, guiding a newcomer through the product's core functionalities without overwhelming them. In the Exploration Stage, providing detailed and personalized information becomes key. Implementing features like live chat support or AI-driven recommendations can help in addressing specific queries or preferences of the users. Lastly, in the Conversion Stage, simplifying the purchase process is crucial. This includes having a straightforward and secure checkout process. Post-purchase, ensure that support and updates are consistently provided. This not only helps in retaining customers but also encourages them to become advocates for your product.
HelpScout, a customer service software provider, showcases a great sales funnel with a blend of simplicity and functionality. Their homepage grabs attention with an intuitive design, clear value proposition, and easy-to-find CTAs for exploring the platform, trying a free trial, or getting a demo.
Source: all the images of the website are taken from HelpScout
They smartly balance detail and clarity on their features page, highlighting key functionalities without clutter. Additionally, HelpScout leverages customer logos and testimonials for credibility and maintains a transparent, user-friendly pricing page. A website has a rich knowledge base filled with guides and educational materials. Users can also ask questions, providing easy access to support and guidance.
On their pricing page, HelpScout features three tiers: Standard, Plus, and Pro, along with a CTA for a free trial. They apply the Law of Visibility by differentiating the 'Plus' plan CTA in blue, in contrast to the 'Standard' and 'Pro' CTAs in white, subtly guiding users towards the 'Plus' option.
This thoughtful approach to design and content makes navigating their sales funnel a smooth, user-friendly experience.
Stick to the numbers
But how do you know that your funnel leads toward the goal and eventually increases your SaaS revenue? The metric that would never lie to you about this is the conversion rate.
In precise terms, the conversion rate shows the percentage of your website visitors who take a desired action on your site. For example, they may explore your SaaS product further, buy it, or sign up for your newsletter. High conversion is exactly what makes an average web page a funnel that boosts your sales.
The lesson is: most visited webpages of a SaaS funnel must be high converting; otherwise, they do not make sense. More attention and energy to the conversion means more sales and higher revenues. Period.
UX solutions to convert decisively
The science of UX offers an almost immense spectrum of ace technologies to turn your web platform into a magnetic spiral attracting commercial customers. They include one-way organization of the homepage, UI tactics aimed to enhance emotional acceptance and trust, expert practices of market research and analysis, methodologies of in-depth work with buyer persona(s) and customer journey map, and content customization to expand on your target users.
Understand your customers better than anyone
Understanding your customers is about tuning in to their needs, preferences, habits, and challenges. But why is this so important, and what does this have to do with your SaaS UX design and sales? The reasons are pretty promising.
When you truly know your customers, you can deliver a UX that closely aligns with their expectations. And once your product nails that intuitive and easy-to-use vibe, users cannot help but engage with it. A slick UI/UX also smoothes out the learning curve, increases customer satisfaction and retention, and, ultimately, boosts your SaaS sales.
A frustrating UX is a one-way ticket to user churn. By learning customer preferences, designers can address their pain points and prevent issues to keep as many users as possible. Beyond just that, with insights into your customer base, analytics, and user feedback, you can tweak and continuously refine your product.
Understanding your customers like no one else will require some instruments. Consider leveraging the following ones:
Surveys and questionnaires;
Usability, accessibility, prototype, and A/B testing;
Analytics and heatmaps;
Customer feedback monitoring, including such channels as support emails, chat, forums, and social media;
Ethnographic research, which involves observing how customers use your product in their natural environment;
Card sorting and tree testing to understand how users search and categorize information;
HubSpot’s case for inspiration
HubSpot's journey to refining its record page detected critical usage issues impacting its sales and support efficiency. The initial step involved assessing user satisfaction through metrics like CSAT and NPS, setting the stage for comprehensive usability testing.
In testing over 40 activities on the record timeline, the team detected critical issues like unresponsiveness and limited functionality, which contributed to an 11% drop in user numbers, leading to an 11% user reduction. They also tracked the time taken to reply to emails after opening a record, which was, on average, about 8 minutes.
