For saturated SaaS markets, we recommend narrowing down prospective competitors by slicing solutions to problems based on how the solutions are deployed, accessed, hosted, connected, and serviced.
Web or Cloud Access
Native Access & Experience
“Native” applications refer to iOS and Android on mobile and Windows or MacOS applications on desktops. These solutions can offer higher performance, more features, data control and typically are licensed.
With the evolution of Progressive Web Apps, Responsive Web, and Hybrid Frameworks like React-Native, B2B SaaS apps rarely need to consider a fully native-first approach.
Enterprise (On-site) vs Cloud Hosted
Applications that require large datasets, extra security, or are geared towards the Enterprise often deploy with a siloed installation typically called an Enterprise package. They may even come with dedicated hardware, but are more often seen in private-cloud deployments.
Cloud Hosted applications silo data between shared resources between customers to make management and maintenance easier and cheaper.
Portfolios and Platforms
SaaS buyers consider the ecosystem in which a solution exists. Instead of a singular product, most enterprises take to offering entire a product portfolio that easily integrate with each other (eg. Zendesk). A natural extension of a portfolio is a platform that enables integration to other products, which increases complexity and costs of products greatly, but also increases customers and markets exponentially.
Self-service vs. White-glove
Many customers disqualify SaaS products based on how easy it is to get started. Traits of a self-service offering include free trials and slick in-app onboarding, while a white glove experience often requires talking to a sales rep, signing a contract, or working with an onboarding specialist on phone calls and screen shares. Both methods have their place for different markets.