How To Come Up With Ideas For Great SaaS Products

Denis Shatalin
Founder Coach, Serial Entrepreneur
Ideas for SaaS products are all around you. All you need to do is look and listen. The problem is that most people don’t know how to come up with good ideas, or they get so bogged down in the details that they never actually get anything done.

In this article, I'm going to show you how to come up with great SaaS product ideas, and share some ideas that I've come up with recently to get you thinking about the possibilities out there.

So, let’s get started!

What Is SaaS?

SaaS —or Software as a Service—is a software delivery model where software offered by the provider on the web. Customers can access and use the software through a client (usually a web browser), while the provider manages the infrastructure and security.

SaaS is one of three main categories of cloud computing, alongside Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Why Is SaaS So Great as a Start-Up idea?

One of the many great things about SaaS as a starting point for ideas is that it has become the go-to scalable delivery model for a wide range of software varieties. Here are some of its key benefits as a business model:

  • Scalable:
Once you hit product-market fit, SaaS is an extremely scalable business model that can help you reach a global market from the comfort of your (home) office. What’s not to love?

  • Subscription-based business:
SaaS platforms can be accessed online and are purchased through subscriptions or a credit-based recurring payment model. This means that you can tweak the pricing, include new features for upselling, and derive real-time insights from the way customers purchase your services. This allows you to have regular recurring revenue and grow a sustainable business from that.

  • Great opportunities to increase average order value (AOV):
This is the average amount of money you get from each customer. As SaaS is very easily scalable with its online-based business model, you can introduce new features or ways to sell your different ones, allowing you to increase revenue in very accessible ways, as opposed to, say, a D2C business model, which relies on physical products to increase revenue growth.

  • Online:
As people access your platform online, you can easily introduce updates without forcing your users to download the latest versions.

  • No downloading needed:
Let’s face it, a ton of today’s users are put off by having to download software programs. With SaaS platforms, all they need to do is to sign up, subscribe and pay to use your product. Significantly less friction than having to install programs.

  • More agile:
All of the aspects above lend to SaaS businesses being more agile than other types of businesses. As a SaaS founder, you can more effectively react to market changes and course correct to exploit more opportunities for growth or prevent stagnation.

  • Enjoy an ecosystem of products that provide growth insights:
From Churnkey to June, there is a plethora of SaaS tools online that can provide extremely useful insights to help you grow as a business. You won’t have access to these tools with a software business you’d need to download.

Different Types of SaaS

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software:
Helps sales teams track leads and manage customer data.

  • Project Management Software:
Helps teams plan, track, and collaborate on projects.

  • Marketing Automation Software:
Helps marketing teams automate tasks like email marketing, social media campaigns, and lead nurturing.

  • Human Resources (HR) Software:
Helps HR teams manage employee data, onboarding, and performance.

  • Finance Software:
Helps finance teams manage accounting, invoicing, and expenses.

  • Customer Support Software:
Helps customer support teams track tickets, resolve issues, and measure satisfaction.

  • Data Analytics Software:
Helps businesses collect and analyze data to make better decisions.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of SaaS products available. If you can think of a task that needs to be done in your business, chances are there’s a SaaS product that can help.

Within each of these categories, there are tons of opportunities niche SaaS products and ideas that solve niche problems—you just need to know how to identify them!

So, before we dive into a few of the SaaS product and start-up ideas we've come up with, let's discuss a few tried and true methods for coming up with your own ideas.

How To Come Up With SaaS Product Ideas

SaaS products—like software products in general—can only be successful when they solve problems. Solving problems doesn't guarantee success, but it's a requirement nonetheless.

With that in mind, the best way to come up with great scalable SaaS product ideas is by actively seeking out problems and thinking of solutions. These solutions are potential products—assuming you have the skills and resources necessary to build them.

So, how do you seek out problems?

There isn't a single, correct way to go about it. However, it helps to be systematic. That's why we've come up with three methods for identifying opportunities and unsolved problems in any industry.

1) Listen To The Market

Reviewers and review aggregators are your best friend when seeking out problems with a piece of software. Not only do they provide valuable insights about what people want and don't want from a product, but they also tend to be brutally honest.

There are tons of trustworthy review sites that feature SaaS products to choose from, including:

I recommend choosing a niche you'd like to explore (e.g., collaboration software) and having a look at a few of the most popular SaaS products that show up (e.g., Microsoft Teams). You'll find that while most popular products are highly-rated, they're not perfect.

Take Microsoft Teams, for example. The software scores an impressive
4.4/5 on Capterra, but many reviews still lodge fairly significant complaints about synching issues, missed notifications, and server lag. These are all problems a smart competitor will solve.

Tip: You don't need to jump straight to the one-star reviews to identify problems! In fact, you might be better off searching through the two- to four-star range. These reviews tend to be more balanced in their characterizations of strengths and weaknesses.

2) Read Industry News and Analysis

Staying up-to-date with your industry is important for a number of reasons, but it also provides an opportunity to identify problems that need solving.

When reading industry news, look for articles that discuss unsolved problems or new regulations or challenges that businesses in an industry will face. These can be potential starting points for new SaaS products.