HubSpot's strategy to reduce this delay involved dynamic real-time experiments, guided by direct user feedback. This user-centric approach led to significant interface enhancements, including the elimination of white space, decreasing loading times by removing non-essential information, and a more intuitive data interaction and action process on the record.
The results were quantitatively impressive: HubSpot's total revenue rose by 33%, reaching $1.731 billion, a significant jump from 2021.
Convert customer feedback into your product strategy
Integrating research findings, testing outcomes, and customer feedback into product development isn’t always straightforward. The feasibility of this depends on various factors like the market niche, product specifics, budget constraints, and the underlying technical framework.
However, what you can consistently do is process these insights and elevate the feedback from a tactical to a strategic level.
Raising feedback from tactical to strategic level
This is more than simply reacting to feedback regarding a particular problem, error, or deficiency. The support team deals with such kinds of tasks. Transforming feedback into a strategy involves weaving its insights into your project’s key visionary documents, such as a concept paper, roadmap, strategy document, user stories and personas, etc.
This includes feedback analysis, its classification, and segmentation, filtering off occasional and non-essential data, making hypotheses, conducting additional user testing to prove hypotheses, and other UX techniques.
If you managed to interest a customer at the starting line, don’t celebrate just yet. CTA response is only the beginning. Studies show that 74% of users abandon the product if the onboarding process is poor.
At the same time, don’t hurry to lead a potential customer to the signup page immediately after responding to CTA if you want your partnership to be solid and lasting. If you skip a proper onboarding process, signing up too quickly might lead to them unsubscribing just as fast.
Ideally, a potential customer should see and realize your product’s value before, or at least while, they check out the pricing page or subscription form. When a newcomer gets impressed with your SaaS opportunities from the start, they’ll strive to become a full member of the user community.
When a customer first visits your landing page, they’re just getting to know your technology. This means their impression and interest in the proposed value are still very superficial and fragile. You may use different approaches during and after registration to fully win their hearts and minds.
As a result, they will get a clear understanding that your product is the real deal to meet their needs and manage their pains.
Displaying a demo video that effectively showcases your product’s functionality;
Proposing a free-trial period to let a user try their hand on the platform;
Inserting subtle value reminders throughout the registration process, which highlight your product’s strengths;
Initiating proactive support by having your support team members reach out to customers early on.
The Ukrainian startup Grammarly demonstrates SaaS onboarding UX at its best. This popular writing assistant follows a “learn by doing” approach. When users first open the app, Grammarly welcomes them with a demo document. It suggests users jump right in and fix some mistakes, letting them try out its features on the spot. It also offers tooltips and hotspots so users instantly grasp the product’s functionality.
A Webflow website builder redefines onboarding with a unique twist. Starting with a brief survey, the platform continues to guide users with helpful tooltips as they explore its features. Moving from one feature to another triggers these tooltips, offering instant, spot-on advice.
A social media management platform, Sprout Social, needs data from users’ social media accounts to help them plan posts and check out the results. However, asking for access to this data might make users hesitate. If they say no, Sprout Social doesn’t give up and proactively sorts out any worries they might have.
Start with the sales funnel we mentioned — it’s your launchpad for crafting stellar UX for SaaS platforms. Before working on the information architecture and hierarchy, put yourself in the user’s shoes. Consider what they’d likely want to do on your website first and the options they might explore later. Once you’ve figured out this pyramid of user needs, you’re ready to jump into the design process.
Crystal clear USP
An efficient setup must have a clear unique selling proposition (USP). Your landing page must loudly claim your edge, and other pages should echo the value you bring. Check out Slack — they rock it by boldly saying, “Where work happens,” making it clear why users need to hop on board.
How to organize your website
Make sure your information architecture takes the lead — it stands behind organizing and labeling your website content. Then, work on the hierarchy to put all the site’s elements in a neat order. Here are several SaaS design principles that might help you with just that:
Prioritize user needs in your navigation structure, leading with what matters most to them;
Group related content logically, reflecting how users perceive the product’s functionalities;
Use visual elements like size, color, and contrast to guide users through the information;
Design a clear and intuitive website structure;
Identify key messages and place them strategically across your website;
Maintain consistency in design elements, like buttons, colors, and fonts, for a cohesive experience.
