5 Leading SaaS Growth Strategies with Real-Life Examples

Nidhi Kala
min read
August 17, 2023

If you have spent hours finding how your competitors are running incredible growth experiments and clocking the target revenue, yet haven’t cracked the code, you need to hear us.

Along with the extensive research on the SaaS growth strategies your competitors are doing, you need to study their growth experiments too. Which approach did they use? What impact did they see? What worked well for them? And, how can you implement those exact strategies (of course with your element!)? You need to find it all. 

That’s why, we have curated this article with 5 real-life examples of SaaS growth strategies that companies have been using and achieving incredible results with. 

So, are you ready to witness them?

First things first, what is SaaS growth & how do you measure its growth?

SaaS growth is the indicator of how your business is performing at each stage of the user journey i,e, awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, and loyalty. 

You constantly need to answer questions like: 

  • How many visitors are landing on your website and taking action?
  • How many visitors are signing up for the product?
  • How many visitors are converting via product demos?
  • How many free users and paid users do you currently have?
  • How many active accounts have you expanded the revenue to?
Questions founders and growth marketers need to answer when measuring the SaaS growth

To find the answer to each question in your SaaS growth journey, you’ll need to track the following metrics:

  • Net New Annual Recurring Revenue: It measures the annual recurring revenue based on subscriptions lost vs subscriptions gained. By tracking this metric, you can evaluate your subscription model and forecast the revenue.
  • Average Revenue per Account: It measures the revenue generated from customers on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. By tracking this metric, you’ll understand the revenue you’re generating from each customer in a specific timeframe.
  • Lifetime Value: It measures the total revenue you generate from each customer over the lifetime. By tracking this metric, you can forecast your revenue and prevent unforeseen problems in your revenue flow.
  • Net Revenue Retention: It indicates how well a SaaS business meets the needs of its current customers. By tracking this metric, you can understand the number of customers you need to retain and expand your business to be able to achieve revenue growth.
  • Expansion Rate: It measures the increase in MRR from a customer through upselling, cross-selling, upgrades, or add-ons. By tracking this metric, you’ll know how much monthly recurring revenue different types of expansions are adding to your SaaS business.
  • Subscriber Rate: It indicates the percentage of people who sign up for the free trial and finally convert into paying customers. By tracking this metric, you’ll know how many paying customers you currently have and the revenue you’re clocking consistently.
  • Free Trial Rate: It indicates the percentage of visitors opting for a free trial of the paid product. By tracking this metric, you can understand the rate of people interested in your product.
  • Customer Churn: It indicates the number of users who have canceled their subscription, downgraded their account, or stopped using the product within a specific timeframe. By tracking this metric, you can understand the reason behind comers getting churned and reduce the churn rate.

What's good growth for a SaaS company?

In a Youtube video, Paul Graham, the VC and Co-founder of Y Combinator says that if a SaaS startup wants its growth, it should target 10% weekly growth in the early stages. 

Good growth for a SaaS company boils down to implementing the right growth strategies that will help you improve the churn and better sales conversions. Some of them being:

  1. Using content as a growth strategy
  2. Leveraging product-led growth
  3. Using community-led growth
  4. Using partner-led growth
  5. Investing in age-old outbound sales

5 leading SaaS growth strategies with real-life examples

After talking to a few founders and observing the growth strategies used by different SaaS businesses, below, we have shared some SaaS growth strategies that will shape your business better.

Using Content as a growth strategy

Semrush's 2023 State of Content Marketing Report says, organic search and referral traffic will reap the highest ROI for marketers this year.

Here's another statistic from the report for folks who are heavily invested in paid ads and social media: you'll only earn 10% of B2B website traffic, leads, or sales. 


And that's why, you need to double down on organic search traffic—which directly means you need to up your content marketing game.

Content marketing has been the growth driver for SaaS companies for a long-time and it will continue to be so.

With content marketing, your SaaS business will not *just* build its reputation online and offline, but enable you as a thought leader in your industry, nurture the prospects, and convert them.

