A successful SaaS business relies on product management. Research shows that a skilled product manager may raise revenue by as much as 34 per cent. Product management and customer-led product development are crucial to the success of SaaS businesses in an era of Product-led growth (PLG).
For those unaware of PLG, it is a model that emphasizes driving growth through product usage. Typically for customer acquisition, retention, and expansion.
Often, a SaaS business will have product managers labelled as product CEOs. They are expected to know the ins and outs of a SaaS product which needs a multi-disciplinary background and access to cross-functional teams. This includes aligning business vision with product offerings.
A project manager works simultaneously with marketing, sales, product development, and QA teams. Keeping these in sync requires leveraging a product management platform that helps take SaaS products from the concept to the launch phase. It simplifies touch-basing various departments throughout the process.
Driving SaaS product growth requires swift yet correct decision-making from product managers and defining successful operations. This needs one to take growth-driven steps, making their expertise and leadership abilities invaluable.
Here, implementing a few practical tips mentioned below can help SaaS managers get started in the right direction. Let’s explore.
1. Pivot to a data-driven strategy
A successful, growth-driven SaaS product manager works to take products to the next level. This needs plotting a strategy and making decisions based on hard evidence. Track how people interact with a product and understand their challenges to sell your new product as a solution to the prospect’s pain points.
Project managers, therefore, must ensure basing decisions more confidently on data. It helps provide more insight into the product, helping you pinpoint problem areas efficiently.
Using evidence also works as a reliable method of persuading team members.
There are various SaaS data collection tools to unearth answers to critical questions like:
- What is the average cost of customer acquisition?
- Whether that average is on the higher end and requires any adjustments
- Who exactly is purchasing the product?
- Is any feature driving customer interest? If so, how can that be enhanced further?
- Where do potential customers fall out of the sales process?
For instance, user research offers crucial studies for businesses as it helps create a successful product. Try gleaning data through card sorting, usability testing, user interviews, and A/B testing. Such research also helps better understand customers’ perspectives and habits, enabling businesses to make educated guesses about their potential requirements.
It also involves enhancing user experience which begins with understanding a typical user journey. This requires gauging the number of users who complete onboarding, features that users leverage more frequently, and where users abandon the process. A product manager should also monitor internal processes to drive real-time product assessment.
2. Drive new revenue streams
Optimizing revenue streams is one way to drive SaaS growth that needs product managers to prioritize while managing risks associated with them.
For instance, shooting up SaaS product prices may push some customers to quit using the product. Therefore, mature software organizations (having 5+ years of market presence) can adopt a couple of structural adjustments to drive growth.
i). Add-on products
Driving growth includes more than creating new products. It often needs refining the existing product, investing in R&D, and finding ways to enhance it. This requires revisiting all the existing product offerings, identifying current customer issues, and making changes to add value to advanced offerings.
Start by creating a minimal viable product (MVP) that works as a concept with the potential to revolutionize established businesses. For starters, SaaS MVP refers to a working model of software that meets the basic needs of end-users. The solution will have key features that provide enough benefit to customers.
Such an approach can bring the best out of different departments. It drives efficiency and provides quick, quality outcomes without reinventing the wheel. This is possible by adopting a new approach to twist an existing product. Also, cross-sell this MVP to the current customers.
ii). Expand the geographic reach
Another way to increase the revenue of your SaaS product requires expansion into new countries or regions.
Although going global through a SaaS service is simpler than on-premise software, much more work is still necessary to succeed. Catering to businesses worldwide requires investing in SaaS marketing, sales, and support systems.
For instance, selling your SaaS product in the USA, India, and Oceania requires American English and should be supported by American English-speaking staff will do just well. But, it requires a different approach if you are competing with local SaaS businesses in France, Norway, Russia, etc.
It will require making necessary changes and crafting content addressing these countries. But, doing so will open up new avenues to drive growth in different countries and regions.
3. Aim for continuous deployment
Unlike traditional software releases, SaaS product upgrades do not need separate rollout and promotion campaigns. Therefore, SaaS product managers prefer frequent updates, and continuous deployment is implemented in certain circumstances.
Continuous deployment (CD) removes the need for manual processes it considers the test and developers trustworthy. There is no need for product release approval in this case. The new code is implemented for production if all the tests are successful.
Continuous integration (CI) merges all codes daily into a central repository from all team members in sync with CD. It helps execute automatic build tests on the main branch as changes are made to ensure compatibility. This serves as a safety mechanism for identifying integration issues promptly.
Lastly, it needs a continuous review of product goals, analyzing the roadmap and frequently communicating of detailed requirements to the technical team.
Along with these processes, it is best to run marketing and sales throughout the product improvement phase. This offers frequent micro launches instead of a complete major launch.
4. Follow key metrics
Most SaaS decisions are based on analytics and information received from customers. Product requires a comprehensive understanding of the metrics that matter most for a SaaS business and are directly related to the product.
Successful SaaS product managers know exactly what will spark their customers’ interest and provide them with a satisfying overall experience when mapping out their journeys.
Retaining and activating customers to drive SaaS growth requires focusing on lowering churn rates. Product managers can analyze churn rates to identify the types of consumers important to the company’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and they steer teams in implementing strategies to boost MRR.
They decide what they want to accomplish and how they will do it, use these indicators to track their progress toward those objectives and make necessary course corrections. The stages in this process require meticulous planning and are integral to the whole. Each component strengthens the company’s bottom line and provides a memorable brand experience to end-users.
How SaaS Product Managers Can Drive Growth
A product manager runs the show for a B2B SaaS business. A growth-driven product manager in the SaaS industry should be well-versed in matching customer demands with the right product offerings.
And because of such a unique position, product managers remain at the forefront of SaaS business, technology, end-user satisfaction, and innovation. They can set the direction for the company by orchestrating multiple departments to ensure a high return on investment to drive growth.
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Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.