SaaS CRM Website Design & Development (Case Study)

Fictitious: Curema — CRM for small teams

Click here to visit live website ☀️

Update: The website is currently under a redesign

Why you must read this case study:

A lot of SaaS companies have amazing products but they struggle to communicate the value of those products through their messaging.

It’s 2020 and having the best software in the market isn’t enough.

You also have to be flawless at conveying your product’s value through messaging, which cuts through the noise & resonates with your target market.

Look at these ProfitWell statistics-

What companies think they’re building Image source
what customers think they’re actually building…Image source

Essentially your product teams are extremely confident they’re building value when in reality they aren’t and they don’t even know they’re doing this, because you’re not talking to your customers — ProfitWell: State of Customer Research

As the research suggests, there’s a huge mismatch between what customers think is the real value of your product versus what you & your team thinks is the real value of your product.

Therefore, we need to get aligned with our customers expectations and create a customer-centric website which conveys the real value of your product and takes them…

From:

“What is this product about? how can it help me? why would I need it?”

To:

“This is exactly what I needed, let me sign up for the demo right now”

If you suspect you’re losing conversions because messaging on your website isn’t doing justice to the amazing product you’ve built then this case study is for you.

I’ll walk you through step by step process on how to build a website that’s optimized for peak conversion: increases demo signups, reduces churn and sells your product on auto-pilot just like your top-performing sales rep.

And soon I’ll also show you how to boost conversions by simply tweaking a few important elements on your current website (without any redesign whatsoever!)

After you finish reading this case study, you’ll be able to:

  • Write killer product messaging for your SaaS that converts
  • Identify your target customers using four questions
  • Position your SaaS correctly so that the product sells itself
  • Run competitive analysis & differentiate yourself from the crowd.
  • Reduce churn and attract long term users/customers
  • Craft messaging which increases perceived value of your product
  • Structure your message based on a proven conversion formula
  • Turn your visitors into trial signups using customer language
  • Use modern design principles to increase conversions

….and much more

Overview of the steps:

Step 1: Customer Research & Messaging Discovery

Step 2: Constructing Customer-Centric Product Messaging

Step 3: Conversion-Focused Design

Important: You must follow these three steps in order.

If you do any of these steps out of order, the whole process would crumble.

Step 1: Customer Research & Messaging Discovery

Creating your product messaging & value-proposition without fully understanding your target customers will lead all your sales & marketing efforts towards failure.

Your customers are more effective at recognizing & explaining the real-world value of your product since they’re the ones who use it and paid money for it.

To write effective product copy on the website, we have to understand our product from the point of view of customers and prospects that are using a solution similar to ours.

This means we must understand:

  • how your customers describe your product
  • the problem they think it solves for them
  • how they’d explain the product to a friend
  • how they’d solve their problem if a solution didn’t exist etc.

To put it simply, we want to learn about the actual value our product brings (from customer’s perspective) and convey it to them in their own language via our website copy.

Co-Founder & CEO — FYI, KISSmetrics

Customer Research For Curema (how I did it)

Since this is a dummy product, created for the purpose of this case study, there were no existing customers.

Therefore to I had run customer research and discover how customers were describing existing CRM’s in the market, so I:

  1. Created a list of top 5 competitors in the CRM market.
  2. Went to their website to get a feel of how they present their product, what their headlines say, what’s their value proposition, major messages they are trying to communicate etc, what’s their WOW factor etc.
  3. Then I went on website like Capterra, G2, Trustpilot and read tonnes of reviews on each existing CRM solution with the aim of finding messages that the customers were using to describe their existing CRM.
  4. While reading reviews I started categorizing the most stickiest messages on the basis of
  • Pain points
  • Desired outcomes
  • Unique benefits
  • Delightful features
  • Reasons for switching
  • What their existing solution lacks

These messages will be later used to create a persuasive argument (more on this in step 2)

DETERMINING TARGET MARKET

After running customer research and messaging discovery, I had a good idea about who my major competitors were, what problem they are trying to solve and for whom they are trying to solve it.

