What Is B2B SaaS?

August 4, 2023
Updated: February 1, 2024
Reading Time: 12 minutes
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B2B SaaS (software-as-a-service) refers to a cloud-based software delivery model where one company provides access to its software applications to other businesses over the internet. Unlike traditional software systems that require installation and maintenance on individual devices, B2B SaaS allows companies to use the applications through a web browser or other internet-connected devices. 

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This article focuses on an in-depth exploration of B2B SaaS, covering its fundamental concepts, examples of prominent B2B SaaS providers, and future trends. So learn from our experts at our B2B SaaS SEO agency and discover the working mechanism of online software and its supporting role in a company’s day-to-day software needs.

B2B SaaS vs B2C SaaS

Before looking at the main features of B2B SaaS, it’s worth understanding that the concept of SaaS extends to both B2B and B2C domains. While the technological principles remain similar, the software is developed for a different audience. B2B SaaS targets businesses with tools for operations and management, whereas B2C SaaS focuses on individual consumers, offering applications for personal use.

Here is a table comparing the key aspects of both models:

AspectB2B SaaSB2C SaaS
Target AudienceOther businessesIndividual consumers
Sales CycleLonger and more complexShorter and more straightforward
Pricing StrategyUsually higher and can involve negotiationsGenerally lower at a fixed price
Customer SupportExtensive and with dedicated teamsMore automated or self-service options
CustomisationUsually tailored to specific business needsGenerally more standardised
Contract LengthTypically longer with often annual or multi-year contractsUsually monthly or pay-as-you-go
Compliance and SecurityMore stringent requirementsLess emphasis but still important
Marketing StrategyContent and relationship-drivenOften focused on mass marketing
User VolumeFewer but usually larger accountsMany individual users
IntegrationOften requires integration with other business systemsSimple standalone solutions
Revenue PredictabilityMore stable and predictableCan be more volatile

To better grasp this concept, let’s look at the subset differences between a B2B and B2C calendar tool:

B2B

Asana is another calendar tool, but this time developed to be used in the workplace. It aims to help professionals plan, manage and visualise projects in a shared team calendar. This B2B SaaS solution contains a lot more features than the B2C alternative, including workflow building, reporting, goals, workload, forms and timeline.

Price: There is a free basic version (missing a number of features), a premium for £9.49 per month per user (slightly more access to resources) and then the business subscription for £20.99 per month per user for the full package (including integration with other popular B2B SaaS providers).  

B2C

Cozi is a calendar platform designed for families to manage their busy schedules. The features include a calendar, to-do lists, shopping lists, recipes and a handy daily overview. This software has been designed with family life in mind, as shown on the image of their home page below.

Price: Cozi offers a free version and paid Gold subscription (to get ad-free access), costing $29.99 per year.

Comparing the B2B and B2C Calendar Tools

When comparing the B2C and B2B calendar tools, you can see there are clearly some key 

differences in the features and pricing. It is common for B2C software to offer a free option which contains ads and disrupts the user experience. If the customers like the tool enough, they’ll purchase a subscription to get rid of the annoying pop-ups. 

With B2B SaaS, developers often try to create software that can adjust depending on the stage of growth the business is in. For instance, if they are a small start-up, the free basic Asana version will suffice, but as the company grows, their software requirements may also become more complex. Hence the need for additional features and a larger SaaS budget.

Benefits of B2B SaaS

B2B SaaS is a game-changer in the software industry. Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of SaaS compared to traditional software:

FactorB2B SaaSTraditional Software
Cost SavingsSubscription-based, which is often paid monthly or yearly. This is more budget-friendly, especially for small businesses.Requires licences, installation, and setup fees.
CustomisabilityCloud-based to facilitate quick deployment and immediate use. SaaS is also highly versatile and adaptable to meet specific business needs.Software may require longer deployment time and is less adaptable.
ScalabilityCan scale up or down easily as business needs evolve.Scaling may require additional hardware and software changes.
Data SecurityRobust protection by storing data on the cloud.Security is dependent on local hardware and software.
Automatic UpdatesWith automatic updates, users always have access to the latest software version.Manual installation of updates, which can lead to potential security flaws.
Accessibility and ConvenienceAny company subscribing to a B2B SaaS service can access all features and benefits from any device, making it highly convenient.Accessibility may be limited to specific devices or locations.