For example, Mailmodo created lead magnets like Email Marketing Masterclass, reports like State of Email 2023, and hosted webinars like Email Edge and Growth Chat. 

By doing this, Mailmodo established itself as the marketing thought leader brand, says Zeeshan Akshtar, the Head of Marketing at Mailmodo.

On asking about the impact of this strategy, Akhtar shares, "In just one year, we have witnessed a 10X increase in revenue; when the economy was experiencing a downslump, we were able to double our revenue. Our SEO traffic has grown 10X in the past year. Plus, we have seen a 1.5X QoQ increase in signups, and the lead magnets are usually very well received with an average of ~1000 downloads in a week every time we launch."

Why it worked: Because they have created educational and thought leadership content on the topic, people perceive them as experts in the email marketing industry.

How to implement: You need a content marketing strategy in the first place to create valuable content resources like Mailmodo. Here's the 6-step process to follow:

  • Define business goals. What do you want to achieve as a company in a given period of time? Do you want to grow brand awareness or generate leads or drive organic traffic or increase social presence? Depending on that you can choose the type of content to invest in. Like blogs to cater to search audiences, gated assets to collect leads and such. 
  • Define the content marketing metrics. This will help you track each content asset and its impact. For example, if you decide you focus on social media content, your metrics will be links clicked, social shares, engagement rate, etc.
  • Understand your ideal target customer persona. What are their pain points? Which buying stage are they at? Are they still understanding their challenges or ready for the solution? All these answers will help you create content assets specific to the target audience.
  • Create a content production and management plan. Brainstorm content ideas and conduct in-depth research on the topics. Interview experts from internal teams or invite external experts to contribute to your content pieces. Next, decide who will write the content; who will edit it and how will you promote the content assets. Once done, move the content to the publishing stage.

Leveraging Product-Led Growth

In the last few years, SaaS companies have withdrawn from the traditional sales-led approach and moved towards a product-led growth approach because of the change in buyer behavior.

PLG is beneficial to both the prospect and the seller, here’s why

  • PLG uses a self-serve product model that leads to lower acquisition cost (CAC) as such businesses don’t necessarily invest in grandiose marketing or branding initiatives. Because prospects get to see and try the product themselves, on their own timelines and interests, one thing’s for certain, and that’s your pipeline will be full of qualified prospects.
  • In the traditional sales process, sales reps have to invest their time and the company's resources in cold calling prospects, following up, converting, and onboarding them. But, PLG uses self-onboarding that cuts off the time for sales teams to invest in more strategic tasks.
  • PLG drives better user value as it lets users explore the product themselves and understand the value your product offers. This leads to better expansion revenue.

Note: However, you must note that not every SaaS business needs a PLG model. For sure, every other SaaS company may be leveraging this approach but it's not for you if you are targeting a smaller, niche segment. So, be mindful while using this growth strategy.

For example, Ignition uses Storylane's product tours as a lead generation strategy. 

They have the product tour embedded on the website. Once the visitor lands on the website, they will interact with the product tour. When the product tour ends, they'll be directed to the CTA to sign up for a free trial.

Or you can have a look at how Semrush uses product tours to boost their PLG👇

People who found value through the product tour will naturally sign up for Semrush.

But for people who do not sign up for the product even after watching the product demo, their contact details will still be captured in the lead gen form. Ignition's sales and marketing team can then follow up with the prospects and nurture them to convert them later.

Why it works: Because it’s a great way to capture medium- and high-intent buyers as you’re essentially striking while the iron’s hot. Giving them a chance to test out the tool right when they’re on the page looking for a solution. So adding a lead form there before prospects interact with the demo, is a successful way to generate a quality pipeline. 

How to implement: To use product demos in your PLG go-to-market strategy, first define whether you want to have guided product tours on your website or plain ole’ product demos.

Next, plan your demo—what CTAs are you going to use, which features do you want to highlight and how many product flows will you have?

Now, choose the product demo software (try storylane, maybe?) you’ll use to execute the process.

