Is it possible to pre-sell and enterprise grade saas product without building it? Ie with design only?

I had a startup last year, messed it up and shut it down 12 months ago. We found a pivot but not enough cash to execute. Planning to try again, same problem, new solution. This time around the plan is to design only, no code, and attempt to presell, then fundraise. Is this doable?


Yes, I did exactly that a few years back. A friend of mien and I launched a site with minimal functionality that was really just a landing page. We offered the opportunity to pre-buy a year's subscription to the service by allowing users to set their own pricing. Within the first 24 hours of the site going live, we had enough paying customers to validate the business and inform our iterative development cycle.

Ultimately, we decided it wasn't a big enough business for either of us to get really excited about but it proves that it can be done.

I also did that in my current business with a landing page that generated literally thousands of leads and hundreds of very qualified customers, which resulted in paid pilot contracts before the software was fully built.

Build something that people actually *need* and you'd be surprised at what they're willing to do to get early access to it.

Happy to talk about it in a call in more detail

Answered 6 years ago

Hello, I've started and invested in numerous B2B SaaS companies and YES, you should definitely try to sell first.

You must become the expert of your customer's problem (and the economical value of solving it) not of a product.

Most of the time, entrepreneurs tell me that it's a crazy strategy because 'what will happen if I sign??'. Very easy, you will rush to build the perfect product for your client! Clear roadmap, clear vision, no money lost. And you know what? If it takes too long, just say sorry to your client. He'll be upset, but it's better than upsetting your investor ... Or worse, your wife or husband because you've just lost the hard earned money of the family ;)

Don't hesitate to call to follow-up on this & good luck!

Answered 6 years ago

Absolutely, however I would say the approach is dictated by the fact you are wanting to build an "enterprise" SaaS product. The approach for an enterprise solution is quite a bit different than an MVP for a small single web product.

Assuming you see a need/demand for the product you are wanting to build I would start by building out a high level of requirements that outline the solutions your product will be solving which aren't currently solved in the market with the existing products available - no need to write out all the things already being done right now. Then create mockups or use a simple prototyping iOS/Android App which uses images to appear as though its an interactive app to display those critical requirements you will be building.

Get in front of the customer with your solution and start engaging in finding out what the pricing and exact refinements to those requirements/solutions would be and work to get commitment entering into an engagement with those first customers that's at a discount of what the future price will be (as they are technically funding your development). Its critical not to overthink those solutions in the beginning as finding out what the customer wants and is willing to pay for is the most important piece here but to have that convo you first need a starting point to present your new solution to them.

One other note, don't oversell make sure you have the talent in house already that can deliver the solution you are offering. If someone decides to go on a long shot and enter into an agreement before the product is complete it's critical you follow through on everything you offered.

We were able to close a national retail chain on a custom Point of Sale mobile based SaaS by following the steps above, let me know if you would like more details.

Answered 6 years ago

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