Website design

Why Growth-Driven Design is Perfect for SaaS Startups

Written by Matt Cunard / February 3, 2021

Matt is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.

For B2B SaaS startups, your website is your best salesperson. 

It works for you 24/7, allows potential buyers to move at their pace, and has the power to move them from becoming aware of you to becoming a customer. But too often, SaaS startups rely on the wrong partners and approach to build their website.

Traditional web design agencies stretch out timelines, skip valuable strategy steps, and fail to create a continuous improvement plan. This not only delays having a 24/7 sales tool to attract potential customers but decreases the power of the website to generate revenue. 

Growth-driven design teams like Lean Labs adopt a website design, development, and continuous methodology similar to how SaaS startups approach product development. 

How do growth-driven design teams operate, and why is growth-driven design ideal for SaaS startups? We’ll cover the similarities between startup culture and growth-driven design, the three key stages of growth-driven design, and the value each stage provides to SaaS startups.

Adopting Growth-Driven Design for SaaS Startup Websites

SaaS startups need to grow quickly. They don’t have four to six months to wait for a new website to get done. That’s wasted time that a website could have been qualifying and converting visitors to customers. 

Growth-driven design produces the most valuable version of a website quickly and then uses research and user data to build out high-value additions to the website. Instead of four to six months, websites are launched in 60-70 days. 

The focus is growth using the website as the primary tool. GDD teams specialize in developing a comprehensive strategy and building a website that looks and performs better than the current version. 

But the real magic is how growth-driven design teams prioritize and use smart time investments to make the website a growth tool for the entire business.

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Similarities Between Startup Culture and Growth-Driven Design

There are many similarities between how SaaS startups approach product development and the growth-driven design methodology.

SaaS startups use various research methods to build a product and a product plan. As users begin to use the product, startups gather feedback and user data to find sticking points and improvement areas. They iterate to make the product better, drive new users, and keep users happy and using the product.

Growth-driven design teams operate in much the same way. They go through a comprehensive planning and strategy phase to ensure the website can solve the target audience’s problems. 

Using the strategy, they build a minimum viable version of the website that performs better than the current website. Then, they combine strategic insights and user data to identify high-impact additions to the website and iterate to enhance the website’s performance and drive business growth.

Both focus intensely on strategy, launching a minimum viable product, and implementing continuous improvement processes to make their product better.

The 3 Stages of Growth-Driven Design for Saas Startups

There are three major stages of the growth-driven design methodology: Strategy, Launch Pad, and Continuous Improvement. 

Strategy

Purpose of this stage: In the strategy phase, we are trying to develop an empathetic understanding of our audience’s world to build a website that can solve problems along their buying journey. 

What happens in this stage: The outcome of this stage is a comprehensive website strategy. In most cases, there are seven core parts of the website strategy:

  1. Aligning website and business goals - the business objectives you aim to achieve through the website.
  2. Identifying jobs to be done - a framework for understanding the outcomes your customers are trying to reach; customers “hire” your product or service to help them complete a job, achieve a desired outcome, and make progress in their life.
  3. Developing buyer personas - a fictional representation of your ideal customers.
  4. Creating a list of fundamental assumptions - the elements that underlie the core of your business and the website. 
  5. Building a  journey map - a holistic view of your persona’s life as they make progress to their job to be done.
  6. Completing a website-specific strategy - review your existing website and create a game plan to level up each area and better align with persons. 
  7. Brainstorming a wishlist - create a list of all the creative, game-changing ideas to solve user challenges, bring them value, and hit their business goals.

Value of this stage: Developing a strategy is equivalent to creating a blueprint to build a new house; you wouldn’t proceed without a blueprint and expect the house to turn out correctly. 

You gain a comprehensive understanding of your audience, what they need, how they look for it, and how your website will fulfill their needs. The strategy stage allows you to build a website that helps your SaaS startup drive new user growth, service current customers, and grow all parts of your business.

Launch Pad

Purpose of this stage: In the Launch Pad phase, we use insights from our strategy to quickly build a website that looks and performs better than what you have today. However, it is not the final product. This Launch Pad website is the foundation to build and optimize on.

What happens in this stage: A new, stripped-down version of the website is created. The Launch Pad often follows the 80/20 rule. Using the original wishlist from the Strategy stage, a growth-driven design team will include the 20 percent of items that impact 80 percent of the users’ challenges and the company’s goals. This allows the website to be done and launched in 60-70 days instead of four to six months.

Value of this stage: The Launch Pad offers four valuable benefits. 

  1. You get to collect real user data to make more informed decisions moving forward.
  2. You spend less money and time upfront, making Launch Pad websites less risky for SaaS startups.
  3. You see a quicker time to value and return on investment.
  4. Go through a more pleasant process than a traditional website development project.

Continuous improvement

Purpose of this stage: In the Continuous Improvement stage, you begin to identify the high-impact actions you can take on the website to grow your SaaS startup.

What happens in this stage: A growth-driven design team revisits the original wishlist, looks at user data, and conducts additional user research as needed to prioritize what additions to the website will have the greatest impact on the users’ challenges and your startup’s goals. They then work through design sprints to build and implement the website additions, then start the process again.

Value of this stage: Continuously improving your website ensures it acts as an asset to drive company-wide growth. Using a repeatable, agile process to collect user data and build high-impact improvements continuously, you bring to life the enormous potential of your website to be a business growth tool working 24/7 instead of an online brochure that sits stagnant. 

Growth-Driven Design is All About Getting Results

SaaS Startups can’t waste time and money on 6-month long website projects. They need to act fast to build a comprehensive strategy, launch a minimum viable product, and then iterate through continuous improvement.

That’s exactly how we work in implementing growth-driven design for SaaS startups. If your current website isn’t producing leads, generating revenue, and helping you achieve company-wide goals, check out how we approach website design for SaaS startups.

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