Let's understand how you can create these guided product tours and product demos in Storylane.

Storylane gives you two modes of recording the demo:

  1. Record the screenshot: Use this mode if you want to create guided product tours (you won't have to edit demo content).
  2. Record HTML: Use this mode if you want to create live product demos (you’ll need to edit the demo content).
Two modes of recording demo in Storylane

Also Read: 6 Storylane Features to Help You Create Strong Leave-behind Experiences for Prospects

Using Community-Led Growth

If you want your customers to interact with you more, and trust you enough to become your repeat customers, you need community-led growth.

According to Common Room’s Community-Led Growth Report 2022, 72% of such community-led deals closed within 90 days compared to sales and marketing-led deals. Plus, community engagement led to 3X more feature adoption as compared to companies that were not affiliated with the community.

Earlier, product-led growth and sales-led growth were the ruling kings. The two kinds of growth would work together. The former would provide customers the product value, and hand over the solution-aware prospect to the sales team.

But times have evolved. Customers don't *just* need to know the value the product drives.

With a community of target audience or customers, you can:

  • Educate them about their pain points and the relevant solution.
  • Nurture them on a personal level and increase their responsiveness and engagement rate.
  • Convert them to warm leads by delivering valuable content and nurturing constantly.

They want to feel inclusive to be able to feel connected and trust your brand. If they are your customers, they want to know what's happening in the product team.

Are they building a new feature?

Or are they working on improving an existing feature? 

Are you conducting webinars to educate them about different topics that add value to them? 

Or are you conducting a monthly AMA to interact with them on a personal level? 

Customers need a lot more engagement beyond product education and seamless user experience.

xTiles knew how it wanted to grow from the get-go. The company wanted to build a community around its app. Plus, it wanted to leverage influence marketing and content marketing.

So, it onboarded beta users—writers, students, marketers—people who fall into their ideal customer persona and added them to its Slack community.

In the community, users could ask questions, share product feedback, request a feature and interact with the xTiles team directly.

xTiles community where customers can ask questions and make feature requests

Once the beta users completed the first milestone of using the product, the team would reach out to them personally and ask the user to share their experience with the product. 

Some delighted beta users appreciated xTiles on LinkedIn, and some even wrote full-fledged reviews on Medium. This accelerated influencer marketing.

The team members made sure each beta user is using their product and if, by any chance, they stopped using it, they would follow up with them.

This clearly shows how invested the xTiles team was in their community. 

Because of its community, the company could improve its product immensely before its final product launch on Product Hunt.

Before launching on Product Hunt, their team reached out personally to the beta users asking for their support for the launch day. It's because of this tactic that xTiles saw enormous engagement when they launched on Product Hunt.

Team members of xTiles nurturing the community members for their support for a successful product launch

The upvotes and the comments are the proof.

The engagement xTiles received on Product Hunt from their community

It is because of the community engagement on Product Hunt that xTiles earned three badges: first product of the day, first product of the week, and second product of the month.

Awards earned by xTiles on Product Hunt within a short timeframe because of their community’s support

All thanks to xTile's Slack community!

For sure, it led to tremendous growth for the company but when asked Andrey Tabunishchik, the Growth Officer of xTiles about the impact he saw by leveraging community and influence marketing, he shared "It's the stable growth and brand awareness without regular budgets. Plus, lower CAC and more than 15% vitality."

Why it worked: The xTiles team was constantly engaging with the beta users through text messages and questions in the community channels. Plus, they were listening to the customer feedback about the product and accepting the relevant feature requests. Because they accepted the relevant feature requests from the users and constantly resolved the users’ queries, it made the beta users feel included. 

