What Working for a SaaS Company Has
Taught Me About Career Development
Choosing a career path is always daunting and there’s a lot to consider. There’s future financial rewards and career progression to think about. That’s not to mention growth prospects and – just as important – personal satisfaction as well.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has become an increasingly attractive sector in which to work in recent years. It’s not just big businesses who are making good use of SaaS solutions. They’ve also become hugely popular among small businesses, because of their flexibility and simplicity. SaaS services for small business are making life much easier for smaller firms from business phone systems to scheduling softwares – and, best of all, boosting their bottom line as well.
The popularity of SaaS solutions makes the sector a rapid growth area. It can, therefore, offer an excellent route to a highly rewarding career in the technology sector. Tech is ever-changing, and developments like the advent of the internet of things (IoT), have only ramped up the speed of change.
But, if you’re thinking of breaking into top SaaS companies, there are a few constants that’ll stand you in good stead: a background in sales, excellent communication skills and good networking abilities, for example.
My own experience of working for a SaaS firm has taught me a number of valuable lessons about career development. Some are applicable principally to this particular field. Others can be applied more broadly. Let me try to give you the benefit of my experience, and offer a few tips about time management techniques and other business advice that will help boost your career.
1. Deepen your understanding
Anyone serious about carving out a career in the tech sector – whichever sub-field they go into – has to expect constant upheaval. This is a huge part of what makes working in the industry so endlessly fascinating: it never stands still. So, you should always be looking to deepen your understanding of whichever sector you want to work in. As well as learning what customers are seeking from the solutions you may come to create or sell. Research the industry until you know it inside out.
It’s also important to remember that individual clients have specific needs. There is never any one-size-fits-all solution. Be attentive to the specific requirements of different clients and make a special effort to understand how to help them elevate themselves to the next level. This is a great way of generating new leads and bringing in that all-important revenue. It can also help to open doors and aid you in working your way up the career ladder. That’s in the SaaS or any other tech sector.
2. Learn from any setbacks
If you know the tech sector at all, you know how demanding it can be. For many who work in it, that’s a big part of the attraction. It’s safest to assume, whatever industry you end up working in, that you will go through your fair share of setbacks along the way. Frustrating though this will inevitably be, it can actually be a very useful thing in the long run. What counts is that you learn from any negative experience.
The key point to remember here is not to judge yourself too harshly. There will be times when things just don’t go your way, you will make mistakes. We all do, it’s part of what makes us human. But provided you respond in the right way, learning from setbacks can be hugely valuable. Think about where you’ve gone wrong and where you might improve in the interview whether be it on google meet or any of the best zoom alternatives. This experience could turn out to be the springboard to future success.
3. Honesty really is the best policy
In any business relationship, transparency is of the utmost importance. The SaaS field is no exception. Your client has a right to expect that you are honest and clear with them every step of the way. It’s up to you to ensure that customers have realistic expectations about what you can do to benefit them. Some people might expect miracles and you may have to bring them down to earth. Set clear and realistic objectives only. In the long run, they’ll thank you for it and your sincerity will be appreciated by all concerned.
Trustworthiness is the foundation of sustainable business success, in SaaS or any other field. In my own line of work, we need to clearly communicate the benefits our services can have. As well as relating those to how they can help businesses reach their goals. It’s vital not to make promises you’re not sure you can keep. Doing so only stores up trouble for the future. Understanding this is important for your future career prospects. Misleading clients or overpromising and undelivering are two things that can be fatal to career development.
4. Make yourself available
We’ve already noted how good communication skills can give you a crucial advantage for a successful career. Making yourself approachable and available is a big part of this. From my experience, SaaS isn’t just about selling a product to a client but also serving as a kind of consultant. Let them come to you to discuss their business needs, so that you can then provide an appropriate solution. Invite customer feedback to glean useful information.
Easygoing approachability is always a good characteristic to have, and it’s something you can continually work on. If you can help clients meet their objectives, you can build good and lasting relationships with them. This may do a lot to boost your career prospects and help you up the ladder. What you know is vital in the tech sector, but who you know - and how highly they think of you - is equally essential.
5. Be prepared for anything
Following on from the last point, if you’re going to set out on a career in SaaS, you really have to be prepared to expect the unexpected. All manner of businesses will come to you seeking your help. You’ll need to be ready for that, and able to assist them.
It may be that a potential client needs you to explain the advantages of setting a baseline that you need to meet, such as a customer satisfaction score. Doing so simply and concisely could be the difference between gaining a sale and missing out. The ability to think outside the box is vital if you’re going to make a career in SaaS or in the tech sector generally. Working to develop this skill could give you a crucial advantage as your career develops.
6. Set yourself clear goals – and stick to them
Lastly, to reach your career milestones you must set clear objectives and work hard to meet them. Make sure your chosen yardstick is a reasonable one, and that you have a clear pathway for getting there. This is a point that also applies to any personal career progression plan, not just one in the SaaS niche.
Don’t think solely about how to do the job you’re in. Think carefully about where it might lead you – where do you want to go over the next few years? Then, consider the skills and capacities you need to hone in order to reach your career goals. Clarity is everything, and having a laser-like focus is the way to get ahead. Just drifting along probably won’t get you anywhere! It’s certainly not something that serves you well in the fast-moving tech sector.
Tips for Career Development Born Out of Experience
Working for a SaaS company has helped me learn a lot about myself and my career. I’ve picked up tips and insights along the way that I hope will stand me in good stead moving forward.
They include the importance of learning everything you can about your chosen sector and yourself. For the latter, there’s nothing better than a bit of adversity to produce understanding. Hopefully, you’ve been able to get some benefit from my experience and can use my insights to aid your own career development.
About the author
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content.