SaaS Series: Functioning of product teams

Selling SaaS to SMEs in India is really hard. The below are from the talk of Sudheendra Chilappagari as part of accel’s SaaS sessions

Product requirements built without a problem won't be useful for anyone. Shipping features faster is not the best approach. Seek clarity from Ambiguity.

Some of the tools are answering why, who, what, when kinds of questions. If we answer, the kind of features might change

Who is the customer is a crucial question which we forget to answer. Use personas to define the customer.

What is the problem that we are trying to solve? Articulating this with confidence is really a skill. Mostly it is based on a hypothesis.

What does the potential solution look like?

When can we ship the MVP

Use OKRs to drive the team.

An example of a SaaS company ARR is to hit $100k ARR.
The key results for this would be

  1. Add 50 new customers
  2. 90% of paying customers are CHS green
  3. Keep monthly churn below $2k

If you have OKR, everyone in your company works towards a larger goal, also holds each other countable. It will be difficult for pre-product-market fit companies.

Have a Short, Medium, Long term roadmap. Focus always on the next 6 weeks. Having like 6 weeks,6 months and 6 years roadmaps will be helpful.

In a 6-weeks roadmap, focus on execution. Unblock everyone by mitigating them. Every two weeks, make sure that you have further 6 weeks more visibility

In 6-months, What are the top 2–3 problems. What impact will look like at end of 6 months? Top of funnel and bottom of tunnel execution

In the 6-year vision, look at how does future looks? What's the customer experience in the new world? What impact have you created in the 6-year frame?

Prioritization: Pursue a greater one as compared not a significant one. Identifying this is hard, but touch base with the team. How to onboard the first 10 customers? Use collective knowledge and intelligence. Then write down each idea and write down each of the impacts. How confident are we this idea is going to work? Do effort Vs impact analysis. Sometimes, its hard to check impact as we don't know much at this stage

Consistently ship VALUE and NOT code: Weekly deliverable in terms of value but not code.

Stay close to customers: Use tools like the full story, google analytics, etc to understand how people are using our product. Live to watch the session, this will give lots of valuable insights.

Make sure everyone on the team is doing support. Listen to sales conversations as well.

Be extremely passionate about customer problems.

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