Use video to improve activation
A modern customer likes to be amused. As Nicolas Carr reasonably stated in his notorious article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, mankind gradually withdraws from the practice of deep reading. Good or bad, but a SaaS founder must effectively use this trend in product design.
If you have something important to tell a customer about your product, don’t make extensive copies. Better use a short movie trailer or a podcast. The statistics are unambiguous: 83% of users prefer videos over text and audio to learn about products.
Frameworks that sell
The practice reveals several UX areas where videos work especially effectively. This includes greeting introductory clips on a homepage, demo videos, short podcasts with customer testimonials and case studies, and brief instructive videos. Salesforce, a leading CRM platform, does just that by featuring customer success story videos on its site.
At the same time, you may go beyond your main web platform and add additional funnels speaking of your product in a video format. Creating a YouTube channel with educational series, updates, and vlogs is perhaps the most popular strategy in this respect. Just check Buffer, a social media management tool with a YouTube channel loaded with tutorials, tips, and helpful insights on social media strategies. Take even more inspiration from the dedicated channels of Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, and Zendesk.
Optimize your pricing page
The landing page is not a decisive point of your customer’s journey. It is a pricing page that indicates whether the entire conversion is a success. The reason is obvious: a real value exchange happens at this stage when a new client pays to accept your offer.
Nobody normally likes to part with money, and even motivated customers think twice before closing the transaction. If anything distracts, frustrates, or confuses them at this moment, they may easily and irrationally quit the process, like a scared lizard.
While we think we make deliberate decisions, our emotions, fears, and unperceived mental programs are our real puppeteers. The studies show that most of the human decision-making procedures are unconscious, based on cognitive bias, and sometimes irrational.
Reap benefits of good research
The design of a pricing page has to be based on profound analysis and user testing. They reveal which critical information is missing, what is imperfect in the visual organization of data for a target client group, and how competitors with higher sales approach this important stage.
This is what the Hubspot product team did in their pricing page redesign. They eventually achieved an increase in the number of Marketing Qualified Leads by 165%, and users of free products by nearly 90%.
Solutions that work
UX design offers a wide spectrum of solutions to take human psychology into account. You may create a pricing page that conveys an air of availability and gain, instead of scarcity and loss traditionally associated with money spending. For this purpose, you may use UI solutions to expose your features and benefits more attractively, use specific price formatting, or implement tailored microcopy that makes the most of basic heuristics rules.
On the flip side, Microsoft 365’s pricing page for business could be the poster child for what not to do.
The UX of this pricing page is challenged by its dense clusters of text and features that can overwhelm users, reducing the clarity that's crucial for quick decision-making. The overlapping of the add-on information with plan details introduces unnecessary complexity, potentially confusing. While the 'Buy now' buttons are clear, the uniform blue color used across different links and CTAs doesn't effectively prioritize the most important actions, leading to a lack of visual hierarchy. Additionally, the tight spacing between sections contributes to a crowded appearance, detracting from the overall readability and user experience.
Transparent pricing in SaaS isn’t just about showing the cost; it’s about trust. When companies are upfront about pricing, it builds credibility and comfort for potential customers. Besides that, it simplifies decision-making by letting customers quickly check if a product fits their budget. With clear pricing, there’s less back-and-forth communication about costs, speeding up the sales process.
Of course, there are instances where transparent pricing isn’t the way to go. It may not be the best option if you offer highly customizable SaaS solutions or target large enterprises that require personalized pricing structures.
Here’s when to include the transparent pricing page in your UX for SaaS:
If your SaaS product caters to small to medium-sized businesses or individual consumers;
If your product is relatively straightforward with a clear-tiered pricing structure;
If your market segment values transparency and quick decision-making.