Popular B2B SaaS Uses

The B2B SaaS industry caters to almost all business needs through cleverly designed applications, with more being developed and improved every day. Here are some of the most common SaaS solutions:

B2B SaaS UseDescription
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)Managing customer interactions, tracking sales leads and analysing customer behaviour.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)Integrating core business processes such as finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement and others.
Project ManagementCollaborative planning, scheduling, task assignment and tracking of projects.
Human Resources Management (HRM)Handling employee data, payroll, recruitment, benefits, training and performance evaluations.
Marketing AutomationStreamlining marketing tasks and workflows, including email marketing, lead generation and campaign management.
Sales EnablementSupporting sales teams with content, tools, knowledge and information to sell more effectively.
Accounting and Financial ManagementManaging financial transactions, invoicing, budgeting and financial reporting.
Collaboration and Communication ToolsFacilitating team communication, file sharing and real-time collaboration on documents.
E-commerce PlatformsManaging online sales, inventory, customer service and website content.
Business Intelligence and AnalyticsAnalysing business data to gain insights into performance, trends and opportunities.
Supply Chain ManagementCoordinating the flow of goods, information and finances in the supply chain process.
Content Management Systems (CMS)Managing digital content creation, editing and publishing across various platforms.
Help Desk and Customer SupportProviding customer service through ticketing systems, live chat and knowledge bases.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)Delivering educational B2B SaaS marketing courses and training programs.
Document ManagementStoring, managing, and tracking electronic documents and images.
Inventory ManagementTracking products, parts and inventory levels.
Compliance and Risk ManagementEnsuring adherence to legal regulations and managing business risks.

B2B SaaS Company Examples

The B2B SaaS industry is home to some of the world’s most well-known and fastest-growing technology companies. They offer a wide array of software solutions to businesses. These companies have played a pivotal part in transforming the way companies operate, communicate, and manage their everyday tasks. 

Here is an overview of some of the leading B2B SaaS companies:

Google WorkspaceA suite of productivity tools that includes Google Drive, Gmail, Google Docs and Google Meet. It facilitates collaboration and communication within teams, allowing for real-time editing and sharing of documents.
Microsoft Office 365A cloud-based subscription service that offers access to various Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. It integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft services, enhancing productivity and efficiency.
AdobeKnown for its creative and multimedia software products, Adobe offers tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. These applications are widely used by designers, artists, and media professionals for visual content creation.
SlackA collaboration hub that connects work teams through channels, allowing for organised communication and file sharing. It integrates with various other tools and services, making it a versatile platform for team collaboration.
SalesforceA leading CRM platform that helps businesses manage their sales, customer service, and marketing efforts. It offers a range of features to track customer interactions and analyse performance.
HubSpotA platform that offers marketing, sales, and service software to help businesses attract, engage, and manage customers. It includes tools for email marketing, lead generation, customer support and analytics.
ZoomA video conferencing tool that enables virtual meetings, webinars and collaboration. Known for its ease of use and high-quality video, it has become a popular choice for remote communication.
SAPA global provider of ERP software, SAP helps businesses streamline their processes across procurement, manufacturing, service, sales, finance, and HR.

These companies represent a diverse range of software solutions that cater to various business needs, from communication and collaboration to creative design and customer management. By offering cloud-based access and subscription-based pricing, they have made advanced software tools available to businesses of all sizes. Their contributions to the B2B SaaS landscape have set standards and continue to shape the future of how businesses leverage technology to enhance their operations.

Future Trends in B2B SaaS

The B2B SaaS industry is witnessing a dynamic transformation with trends such as AI integration, enhanced security, vertical solutions, and mobile-first approaches shaping its future. B2B SaaS companies like Salesforce, HubSpot, OutSystems and AWS are leading the way in these trends. 

Below we take a closer look at the latest trends in B2B SaaS and what the future holds for this service model.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) into SaaS platforms is a prominent trend shaping the industry. AI-powered software, such as Salesforce’s Einstein, is revolutionising business productivity by automating tasks and providing valuable insights into customer behaviour. Machine learning, as seen in platforms like HubSpot, enables predictive analytics and personalisation of services. 

Furthermore, combining AI and ML enhances business intelligence and real-time analytics tools. Companies like Tableau (from Salesforce) are leading the way in offering advanced analytics capabilities, providing deeper insights and value to customers.

Integration and Interoperability

The trend towards integration and interoperability is evident in the SaaS industry. Platforms like Zapier are enabling businesses to create seamless automation of processes and merge various platforms. Open APIs, as offered by companies like MuleSoft, are making integration easier for customers, leading to more personalised workflows and comprehensive data insights. This trend is facilitating the creation of robust ecosystems that meet specific business needs.