Environmental regulation is a great example of this. The United Kingdom is one of many countries that has recently begun mandating that certain companies produce annual reports on their environmental impacts (i.e., greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, etc.).

These reports mean manual tracking and analysis for businesses who currently lack the software to automate the process. A SaaS product that solves this problem is poised for success.

3) Survey Your Target Market

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to know what people want, ask them! However, it's important to keep a few things in mind when surveying your target market:

  1. Make sure that your survey questions are clear and concise.
  2. Avoid leading questions—these will skew your results.
  3. Offer an incentive for taking the survey (e.g., a discount on your eventual product).
  4. Make sure you actually listen to the feedback.
Who you survey will depend on the industry you're looking to enter with your product. If you have industry connections, utilizing your network has the highest chance of success. If you don't, sending out well-written cold-emails isn't a bad approach.

As a bonus, this method as functions as an extremely early marketing tactic for your product. Everyone you contact is a potential lead down the line!

10 Great SaaS Product Ideas To Get You Thinking

Alright, now it's time for the fun stuff—SaaS product ideas to get you thinking about ideas of your own! I've divided the list of product ideas into three categories based on the method I use to generate them.

A Recruitment Tool

There are a number of recruitment tools on the market, but most of them focus on job seekers rather than businesses. A SaaS solution that helps businesses find the best candidates for open positions would be a valuable addition to the market.

This tool could provide features such as:

  • Job Posting Management
  • Candidate Screening
  • Interview Scheduling
  • Offer Management
  • Onboarding
A recruitment tool would save businesses time and money by streamlining the process of finding and hiring new employees.

An AI-Powered Transcription Service

Transcribing audio recordings is a time-consuming and error-prone task—but it's one that's necessary for many businesses. A transcription service that utilizes AI to automate the transcription process would be a valuable addition to the market.

There are a number of potential applications for this type of product, including:

  • Company meeting transcripts
  • Removing filler noises
  • Webinar transcripts
  • Podcast transcripts
  • Customer service call transcripts
An AI-powered transcription service would save businesses time and money by automating a task that's currently done manually.

A Social Media Listening Tool

Social media is a necessary part of marketing for many businesses, but it can be time-consuming to do properly. A social listening tool could help businesses create great content that resonates with their target audience based on what’s being shared by their target customers, whether they’d be on Twitter or TikTok. This could be kind of like Ahrefs, but for social media.

There are a few tools that do this currently on the market. However, a quick scan of their reviews reveals that missed there is a lack of social listening tool that provides content insights. A SaaS program that solves this problem while providing a solid functionality would be a valuable addition to the market.

An Event Planning Tool

Event planning is a complex process that often requires multiple software programs to manage all the details. A SaaS solution that brings all the event planning tools into one place would be a valuable addition to the market.

This tool could provide features such as:

  • Event Registration
  • Ticketing
  • Venue Booking
  • Catering Management
  • Event Marketing

A Property Management Tool

Real estate investment is on the rise, and that means a growing market of multi-location property owners in need of a tool to help them stay organized.

A SaaS property management tool might provide features such as:

  • Rental Listing Management
  • Tenant Screening
  • Maintenance Request Management
  • Lease Management
  • Tax Information
This type of tool would save property owners time and money by keeping all their information in one place and automating many of the tasks associated with property management.

A Social Media Analytics Tool

At the moment, social media analysis usually means switching back and forth between every platform your business is active on. A SaaS solution that brings all of your social media analytics into one place would be a valuable addition to the market.

In addition to general social media analytics (i.e., engagement, reach, etc.), this tool could also provide insights such as:

  • Most popular times for posting
  • Best-performing content
  • Demographics of your followers
A SaaS social media analytics tool would save businesses time and money by providing them with the data they need to make informed decisions about their social media strategy.

An Environmental Impact Tool

As I mentioned earlier, environmental compliance software is a SaaS niche that's poised to explode in the coming years. Companies - both large and small - will find themselves in need of a tool that helps them stay on track when it comes to regulatory compliance.

A SaaS solution that tracks environmental targets (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions), alerts when targets are likely to be missed, and automatically compiles reports will be able to take advantage of this emerging market.

Hopefully, this list of SaaS product ideas has inspired you to start thinking about potential products of your own! Remember, the best way to come up with a great idea is to combine insights from multiple sources. Review sites, industry news, and surveys are all great places to start.

A Proximity Marketing Tool

As pandemic restrictions are slowly being lifted, more and more people are returning to retail locations for their shopping.

Proximity marketing is a location-based marketing tactic that uses technology (e.g., beacons, GPS, etc.) to target consumers with personalized messages and coupons when they're near a retail location.

This is an especially valuable tool for small businesses who may not have the budget for more traditional forms of marketing, including:

  • Bars
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Boutiques
  • Corner Shops
A SaaS platform that provides proximity marketing services would be a valuable addition to the market.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to developing and launching your product, I’m here to help. I provide guidance and support throughout every step of the process — from ideation to marketing and sales.

If you’re looking for a coach rather than a course, you’re in the right place. Apply to my Founder Transformation Program today to learn more about how I can help you turn your SaaS solution into a money printer!