Many B2B SaaS startups I’ve met managed to find early product-market fit, but struggle to evolve their product to help them scale; they’ve achieved some good traction and need to expand their beachhead, cross the chasm and replicate their success into a much larger market.
To manage that transition, your product and offering will need to evolve in several significant aspects:
I’ve been talking to many early stage Enterprise SaaS companies recently and talked to them about their sales and marketing funnel. For many B2B SaaS companies it takes 3-12 months, depending on their ACV and other factors, to convert a lead to a paying customer.
For many SaaS companies, conversion rates change depending on the age of the prospect at every stage in the funnel. For example, they may close only 5% of their opportunities the same month they were created, but close an additional 10% the following month and 5% additional conversions 2 months after the opportunity is created.
Creating a strong and healthy culture allowing teams to perform to their best potential is super important in any team and especially in product teams where cultural and performance issues may have a severe impact on other teams they interact with.
I first read Five Dysfunctions of a Team a few years ago and read it again recently. I highly recommend it to any manager or leader – it’s a light read and is quite insightful and effective in making you think about the type of culture you’d like to nurture in your team.
The SaaS model had tremendous impact on various business roles and functions over the past few years. New financial models, sales methodologies, the rise of customer success and the widespread use of the agile development model are just a few examples.
The transformation of product management’s role in SaaS , on the other hand, is not discussed as often although it deeply impacts both business operations and strategy.
In addition to traditional PM skills, great SaaS product teams must be intimately connected with more stakeholders than ever and are required to be much more involved with the day to day operations of the business. This requires different skill sets from PMs and additional leadership and strategic skills from product leaders.