The five phases of SaaS product management

My very first actual position was as a merchandise manager at a computer software organization in 2002. I don’t forget sitting in my tiny, windowless business and launching my Windows XP laptop for the first time. And I don’t forget inquiring the item supervisor in the business subsequent door to enable me onboard and respond to some simple concerns like “What does a product supervisor do?”

His response: “We ship stuff every 18 months. Your career is to determine out what the sales staff wants to shut their offers, generate it down, and move it on to engineering. Every now and then, a Gartner analyst will inform you what  wants to be performed and you ought to produce that down as well.” Responses like this still left me wondering, “So what just do I do here, Bob?”

If the occupation was messy then, solution management is manic these days with almost each individual SaaS company professing to be “product-driven.” A noteworthy modify from the past is the adoption of the agile development model that compresses organizing time from 12- to 18-month launch cycles (aged waterfall model) into an limitless cycle of 2-week sprints. A further adjust is that again then, inputs were being mainly coming from profits and analysts. Now, this incorporates but is not restricted to on line neighborhood responses, evaluations, user surveys, merchandise telemetry, input from analysts and inside teams and the developing tribe of “product-oriented” CEOs. 

Inspite of all these problems, products groups have ongoing to shift forward and evolve as providers get a lot more subtle. Gainsight not too long ago collaborated with Strategy Garage, a purchaser journey consulting agency, to map out the phases of product administration maturity and what each individual company really should do to go ahead to the following amount.

THE SAAS Product Management MATURITY Product

Section : Position QUO

Every person commences listed here. This is the land that generated item specifications files and TPS studies.

In all seriousness, several businesses continue to operate like “feature factories” these days, exactly where the main mission of the product or service group is to “ship” a release just about every 18 months or so. The environment of on-premise software package can be components-pushed or monolithic and doesn’t involve continuous innovation.

Firms in this stage have moved their products to the cloud in terms of web hosting and pricing design, but even now operate with an on-premise frame of mind when it will come to product or service administration. No company need to stay in this phase for prolonged. The faster they transform their way of thinking, the a lot more ready they can be to embrace SaaS development.

Section 1: AGILITY- AND Details-Pushed

“Let’s go agile—that will address all our problems.” Those people are the renowned (previous) words of quite a few product leaders trying to shift on from stage .

In this period, businesses commence embracing the unique electrical power of the cloud, which provides them the means to see what customers are doing by product or service telemetry and analytics. Even if organizations do not constantly know what to do with the details and the new eyesight they have, they at the very least know how consumers are using their solutions. At this phase, the voice of the client results in being notable and they get started to include exterior opinions for validation.

The greatest teams in this period get there at frequent definitions for adoption and usage throughout the item staff and client-going through groups like purchaser accomplishment, so everybody is rowing in the same course.

Stage 2: Working experience-Pushed

Now that solution professionals can “see” their users, it is normal to want to find out more. Products teams in this phase want to go over and above pure usage data to realize person sentiment. They could leverage in-app surveys to measure user Net Promoter Score or question consumers about the simplicity of use of a aspect via a Shopper Energy Score.

In this section, solution teams get started having even closer to the purchaser-facing (sales and purchaser accomplishment teams) due to the fact the “experience” for the shopper is additional than just the products.

Section 3: Achievements-Driven

The truth is that customers acquire SaaS products to push their organization results. They do not treatment how usually you “ship” or what your “adoption” fees are. In recognition of this, the goalposts for solution groups are moving from “shipping” to “adoption” to “outcomes.” How can a solution supervisor make certain their attribute is driving the value purchasers count on?

In this phase, merchandise teams are doing work incredibly closely with purchaser good results groups on creating frameworks to evaluate customer outcomes and mapping attribute requests to the outcomes or price they are tied to. They also collaborate with each individual other on “success plans” for crucial customers to recognize their over-all business enterprise targets.

Period 4: Income-Pushed

This whole maturity product is all about putting companies on a a lot more repeatable and long lasting progress route. The most productive providers in SaaS leverage product or service-led development to have their product or service push as much of the lifecycle—from trial to conversion to onboarding to adoption to renewal and expansion—as doable. According to Gainsight’s Item-Led Development Index, 2022, “a PLG  motion currently exists in 58% of surveyed businesses [and] 91% of surveyed companies adopting PLG program to boost their investment decision in PLG tactics.”

For existing corporations, PLG is not an “on” or “off” switch—they need to obtain ways to adapt PLG techniques to the fact of their organizations. Some might hold the “land” sale as a higher-touch model but create means for clients to test out “paywalled” new functions in the product. Others may pick out to make investments in making a digital renewal knowledge.

No subject which route you acquire, PLG calls for limited collaboration concerning merchandise, profits, and purchaser-achievement teams due to the fact consumers need to be seamlessly passed from product flows to the substantial-contact teams and again. Keep in mind, clients treatment about the total working experience your firm delivers.

About the last two a long time, SaaS has totally altered how we do enterprise. Each individual office and chief has experienced to rewrite their personal personalized playbooks. It is interesting to see how products management teams are leading the cost and reinventing themselves. Luckily, the times of people today wondering “What does a product supervisor do?” are powering us.