Craft compelling CTAs
Creating call-to-action (CTA) buttons that really “pop” is another way how to increase SaaS sales with UX. When you nail their design, you’ll see a significant increase in user engagement and conversion rates. UI designers are the aces here, making sure CTAs are visible and compelling.
Make them stand out
Start with high contrast. It’s non-negotiable. Your CTAs must scream, “Look at me!” among all the other website content.
Buffer, Hotjar, and Shopify each present CTAs that are not only visually striking but also crafted to convert visitors into users with ease. These buttons are smartly positioned and use vibrant colors that pop, guiding users naturally toward the next step. Shopify ups the ante by pairing its CTA with an attractive promotional offer, adding a sweet deal to the mix. Buffer reassures potential users with a no-commitment sign-up, lowering the barrier to entry, while Hotjar offers flexible sign-up options, acknowledging diverse user preferences. Each platform demonstrates a keen understanding of user experience, employing both visual appeal and user-friendly language that make clicking through feel like the obvious choice.
Strategic placement and concise copy
Put your CTAs where they logically fit. Keep them in the places where your users are most likely to make a decision or take action. Consider the psychology of color to ensure your CTA stands out, yet remains harmonious with your site’s design aesthetic. Ensure your CTA text is also tailored to engage, using direct phrases such as 'Start your free trial' or 'Sign up with Google' that lead users to take action immediately.
Testing and iterating on these elements can refine their performance, ensuring your CTAs are as effective as possible in converting visitors to active users.
Test and improve
Every design move should be backed by data. That’s why one of the SaaS UX best practices is checking your CTAs’ effectiveness through A/B testing. Experiment with different call-to-action button versions to determine what clicks with your audience.
Make it easy to get help
Offering accessible and instant help isn’t just a strategy on how to increase SaaS sales with UX; it’s the secret to winning customer loyalty. A solid support system should go beyond fixing glitches. It must become an integral element of the overall user experience.
Diverse contact options
The assistance may take various forms. Here are some of them, but the list continues:
Knowledge bases with guides;
Webinars and product events;
Live chat, especially for upsells and cross-sells;
How to support your customers right
Follow the best examples in the SaaS industry. Just look at Zapier, a workflow automation platform. The company offers a whole range of support options, including a help center, contact sales button, contact support button, chatbot, and knowledge base, among other things.
Detractors are the most valuable group of your customers.
Yes, you heard right: if you only pay attention to them, these users may become the largest contributors to your product development. By clarifying the factors that pulled some clients away from your SaaS, you get a priceless opportunity to discover — and then fix them. Forewarned is forearmed.
The rate of such unsatisfied users is called customer churn. A certain percentage of dismissals is normal and inevitable for any company. While opinions vary, for an average-sized SaaS, it is considered normal to lose about 5-7% of customers annually.
Many clients quit using a product for personal reasons. They can be simply not your target users who tried a product occasionally. In other cases, customer churn can be high in the first period after the time-to-market stage. If the product is too innovative and unusual, it will probably suffer the fate of Google Glass.
Good-bye is not always farewell
However, quite a great number of drop-out cases happened because the company was not sensitive and responsive enough to a user’s needs and challenges. Potential factors leading to this — reversible and thus manageable — type of customer churn may include:
Problems with in-app user experience;
Incapability to show the product’s value to a user;
Poor communication and customer support;
Belated reaction to the external market changes;
Unwillingness to pay the price after the end of a free trial period that was not properly elaborated by the marketing team.
By detecting and engaging with these issues in time, you can not only reduce the churn rate but even reactivate users that already came off.
The SaaS industry knows many cases when relevant measures of product improvement brought clients back and even saved the company from decay. A great one is represented by the CRM platform of a large stationery retailer Paper Source. Along with many other firms, it was close to shutdown after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to a series of effective design solutions increasing online visibility and simplifying customers’ migration from in-store to an online format, the company reached an amazing 126% increase in reactivation rate.
UX design offers numerous ways to restore the loyalty of such customers. They include preventive research methods, communication renewal strategies, customization, and other time-tested solutions.
