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Four considerations when developing a mobile app for your SaaS business

Scott Roberts, CTO of sales intelligence software provider Clarity Stack, shares what small-medium SaaS organisations looking to develop a mobile app should consider.

In today’s tech-driven world, you’ll find an app for almost everything. Whether that be banking, ordering dinner, or planning a holiday. Many consumers now expect access to a digital, intuitive mobile application as standard when signing up for a new product or service – especially when it comes to a SaaS (software as a service) product.

It’s no surprise, then, that the most successful software companies have rolled out their own apps to help customers access their services anytime, anywhere. But if you’re a small business or a growing startup, you may be debating whether it’s worth investing your time and money.

As CTO at sales intelligence SaaS startup, Clarity Stack, and with 10 years of experience in building mobile apps, here’s four key factors that I think small to medium SaaS businesses should consider when it comes to developing their own applications.

  1. What you want to get out of the app

The first thing to understand is why exactly you want to create a mobile app in the first place. There are various benefits of introducing a digital app to your customer base, but I would suggest setting out your objectives and detailing what you want to achieve.

For example, are you looking to leverage push notifications to directly communicate important or timely information to your users? Or are you aiming to increase customer engagement levels by enabling them an easy way to access and take your business with them wherever they go?

Defining what you want to get out of the app will help you decide on which direction to take development, including which features and functions you need to incorporate to help you achieve those goals.

As a sales intelligence and lead generation platform, our new mobile app means we can now leverage push notifications to let people know when a new business lead enters their account to increase awareness and engagement. This allows business owners to access that lead in record time and even call the contact from the very same phone, improving efficiency for a better chance of securing that opportunity.

2. Whether to go down the native or hybrid route

The second thing to consider is the type of app you want to build. There are many ways to create an app, but these are split into two key approaches: native or hybrid.

A native approach involves building an app specifically for iPhone, for example, and another specifically for Android. Whereas a hybrid approach consists of developing a single application that works well on both platforms with compromises in places.

To help you make this decision, think about how much time you want the development process to take. Native apps tend to take longer as you essentially need to do the work twice. Hybrid apps are usually better suited for smaller businesses due to a quicker turn-around time.

Here at Clarity Stack, we opted for a hybrid approach. This allowed one developer about a month to create our mobile application using the right hybrid technology and toolset to our advantage, keeping time-to-market down.

3. How involved you want to be with development

Next is how involved you want to be with the application creation. And it’s important to be realistic about this.

You’ll need to either hire an agency specialising in what you’re looking for – ensuring they have the skills to build the type of application you want to make – or engage with a freelancer. However, do bear in mind that with the latter, you might end up managing the project yourself.

If you aren’t used to working with developers and managing tech projects, then I would suggest an agency approach is likely to give you better success but note that this could cost more.

Remember to look through the agency/freelancer’s past projects or portfolios to understand if they’ve created mobile applications before, what kind of applications they built, and any relevant testimonials from past clients.

Reaching out to a client of theirs to understand the process of how they helped to build and launch their application may also be useful.

4. How much you’re willing to spend

Finally, costs can depend on the complexity of your idea and the supplier you’ve chosen (or hoping) to work with.

If you’re leaning towards the agency route, prices range depending on location. Looking further away might therefore work in your favour. There are also plenty of off-shore development teams who can offer more competitive prices due to labour arbitrage.

What’s more, native applications are usually a more costly option compared to hybrid, as you need multiple development teams working in tandem creating both applications.

Ready to create your mobile app?

Overall, mobile applications are valuable additions to your SaaS offering and – when developed and launched with care, thought, and detailed planning – will enable you to successfully reach your customers where they are for a stronger product, brand, and client base.

Find out more about Clarity Stack’s sales intelligence platform and how it can help you find and win your next new business opportunity here.

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