How to implement: To build a community for your ideal customer persona that trusts and engages with your brand, follow these steps:

  • Define the goals for your community. Why are you building your community in the first place? Is it to leverage networking between your users? Or is it to constantly nurture and engage your customers? Or do you want to become a learning resource for your audience? Pick one goal to start with.
  • Build your audience. Who are you building this community for? For sure, your ICPs. But are these folks interested in being part of your community? That’s why you need to build relationships with your target audience on bigger channels before inviting them to be part of a private community. Social media and email marketing channels are the perfect places to build this initial connection.
  • Choose the right platform. Decide the platform you want to host your community on—Slack or Discord. You could even go for a customized community hosted on your domain as well. Make sure to choose the platform the community members are familiar with.
  • Create community rules and set up channels. Have a round figure for the number of channels you want in your community. Next, lay down the rules for each channel. Set up the automation and the message you would want the Slackbot should give to the community members as and when they join the community. 
  • Invite people to your community. Make an announcement about your Slack community on the channels your target audience is present. Go back to your existing customers, past customers, and prospects you’ve interacted with—invite all of them to your community.
  • Start the conversation. Once your target audience is inside the community, start with introductions. Either send them a message personally to introduce themselves or set up a message via Slackbot that lands in people’s inboxes when they join the community.
  • Promote the community. Share the snippet from your community on social media and encourage more people to be part of the community. Have the Slack invite embedded in your onboarding process. So, every time you onboard a new customer, they have the option to be part of your community.

Using Partner-Led Growth

Through partnerships, you get more trusted leads, you land more deals, resell to customers more often and improve brand equity. 

In fact, when comparing traditional marketing campaigns and partner-led marketing campaigns— SaaS companies saw a 50% increase in positive brand awareness, 44.4% increase in conversion rates, 41.5% increase in quality of leads, and 39.1% increase in lifetime value (LTV) of leads, shows Hubspot's The State of Partner Led Growth 2023.

Yet, very few SaaS companies utilize partnerships. 

For example, Refrens started a Partner Program where they incentivize their partners for each sale made by the partner. The criteria is simple:

  • Partners refer to the product in their network.
  • Folks from their network sign up for Refrens paid account.
  • Partners get a 50% share for the sale that comes through them.
The criteria used by Refrens to execute their Partner Program

HackerEarth frequently utilizes partnerships with their existing clients where they conduct webinars with the partners. This works as a charm for both parties as:

  • The existing customers get to be on their webinar
  • They get eyeballs from their partner's audience, which increases the company's brand awareness. 
HackerEarth used their existing customers as partners to conduct webinars and interviews

Casey Hill, the Senior Growth Manager of Bonjour, in his LinkedIn post, terms collaborations as the X-factor for SaaS growth in 2023. 

He shares a screenshot of the collaboration email he sent to Design Pickle. With these creative collaborations, Casey says, the Bonjour team drove dozens of paid accounts. 

Why this works: This approach works on relationship building. You build relationships with your partners and leverage each other's audience and resources to grow together.

How to implement: First, identify your goal for collaborating with partners—lead generation, brand awareness, or sales conversions. Then, start brainstorming ideas to leverage these partnerships. These ideas could be building a referral engine, collaborating on content efforts, and more.

Once decided, look at your existing database of partners (influencers and customers you’ve worked with) and reach out to them and pitch them your partnership idea.

If you want to reach a wider net of partners, prepare a document that states everything about the partnership in detail and share it on your social media platforms to announce the partnership.

Investing in age-old outbound sales

Most SaaS businesses are under the impression that outbound sales don't work anymore. That's a myth.

Earlier, sales reps banked on spraying and praying. Drop a thousand emails, place a million calls, sit back, and relax. 

Unfortunately people are accustomed to that kind of approach today. So now sales reps need to make sure that their cold emails are relevant to the recipient, that they target the right prospects, and that they reach prospects wherever they are. 

The approach today is more personalized. 

When Andrey reached out to folks on LinkedIn DMs, his approach was simple—connect with ICPs and share with them about xTiles briefly, and see if they would be interested in getting on a video call with him.

Though to many sales teams, this approach might seem tricky, it worked well since Andrey wasn’t slapping a sales pitch but instead asking the ICPs for a networking call.

When the interested ICPs gave the green flag for the 1:1 call, he introduced them to xTiles over the call and the value the product offers. On the call, he would ask them about their work and the current challenges that they face in their regular workflow. Once he understood the challenges of a prospective user, he would also ask the prospective user how they plan to use the tool. 

And finally, he concluded the call by asking the prospective user if they would be interested in becoming their beta user. And voila, they combined the age-old outbound strategy with a nurturing video call, which helped them acquire their initial users.

But know this: even with an outbound strategy, you’ll need to combine at least 2-3 other strategies to see the results.

Why this worked: xTiles didn’t win customers at the initial stage, they leveraged outbound strategy to get beta users. But they built a community around their app and constantly nurtured these users, some of which later converted to their customers.

How to implement: The best place to start outbound sales is LinkedIn. Train your sales reps on how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator—this will help them identify ICPs active on LinkedIn and connect with them on the platform.

Furthermore, educate the sales reps on:

  • How to use nurturing tactics to pitch the prospects without *actually* pitching them. 
  • How to write interactive, and non-sales-sy messages to get prospects on a call.
  • How to write meaningful comments on LinkedIn posts of your ICPs to engage with them (while not directly messaging them!)
Educate sales reps on how to use LinkedIn for outbound sales

It is these messages and comments that will build the initial rapport and help you build relationships with the prospects. 

Once this is done, only then can you start messaging them on LinkedIn DMs.

When you start the conversation, make sure to not make it a sales conversation. Try to find out more about them, their challenges, and the solutions they are using in their business. 

Make that 'first' introduction with them—first on messages—and then move to a virtual call to showcase the value of your product. 

Address the challenges the potential customer shared with you while sharing the benefits your product offers. 

Finally, end the call with a specific action.

Also Read: How to Deliver Exceptional Sales Demos (with Steps and Tips)

5 Tips to Grow Your SaaS Business

With SaaS growth strategies, you need a few tips that will continuously help you optimize your strategies. Here are 5 tips that you should constantly look at:

  1. Prioritize account expansion
  2. Focus on customer retention
  3. Build a strong brand
  4. Use conversion optimization
  5. Adapt to a changing market

Tip #1: Prioritize Account Expansion

You don’t have to acquire customers every time to grow your SaaS business. Instead, you can achieve this growth by selling to your existing customers—by upselling, cross-selling, or selling add-on features or packages.

Your existing customers are people who you have built a relationship with and who trust you. So, they’re easier to sell to as compared to customers you’d acquire from scratch.

Following are a few ways you can prioritize account expansion and increase your revenue:

  • Understand where the customer is at in their customer journey, and push the add-on or upgrade only after they have crossed a few success milestones while using your product.
  • Tell users what they are missing out on while using the freemium plan and how the paid plan adds value for them.
  • Send upgrade triggers (inside the web software or app) for specific paid features when the user clicks on the particular feature that the user would want to use.
Ways to increase revenue with account expansion

Tip #2: Focus on Customer Retention

If you term generating more leads, and increasing customer base as a success metric, then you’re wrong. The growth of your SaaS business relies on customer retention.

Generating leads takes up more time, effort, and resources. Instead, focus on doubling down on the customers you already have as they are easier to nurture and upsell.

Below are a few ways to do it:  

Provide Instant Resolutions

For customers using your product, the most frustrating thing is not getting their queries addressed on time. And if the response time is even longer than expected, your existing customers will turn into dissatisfied customers and lead to an increase in churn.

Solution? Resolve customer queries on time. This means you need to provide impeccable customer support to your users.

Swapnil Kumar, the Growth Marketing Manager at Smartlead.ai shares that customer support is their core focus as they want to provide fast and technically-driven assistance to their users. “We are committed to resolving customer queries within an impressive timeframe of less than 3 minutes, compared to the industry standard of 6 hours.”

To improve customer support, you should:

  • Train your support team about the product and technicalities in and out. This way, when a customer reaches out to them to get their queries regarding the product addressed, you can quickly address the issue.
  • Offer 24/7 availability so that the customers can reach out to the support team at their convenience.