Keeping loyal customers is more important than the acquisition of new ones. This proverbial maxim is already in all marketing textbooks. Almost every article on this subject will remind you that getting a new customer is 5 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
When it comes to keeping customers around, Moz, an SEO tool provider, is doing it right. Understanding the power of community building, they retain their customers with a dedicated feature. Members can exclusively access all sorts of helpful resources, from testing new product ideas in Moz Lab to joining marketing conferences. Ultimately, Moz Community makes customers stick with them and strengthens their loyalty.
Yet this understanding does not make SaaS businesses feel any better, because customer retention in this area is a bit more tricky compared to “hard” industries and markets. When a client buys a new car, they would not normally return it the next day or even a month. You would have at least a couple of years to demonstrate all the benefits and competitive advantages of using your brand before the time for the next purchase comes.
With SaaS products, it is all different. Customers deal with a broad choice of products with a relatively similar range of functions and services, especially when it comes to matured markets having dozens of high-end competitors in place.
Also, with the fluidity of the virtual environment, a user can more easily quit your platform at any moment with one click. No facilities visited, no documents signed. Of course, you may use such tricks as quarterly or annual subscriptions at a lower price. But this would mainly work with clients already loyal and confident in their choice.
If you did not implement any kind of referral program in your SaaS, you have missed a grand opportunity to boost sales in a geometric progression. Successes of the classical multi-level marketing (MLM) strategy, used in traditional business for decades, is nothing compared to its potential for SaaS platforms.
What changed from Amway to Binance
Previous generations of MLM dealers had to work hard taking door-to-door trips or making cold calls on the phone for hours and days. Today, we are all full-fledged internet citizens having profiles in several social communities. We create networks of dozens to thousands friends and followers that, in turn, connect to even more Internet users worldwide. They are already organized by similar interests and common ground, simplifying information exchange and consensus.
Therefore well-motivated clients may become eager marketers because this costs them nothing. They can promote your product to a crowd of like-minded people with a couple of clicks or taps since sharing functions and tools are embedded in the UX of any media platform. Engage them in a sales process with a referral program — and voila! — you have cohorts of potential clients.
How to build a strategy
This strategy provides a great variety of options. Along with direct invitation bonuses, you may develop long-run incentive systems, such as:
Multi-level partnership programs;
Compound interest correlated to the duration of a product’s use;
Discount programs for clients onboarding via referral links, as Binance does, to further simplify the negotiation work of your sales partners.
Learn from your competitors
It may sound a bit of a paradox, but you need to research your competitors to know yourself. Only by looking in the mirrors of similar products in your niche, you are capable of finding out your true position on the market, your unique features, strengths and weaknesses, and growth opportunities.
Why do you need a competitive analysis?
Most probably, you have made a profound competitive analysis at the initial stage of product development, as the UX theory mandates. If this was done, and done properly, you have laid a long-lasting foundation for steady financial growth.
This is proven by the case study of Calendly, a popular scheduling tool outsourced to a Ukrainian product development company. Its clean and functional design became a real godsend for companies during the hard times of COVID-19 lockdown.
Calendly’s founder, Tope Awotona, reviewed over 30 competitors’ scheduling apps during his research phase! “I signed up for every single one of legacy scheduling tools. I became an expert at using every single one of them. I read through their support portals, what people really liked about the product, what they hated about the product, what were they complaining about. It’s very important to know what people already like in tools they have, and what they feel is missing or poorly executed”.
Never too early, never too late
However, if your product is already launched, and you realize you did not pay enough attention to the competitive analysis, don’t be upset. You can give it an effective restart from any point of your business deployment. And this will in turn immediately spur your sales.
Moreover, even if you did everything right at the beginning, competitor research is not a one-time solution. All the market participants constantly change their strategies and improve offerings, so keeping an eye on their performance is a must for not lagging.
Be a lifetime leader in the market
Competitive analysis reveals market gaps, strengths of your competitors, and your deficiencies that can be improved. Customer reviews, qualitative studies of responsiveness, load time, and pricing, specific techniques such as “five forces” and growth-share matrix, and other UX methods are at your disposal.
