SaaS is one of the most competitive industries with a fail rate of 90%. This means that only 100 out of 1000 companies survive and only 1 out of 1000 becomes a success story. It is a very crazy industry to be a part of.
As in any business, the most important factor in a prospering company is an execution of an idea, rather than the idea itself. So, in order to properly build a product and market it to the world – there is a high need for professional creators and innovators. People, who are able to dynamically overcome obstacles.
The SaaS world is far away from science class, where a problem had one and only answer, where you have a limited amount of ways to solve the equation or chemical reaction. Real life is much more complicated, and so it the SaaS world.
From all the years I've been working for different companies, here is what I've found. In this industry knowing technical aspects of the job isn't that important as for example in genes modifications or medical surgeries. It is not rocket science.
Everything we do can be googled and there are online communities, which freely provide and share their expertise. It is called content marketing. :)
So, with all the aspects of the industry provided below, we can conclude that in order to survive and grow professionally in SaaS you need to take a different approach. It is the essence of who you are as a product manager, founder, developer – how quickly you learn from your mistakes, how do you listen to people, how do you manage your time and many other factors that make you a successful innovator, that effectively execute SaaS business idea.
It is not something you can google and learn in 10 minutes, but rather how you look at problems and daily habits you build.
Related article: Great email to introduce product updates (+Real examples)
Do you know how people who work with Hilary Clinton describe her? "She listens". Almost every single person, who was interviewed by Vox mentioned that Hilary Clinton was a good listener.
Modern presidential campaigns, corporate world and Friday friends gatherings – in all these conditions we praise people, who are really good at talking. We don't imagine leaders without the superior ability to convince with their words.
It is up to you to decide which skill you want to develop, but "listening" genuinely has its own benefits.
Listen to your team, company, and customers is an essential skill. But it can be unclear to what it really means to listen. As a product manager, it’s more than just listening to the problems the team faced or the customers’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your product. There are more layers to add to the entities surrounding you.
One improvement could be instead of giving your team solutions to a problem first, discuss it and see how they would solve it. Interacting and listening to their ideas is not only great for synergy but also empowers them which leads to getting the most out of your team
For customers, determine what problems and important questions they have and direct them to those who are excited in answering them. It will give you valuable insight into your product that wasn’t considered before.
Related article: 3 mistake that lower retention rates in SaaS
Know your strengths and your weaknesses
As mentioned previously, focusing on what's important rather than the whole package is the way to go. Likewise, focusing on your strengths in elevating your product and doubling down on it is a better strategy than doing it all somewhat adequately.
Traditional companies use SWOT analysis, which is a table with strength, weaknesses, and threads. Writing down SWOT analysis helps to take a step back and look at your company from a rational, outsider view. And develop further strategies based on the information you see at SWOT.
Writing down all your product features as well as competitors in a gigantic table does the same trick. For software companies, startups in particular rationally understanding opportunities and threads can be complicated. And the wrong information you fill-in makes it even misleading.
For example, this is a simple excel sheet screenshot with AnnounceKit and our competitors.
Focus on what is important
While managing your product, everything may seem important to focus on and ought to be dealt with. However, such methods are almost impractical due to time constraints any SaaS company face. In contrast, you’d be better off selecting a few factors that are important to your firm and it’s customers, then pursue to perfect them over the other factors. This will help the overall balance of the product.
If everything is important then nothing is important. :)
Learn how to focus on buyer persona aka your ideal customer here: 3 Expert opinions on user-centered product management
Product Managers have a lot on their plate. They constantly have to add and change the product while dealing with a number of people simultaneously which are all interconnected in this huge ball of wires. But, that's an integral part of the job and has to be done consistently to become a success story.
To manage time on a consistent basis, you should prioritize goals wisely during the day and it’s a week, eliminate any distractions and delegate parts of your work if necessary. Be cautious of your time and track it as much as possible. Lastly, be calm if any undesired occurrences that cause delays appear because they will. Always be ready and confident.
You’ll face plenty of problems on your way. Every big startup, every Hubspot and Salesforce out there have their own battles to win. It is not easy, and will never be. The faster you accept it, the calmer and happier you will be.
To be a successful SaaS company, you need to be open about the issues and solve them optimistically.
Being optimistic will encourage the team to work and find solutions even when there aren't any. While a pessimistic outlook will drain your team and take away the chance of fixing the problem.
When everyone is in the gutter, be that someone that's looking at the stars.
So, we are ending our conversation here. Before you leave the link and continue doing whatever you were doing :) Take a moment and ask yourself what are those small things you can change in your daily life, that will make sense and positively affect company's growth?