Alt-text: Ways to improve customer support for better customer retention of your SaaS business

Leverage Secondary Onboarding 

The biggest misconception for SaaS companies is that they think onboarding stops once the customers start using their product. Not at all!

With primary onboarding, a user gets activated; with secondary onboarding, you can upsell to active users to provide them with more value. Here, you’ll show the customers the product features they’re not utilizing to their full potential. To do this, you can use in-app messaging, tool tips, and popups. 

Also Read: Maximizing Customer Delight: 7 Retention Strategies

Tip #3: Build a Strong Brand

Building a strong brand around is crucial for aSaaS brand’s survival. Why? Because it’s your brand that will help you get recognition from folks in the SaaS industry and put you at the forefront of your ideal customer profiles. And how do you do that? Multiple ways.

  • Leverage podcast guesting. Share your business experiences, and learning, and speak on topics of your expertise, which positions you as the thought leader in your industry indirectly boosting your business growth.
  • Create educational content on LinkedIn. Create different content formats like carousel, text, and video aligning with your expertise on your LinkedIn personal profile. Share your journey, success stories, failures, and work-in-progress updates, which helps you connect with your audience while establishing yourself as an expert.
  • Repurpose content on Reddit. Find niche subreddits like r/SaaS; take your top 10 most successful LinkedIn posts and repost them to relevant subreddits. 

Tip #4: Increase Conversion Optimization Rate

There’s no point in getting tons of traffic if your website isn’t optimized for conversions. Visitors will find it hard to take action when they land on your website.

Result? No action = Lost conversion = Decreased growth trajectory of your SaaS business.

The reason it usually happens is because of the confusing messaging. When a visitor lands on your profile, they have zillions of questions.

  • They don't know whether the product is right for them
  • Your pricing page doesn't convey enough details for them to pursue
  • They are hesitant as they are not confident of your product is better than the one they are already using
Questions visitors have on visiting your SaaS website

All these questions boil down to the right messaging.

So, here are a few ways you can optimize your conversion rate and increase your SaaS CRO:

  • Improve the messaging on your homepage — change the messaging to something that highlights the target audience and the benefits of the product.
  • Embed the product demo — showcase the value your product offers and how it works.
  • Optimize the pricing page — add more details for each pricing category that tells the visitors the value each pricing plan offers.
  • Add testimonials and FAQ section — if visitors are dropping after viewing the pricing page, add customer reviews and pricing-related FAQs.

Also Read: 7 Tips to Boost Conversion Rates on a ‘Request a Demo’ Landing Page

Tip #5: Adapt to a Changing Market

What would you do when you realize your customers need an additional product to solve their needs? 

Recognize what your customers need and design a product from scratch to meet their needs. 

For example, when the pandemic hit, HackerEarth realized the recruiters and HRs were struggling with conducting technical interviews virtually with developers so they designed two products: Assessments and FaceCode.

Designing these tools is a clear-cut example of how the company realized the changing needs of its target market and launched these products.

Just like HackerEarth, every SaaS business needs to continuously adapt to its market needs. Here’s how:

  • Gather customer and market insights. This will help you understand your market better and serve them based on their changing needs.
  • Have access to transparent data and make informed decisions to provide the kind of solutions ICPs are seeking from your business.


What is a healthy margin for SaaS?

The healthy margin for SaaS follows Rule of 40. This means that if the growth rate were to be added to profit margin, the combined value should exceed 40%.

For example, if a SaaS business is growing at 10%, it should generate a profit of 30%. If it is growing at 20%, it should generate a profit of 20%. If it is growing at a rate of 60%, it can lose 20%.

The thing is, when your SaaS business is exceeding 40% in growth, the growth rate is great.

What is a good EBITDA for SaaS?

Knowing the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) matters for your SaaS business as it tells you about your company’s operating performance. 

When analyzing a good EBITDA for your SaaS, an EBITDA of 10% is considered great, and one with 20% is seen as a great EBITDA number.  

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