In the SaaS industry, sellers had all the leverage back in the day. Few vendors were offering specific software-as-a-service solutions, and buyers had few options to choose from. Things changed as SaaS companies became a dime a dozen. At present, they fight for each shopper by delivering a transformative and innovative product experience.
The first step to winning the hearts of the target customers is having an efficient B2B SaaS product strategy. It directly defines if the product will turn a customer into a happy one and make them stay. In this article, you’ll get to know the bare essentials of such a strategy, great examples to learn from, and how you can create an excellent one to gain a competitive advantage in the market.
What’s the essence of B2B SaaS product strategy?
When the idea or concept of the product is born, the product manager and the teamwork on an action plan. They map out a launch strategy that brings a product to life and gets it in the hands of real customers. It implies different teams, resources, industry expertise, competitor and user behavior data, etc.
A successful B2B SaaS product development strategy boosts sales, profits, and revenue. To achieve this, SaaS companies tailor strategies to the target audience’s needs and wants and upgrade existing products or create new products to fill gaps in the market. Now, what makes the strategy crucial when it’s about business growth?
Why the B2B SaaS product strategy is key for business growth
The answer is simple: the strategy defines the framework for a product launch or growth and serves as the basis for executing a product roadmap and further product releases. The strategy helps businesses focus on the target market and relevant feature set rather than striving to be everything to everyone. Without these milestones, the promise of product delivery and further business growth is merely possible.
Efficient growth strategies for B2B SaaS products always keep employees around a clear picture of what the product should look like. It helps form needed teams (sales, marketing one), perform additional work-related activities, rally all kinds of resources, etc. With a product strategy in place, managers deal with the SaaS industry pitfalls faster, and customers get the value they expect from the company.
How do You Create a B2B SaaS Product Strategy?
Many SaaS product strategists refer to the concept of a North Star metric as a starting point of the strategy. It is the primary measure of success for the product team. The metric defines whether the business is doing great by solving specific problems and generating revenue by doing so. For Facebook, for example, the indicator is the number of monthly active users; for Amazon - the number of purchases per month.
The example mentioned leads us to the next important aspect of a B2B SaaS product growth strategy - knowing the game the company’s playing. A North Star revolves around corporate objectives within the game. Once it is defined, the company gets the most accurate and clearest metric that moves it from the vision to the impact the business wants to make.
In the SaaS industry, there are three types of games:
Game of attention:
companies such as Netflix and Facebook belong to this type as their number one objective is to deliver value while making users spend as much time as possible on their platforms. So, their North Star is the total time spent consuming content, steaming hours, and so on.
Game of transaction:
companies like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart are playing this game as their main purpose is to get customers to pay for the product. This way, they engage in a transaction. North Star metrics here can be the number of purchases completed or the number of upgrades purchased.
Game of performance:
Slack, Asana, and Salesforce are great examples of such a game. Their key purpose is getting users to perform well with their business tasks. The North Start metrics, in this case, might be the number of messages sent out, the number of queries completed, etc.
Now, let’s find out how to set a B2B SaaS product strategy and the key elements of such.
Outline a clear product vision
The product vision is a statement that communicates why your product is necessary for those particular customers. It’s not about what the product is; it’s about how it can make a difference in the target audience’s life. For product managers, it’s a North Star or Pole Star that keeps the business moving in the right direction.
Understand your target audience’s needs and fears
Any company builds business by providing solutions to the target audience’s pain points. It’s important to learn the customer avatar deeply, buying behavior, and what they are missing out on. The product managers’ task is to identify customers’ goals, challenges, success definitions, and payment capacities. This data helps understand if the product fits in and improves their life.
Articulate a crystal clear positioning statement
Developing a B2B SaaS product strategy that will result in business growth is impossible without having an accurate, clear positioning statement. This is where two previous aspects help out in the first place. It should include “who will be blessed” with the solution, how it changes the situation, and what makes it stand out from its other counterparts. Usually, when a product vision and customer avatar are well identified, it is not difficult to articulate a positioning statement.
Define goals and objectives
Goals and objectives are the benchmarks telling if you’re following the right product launch journey. They help assess if you’re executing a product roadmap successfully. To illustrate the goals, these could be customer engagement increase, business scale-up, revenue per account, and customer lifetime value. Obviously, it’s all about concrete figures, and the objectives can vary according to the game.
Identify key metrics to measure success
Metrics are what ‘exposes’ if the business is doing well. Product managers need KPIs within the strategy as well as KPIs to monitor the success and growth of the whole company. Such metrics can imply business growth goals, roadmap velocity, product usage metrics, and product adoption metrics. They deliver insights into what’s working and not and allow fixing methods and ways, reestablishing goals if needed.
Learn the competition in great detail
Product managers cannot build a B2B SaaS product strategy without learning first the competitive landscape. This allows identifying where your business can fill the gap in the market or come up with a brand-new solution. Such insight will help stand out, spot-free customer segment and market opportunities, fix approaches and tactics, etc.
Study the market to the fullest
Studying the SaaS market can include investigating external factors like competition, state regulation, and the political environment. It is recommended to find out if familiar products or new businesses are emerging in the marketplace. Market analysis is an ongoing process as things change quickly, and so does the product delivery to the target customer.