Low-Code and No-Code Platforms

Low-code and no-code platforms are transforming the approach to software development. Companies like OutSystems are making software building accessible to non-technical users, allowing for the quick development and deployment of custom applications. This B2B SaaS trend is especially appealing to small and medium-sized companies that need to respond quickly to market demands.

Pricing Models

The evolution of pricing models in the SaaS industry is another significant trend. Beyond traditional subscription-based pricing, usage-based pricing is gaining popularity. B2B Saas company AWS has made the most of this model, providing more flexibility for customers and adapting to fluctuating demand. This approach aligns the cost with the actual usage, making it a suitable option for businesses with varying needs.

Security and Privacy Focus

With the rising threat of cyberattacks, security and privacy have become paramount in the SaaS industry. Platforms like Okta are prioritising advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption. Following data protection regulations like GDPR is also essential. SaaS company OneTrust sets a great example in leading the way in ensuring adherence to legal requirements. This focus on security and privacy is building trust and driving growth in the industry.

Mobile-First Solutions

The trend towards mobile-first solutions is unfolding, with more SaaS companies developing mobile apps that provide a seamless user experience. Companies like Slack are offering core features through mobile applications, ensuring accessibility and convenience. This shift towards mobile-first solutions is enhancing user engagement and expanding the reach of SaaS products.

Vertical SaaS

Unlike horizontal SaaS, which provides solutions to a range of industries, vertical SaaS caters to the unique needs of a specific niche. Many companies are finding vertical SaaS more cost-effective and can suit their industry-tailored needs. A few notable examples of vertical SaaS include Innovacer (patient data management for healthcare providers), Applied Epic (automation for the insurance industry) and Procore (project management for construction companies).

Micro SaaS

The development of Micro SaaS is growing with the need for more flexible approaches to business needs. Micro SaaS products are typically extensions or add-ons to larger platforms designed to optimise the experience for specific industries or customer groups. Because Micro SaaS products are lower risk and relatively inexpensive to run, there is a growing trend towards their development, especially for serving narrower niches. Lempod, for example, is a Micro SaaS application that focuses solely on boosting organic reach on LinkedIn.

The future of SaaS promises exciting opportunities for collaboration, efficiency, and growth, positioning it as a vital component in the modern business environment. As the competition in B2B SaaS continues to heat up, the software solutions will keep improving, allowing businesses to stay competitive and leverage the full potential of SaaS.

Conclusion

Understanding B2B SaaS involves more than just recognising its definition; it requires a comprehensive grasp of its advantages over traditional software, how it operates, and its applicability across different business functions. By leveraging cloud-based distribution and offering an array of applications, B2B SaaS has become an integral part of the modern business landscape.

The adaptability and ease of use have made B2B SaaS a preferred choice for businesses of all sizes, reflecting its significant role in shaping the future of business technology. Whether it’s managing customer relationships, human resources, accounting, or project management, B2B SaaS offers a comprehensive set of tools to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

FAQ

What does SaaS stand for?
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SaaS stands for software-as-a-service. It refers to a cloud computing model where software applications are provided over the internet on a subscription basis. Users can access the software through a web browser without installing or maintaining it on their local devices.

What is an example of B2B SaaS?
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B2B SaaS refers to SaaS products designed specifically for businesses. An example of B2B SaaS would be Salesforce, a CRM platform that provides tools for businesses to manage and analyse customer interactions and data.

What is SaaS vs B2B SaaS?
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SaaS is the general model of delivering software applications over the internet, accessible to individual consumers or businesses. B2B SaaS is a subset of SaaS that specifically targets businesses as customers.

Is B2B SaaS an industry?
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B2B SaaS is considered a segment within the broader software industry. It encompasses companies that develop and provide cloud-based software solutions specifically for businesses.

How does B2B SaaS differ from traditional software?
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B2B SaaS differs from traditional software in its delivery and pricing model. While conventional software requires installation on local devices and often involves upfront licensing fees, B2B SaaS is accessed through a web browser and typically operates on a subscription basis.

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By: Alexej Pikovsky

CEO & Founder

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Alexej spent 10 years in investment banking, venture capital and private equity. Running the wider group’s brands and building one of Europe’s fastest growing growth agencies, Alexej is well positioned to advise founders and funds. Alexej graduated MSc from Imperial College London and is a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

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