Problem with existing CRM solutions (Opportunity)

  • None of them were specifically built for small sales teams meaning they were charging for features that small teams didn’t even use.
  • Overly complex interface, expensive burden, data input process too manual.
  • Lack of adoption by the sales team. Data isn’t inputted. Records aren’t kept up to date. And the value of the whole system is subsequently undermined.

POSITIONING STRATEGY

BIG FISH, SMALL POND I used a sub-market frame to win in a niche category

Being a big fish in a small pond means that the market category for a product already exists and you are just attempting to win only a sub-segment of it.

For Curema, our target market was small sales teams consisting of 3–20 sales reps that think existing CRM solutions are useless, they hate using it and would much rather prefer using excel sheets.

I also learned that product buying decision is made by the sales leader in the organization (VP sales, manager), which meant sales reps don’t really have a say in this decision-making process.

Therefore it’s important to write copy for the buyer who’ll make the purchase decision and not the sales reps.

HOW TO DO CUSTOMER RESEARCH FOR YOUR SaaS

A) Identify your best customers (who to write for)

Your best customers will be the customers that buy very easily, have been using your product for the longest time, recommend it to other people. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who’s seeing the most success from your product?
  • Who’s actively using your product?
  • Who has fewer support and feature requests?
  • Who’s bringing the biggest % of revenue? (they also buy quickly)

They are the people we will be writing product copy for.

We don’t need to appeal to everyone, we just need to appeal to the right customers and they will help us attract more people like them.

This doesn’t mean that you stop the prospects that don’t match our best customer profile from buying your product.

It simply means that we won’t be proactively marketing to those segments.

B) Where to find sticky & swipe-worthy messages (what to write)

  1. Survey your website visitors: Use service like hotjar and create visitor surveys with questions like “what’s your role in the company” and “What was going on in your life that brought you to seek out (solution) today”
  2. Survey your customers: Email your existing customers with questions like “What ONE problem would you say (our product) eliminates or lessens for you?” & “why did you you choose (our solution) over (other competitors)?”
  3. Listen to demo/sales call recordings: Listen to demo & sales call recordings and possibly get them transcripted. Then listen, identify & highlight how people describe their problem, pain points they mention most frequently and the objections they bring up.
  4. Interview your existing customers using jobs to be done framework. Nobody can tell you why they choose your product over the competitors than your existing customers. Go interview them 1 on 1.
  5. Insights from support chat: Look at support chat logs and peruse for recurring questions & frustrations expressed by leads.
  6. Look at competitor reviews: Use websites like Capterra, G2, Trust Pilot, Product Hunt etc. and look at customer reviews, what they like about the product and what they don’t like.

Writing product copy is not a creative undertaking.

You must have realized by now that none of the words on your website will be your words. All the words will come from your customers.

CMO Privy, previously Drift

STEP 2: Constructing Customer-Centric Messaging

In this step we will turn insights collected from step one into customer-centric messaging that captivates our target customers, not us.

But before we do, we need to first figure out the length and the structure of our persuasive argument aka product copy.

Determining the length of your website copy

To figure out how long your website copy should be, we need to understand two fundamental things:

1. Awareness of your target visitors

What stage of awareness are most of your website visitors?

You can determine this by creating a visitor survey question like:

Which of these best describes you?

  • I realize that I have (problem) and not sure if this the solution for it (Problem Aware)
  • I’m considering (solution) for the first time (Solution Aware)
  • I know I want (solution), I’m just trying to choose the best option (Product Aware)
  • I already know I want (your solution name) I’m just here to buy it (Most Aware)
  • Others

2. Market Maturity

If you have developed a brand new solution to the a problem in the market that no one has ever heard, you will need to write a long copy explaining:

  • what the problem is, why the problems occurs, what happens if you don’t solve the problem, how your product helps solve the problem etc.

Whereas if you came up with an email marketing solution tomorrow, you wouldn’t need to explain why someone needs an email marketing solution for their business, they’re already convinced they need it.

How I Figured Out Curema’s Copy Length

Based on the above two factors, market for CRMs is already mature.

Big companies like Salesforce and major Hubspot have done the heavy lifting of convincing people why they need a CRM.

Therefore I don’t need to explain what the problem is, why it happens, how it effects the business and what’s the downside of not solving it immediately.

In this case I’ve also assumed that most of my website visitors are solution aware — the visitor knows the result they want, but don’t know that my product provides it.

How I Structured Curema’s Messaging

In the last section I’ve determined how long the copy is going be based on what I need to put on the page to move my visitor from one stage of awareness to other.

Now it’s time to craft a persuasive argument which moves my visitor from the solution aware to product aware stage.

To do that I used proven conversion sequence heuristic which was developed by MECLABS Institute based on years of testing and research on real products and services.

MEClab Conversion Heuristic

Layout for Curema’s Messaging Copy

  1. Heading & Sub Head (motivation of user & clarity of value proposition)
The most important part of your website — Heading & value prop

2. Call To Action Button (tell them what to do, and reduce friction by adding a subheading below it for faster signups)

CTA button
  • Immediate Social Proof (for building credibility & trust)
  • Addressing the Unsolved Problem
  • Why Curema is unique and why choose us over others
  • Mentioning specific outcome driven benefits (what value will my customer by using this feature?
  • Testimonial from the best customer (the one that has the most success, stays the longest and recommends it to others)
  • Features that stand out and differentiate my product from others (giving them the reasons to switch from their existing solution to mine)
  • Offering valuable lead magnet (so that even if the visitor doesn’t sign up for a free trial, at least we have a lead that we can nurture & educate about our product)

Step 3: Conversion Driven Design

According to business.com, 75% of consumers judge a business’ credibility based on their website design/user experience

Another survey suggests that design-driven companies outperform the S&P by an extraordinary 228%.

Design isn’t just about the colors or fonts you use, it’s about conveying your brand message in a way that leaves a good impression on the visitor and makes you stand out from your competition.

Therefore to get an unmatched advantage you need a website which is:

  • built on conversion-focused design principles
  • easy for visitors to use and navigate through
  • specifically built for the purpose of getting demo signups or leads

Since most of the design and development for Curema visible on the website, I wouldn’t do much explaining in this section.

However I will walk you through web design principles that you should keep in mind while building your SaaS website.

1. Visual Hierarchy

example of visual hierarchy

The parts that need the most attention on your website should look bigger than the ones that need the most.

The parts which need the most attention on the website typically are Heading & Subheading, the image of animation explaining the product, followed by the call to action button.

Make sure to size these in descending order to improve visual hierarchy.

2. Right Fonts

The fonts you use would impact the way reader sees, feels & interpret your words. That’s why it’s super important to choose the right fonts that match your brand. Never use more than two font styles together.

Find the right fonts for your SaaS website here

3. Color Contrast

When it comes to applying colors, readability and legibility are key factors.

After all what good is a website, if the visitor can’t read anything on it?

4. Consistency & Spacing

Consistency plays an important role in website design. Always make sure that you are keeping spaces equal between each element. It improves readability.

5. Matching Images & Illustrations

Are you using images & illustrations that support the copy or are they irrelevant but you are just using them just to increase visual appeal of your website?

Make sure the images you use grab attention, aren’t too distracting and most of all they support your copy.

Case Study: Learn ConvertKit’s Five Secret Website Conversion Strategies

Increase Demo Conversion Rate % Without Redesigning Your Website

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The audit is based on (proven & tested):

No personal bias or subjective opinions, a purely scientific audit.

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I help B2B/SaaS upgrade their website messaging & design so that they can acquire more customers & convert more traffic.

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Anuj Raman

Anuj Raman

I help B2B/SaaS upgrade their website messaging & design so that they can acquire more customers & convert more traffic.

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