Elaborate on a product roadmap
At this point, it makes sense to proceed to the Minimum Viable Products (MVP). The data gathered makes it easy to craft a workable product roadmap. Creating an MVP can already verify the viability of certain assumptions described in a product strategy roadmap. By the way, its items should comply with the SaaS company’s product strategy.
“Pre-check” if it hits home with customers
When the initial product map is established, you can enable your customers to check if the product or its new features resonate with them. Feature previews, customer surveys, and user interviews can deliver helpful insights and provoke important revisions to the roadmap. Therewith, it’s important to ask for opinions from the previously identified customer avatar representatives.
Start the roadmap execution
Once the roadmap is approved, it is high time to start the roadmap execution. Based on the MVP fundamentals, an agile approach is a right way to execute the roadmap. It allows presenting early features to customers as soon as possible. Real customers interacting with the product help understand if it really delivers value or needs to be rethought.
Gather feedback, assess, and iterate
Gathering user feedback is pivotal for building a hit product in a SaaS domain. You can use different product feedback tools to tell you everything on product roll-out, product development pipeline, user onboarding, etc. Whatever way you use, there should be an efficient feedback management process implemented. Why? It helps quickly figure out the most substantial feedback and iterate on the roadmap, respectively.
By now, you’ll have realized the key components of any B2B SaaS product strategy. Let’s look at brilliant examples of such.
Learn from these b2b SaaS product strategy examples
The following are excellent B2B SaaS product strategy examples that represent companies from different games (attention, transaction, performance).
Zapier: excellent knowledge of the market and TA
Zapier is an automation tool that allows a frictionless way to integrate all the apps users turn to every day. It was born as a result of strong research on what users might want when dealing with lots of apps and needing to move data between them.
They do a great job of increasing their user count. The marketing team is delivering targeted SEO content and creating landing pages covering every possible app-to-app combination that brings more value to users. They know what people need and cover it.
Dropbox: strong interaction with customers
It is a cloud-based storage service that had to convince that they were better than physical storage. Their thing is customer incentivization, and it does work. The team addressed users with an offer of 500 MB of extra storage for every new user coming from a referral link. This way, they grew from 100K users in 2008 to 4M in 2009. Additionally, user feedback and easy onboarding help them design a B2B SaaS product strategy that works.
Slack: a way to success thanks to a clear product vision
Initially, Slack was an add-on app to help teams work effectively on a gaming app. When the app itself failed, Slack turned out to be a very successful project with a clear understanding of how to evolve. So, they incorporated the ‘message routine’ to a solid number of users, then made their onboarding experience drive users start interacting within teams and reach the 2000-message benchmark. The team used the intellectual legacy of their ex-rival Atlassian and made its users migrate to Slack.
All the examples add to the fact that a B2B SaaS product strategy is a must to outperform the competitors and lead the niche. Here’s how you can create a winning one
Create a Winning B2B SaaS Product Strategy with Dworkz
Dworkz knows the drill for sure. With a good renommee and expertise recognized by eBay, Yahoo, Geographic University, etc., the team continues to provide solutions to any SaaS company with crazy innovative ideas or small ones. The team takes you through the journey from a vision to reality and successfully executes every point of the strategy paradigm described above.
The collaboration with Terminal, a software development start-up, demonstrated that Dworkz can help rethink a product strategy for a more enhanced online presence. As a result, the website visitor count increased, and so did the conversion rate. In only a week, there were 70.000 new unique visitors, 65% of which became paid customers.
Thanks to Dworkz, one of the biggest US media companies got data on advertising campaigns and spotted problem areas in real-time. The company tackled the challenge of transforming an outdated desktop app Amdocs into a powerful ‘tell-all’ one. From now on, it’s an intuitive and meaningful tablet experience that helps focus on what’s important for business.
Got enough evidence to start your journey with Dworkz? Pitch your idea to the folks, and they will get back to you with a viable action plan!
Creating a B2B SaaS product strategy is an integral part of business growth. It breaks down the process of creating the product and factors in external aspects of product release. On the other hand, not having such a strategy with previous studies on competition, market, and target audience will be business suicide.
Yet, not all SaaS companies can map out a clear and actionable product strategy. And it’s absolutely ok. This is where the partnership with Dworkz becomes a game-changer in the whole perspective of the company’s growth.
What is a B2B SaaS product?
A business-to-business Software-as-a-Service product represents a cloud-based software solution businesses use to execute different tasks. These might be office productivity, accounting, customer relationship management, etc.
What is a B2B SaaS product strategy?
It is an action plan proceeding from the vision of what a SaaS product should be to the stage when customers use it. In simple words, it’s a roadmap for the whole SaaS product creation with milestones, stages, and phases.
How to market B2B SaaS products?
It’s a whole new chapter that is the subject of the B2B SaaS product marketing strategy. The process includes content marketing, funnel management, target audience research, automation activities, analytics, etc.
What should a B2B SaaS product strategy include?
The strategy should include a clear vision and positioning statement, the knowledge of business objectives, market, and customer persona. Then product managers should proceed from theory to practice by establishing a product roadmap, getting early feedback on certain features, and then executing the roadmap. Finally, they should gather comprehensive feedback to improve the product if needed.