Improve your design process
The best design solutions are insufficient if they are static. The entire world changes, but the SaaS world changes faster than any other realm. Competitors multiply and eagerly copy those solutions that work. Even if they do not, the lifetime of any technological know-how permanently shrinks, from decades in the 20th century to years and months in the 2020s. And today’s success is just history tomorrow.
The only way to keep afloat in this turmoil is to evolve together with the market and your technological area. How to do that? By properly organizing the process of your product design and development.
A normal design process steps well beyond creating layouts and visual components making your interfaces look smart. The actual process includes:
User research based on real communication with your end-users to define their actual problems and needs;
Market and competitor research for shaping your unique selling proposition and enhancing competitive strength;
Comprehensive UX design with hypotheses validation, making basic information architecture, customer’s journey mapping, creating buyer personas and user flows, prototyping, and usability testing;
Conducting design sprints and brand sprints with intense brainstorming to ensure that every effort and opportunity was taken to make the product better;
Design quality assurance by reviewing and checking every micro-interaction for usability convenience;
Creating high-fidelity user interfaces and design system(s) assuring the quality standard and apt for consistent follow-up changes in the product;
A proper design process allows for incredible cost optimization due to focusing on the necessary features only, reducing the time for user education, and easing the burden on technical support.
In the long run, this increases the customer satisfaction score and other metrics of your SaaS success.
When the product cycle is running like clockwork, a business owner has an opportunity to concentrate on strategic issues such as scaling or launching new products. However, organizing such a process is not a one-man job. You need a team of specialists to continuously monitor the business environment, keep a finger on the pulse of user needs, investigate the competitors, and seek every possible way to improve the product.
Value of professional UX audits for enhancing your SaaS product
While understanding the strategies in this guide will give you a solid foundation of how to increase SaaS sales with UX, there's another dimension to consider: partnering with a specialized product design agency. Such collaboration can elevate your product in several ways:
Leveraging specialized expertise that you lack: Agencies bring specialized knowledge in fields like artificial intelligence, healthcare or EdTech industries, enterprise products, and design strategy. This expertise, often not available in-house, can be pivotal in advancing your product's UX.
Infusing fresh perspectives: An external team can offer innovative solutions and creative problem-solving, providing a fresh viewpoint that can be hard to cultivate internally.
Cost-effectiveness and flexibility: Outsourced services can be even more cost-effective than hiring an in-house specialist. They are also ideal for specific tasks or short-term projects. Dedicated design teams offer financial advantages over full-time in-house specialists by reducing infrastructure costs and onboarding time.
Enhancing core business processes: By outsourcing research and design, product owners can focus more on their core areas like strategy, marketing, and sales.
Scalability and improved processes: Design agencies offer scalability and flexibility, adapting to your project's needs. They help in refining design processes, reducing time-to-market, and enhancing product features.
Addressing outsourcing concerns
It's natural to worry about whether an external team will align with your internal processes. The key is to choose a design agency that not only understands your business goals but also integrates seamlessly with your culture. Reliable agencies are adept at working with diverse teams and processes, ensuring effective communication and a unified approach to your project.
At Cieden, we prioritize long-term partnerships. Our approach is not just about providing design services; it's about understanding your unique business needs and contributing to your overall strategy and success. We believe in open communication, quick integration, and working together towards shared goals.
The journey to amplify your SaaS sales through user experience is a blend of strategy, innovation, and understanding your audience. Each of the 15 proven UX tactics we've explored offers a unique way to enhance your product and resonate more deeply with your users.
Remember, the key to success in SaaS is not just in the technology you offer, but in how seamlessly and intuitively users can interact with it. We encourage you to apply these tactics and witness the transformation in your user engagement and sales.
If you found this guide insightful, share it with peers, colleagues, or anyone who could benefit from these UX strategies. Together, let's shape the future of SaaS products through exceptional user experiences.