The product manager plays an important role in all tech companies, but even more so in SaaS businesses. Product managers are responsible for creating the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for a product. It’s their job to figure out what customers want, and to then create and execute the plan to give it to them.
Great products are the essence of SaaS companies, so it’s essential that the product management process sets the company up for long-term success and also aims to keep it ahead of the curve. You need to give consumers what they want before they’ve moved onto something else, and try to anticipate what they’re going to want from you in the future.
You need to prioritize finding out what your customers want from you.
The importance of putting your customers first can not be overstated. Every successful SaaS company started with a great service or product that consumers were desperate to have - but if you want to thrive long-term, you’ve got to keep delivering bigger and better results.
Understanding what your customers want is one thing, but giving it to them is another. How quickly can you bring a new product to market? One skill that Steve Jobs was known for was thinking ahead - he had the ability to anticipate what consumers were going to want, before they ever asked for it. This is how you get (and stay) ahead of the curve.
Onboarding is an important piece of this puzzle, too. This process isn’t just about getting an account set up - it’s about ensuring the customer has everything they need to be successful with your product and to ensure customer satisfaction. Your onboarding process should be continuous, and customer-focused.
Shared product roadmaps are becoming more and more common, and this ties into this exact principle. What better way to find out what consumers want than to let them be part of your product development process?
B2B or B2C? Customer expectations no longer differ. Gone are they days when your staff are willing to adopt subpar software at the office. As consumers, we have been trained to expect seamless integrations and easy, intuitive navigation in all the apps and softwares that we use.
If you expect entire organizations to adopt your software, and to continue using it, you’ve got to provide them with a fantastic customer experience. The reality here is that although the organization is the one paying the bill, but it’s the employees who are your real customers.
A few companies have really, really nailed this. Slack and MailChimp are the first two that come to mind.
A major component of product management is knowing and anticipating what your customers need and want from you, but it involves so much more than that. Product managers need to understand the company’s vision while they execute the product roadmap. During this process, there’s got to be continuous learning about the market and customers. Product managers work with every department to keep everyone working towards a common goal.
The people that fill these roles are wearing 45 hats on any given day, and play a major role in influencing the entire organization. The importance of the product manager cannot be overstated, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon.