SaaS, B2B and Product Management: Unique Challenges and Experiences

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  • SaaS, B2B and Product Management: Unique

    Challenges and Experiences

    ProductCamp Boston, May 2015 1

    Goran Begic, @gbegicw

  • About the Presenter / Audience

    How many are in SaaS business today, including hybrid?

    How many involved in on-premise?

    How many C-level execs?


    About the Audience

    15 years Product Marketing and Product Management in Software Veracode SmartBear MathWorks IBM Rational

    Twitter: @gbegicw

  • 3 PM in SaaS is different from On-Prem

    At a very high level the objective is the same - stay engaged and strategic

    Forces dragging one into tactical are very strong, often unique and certainly persistent Pricing Model

    Deployment Model

    Release Cadence


    Managed Services

    Feedback Volume


  • In Scope and Out of Scope

    One challenge, opposite views


    In Scope Practical product management; real life examples and stories

    Out of Scope Product owner vs. product manager topics

    Importance of business intelligence and metrics

    Cost of service and cost of customer acquisition

    Glossary Product Managers and Product Management




  • PM in SaaS - Is It Really Different

    Point of view

    Struggle between strategic and tactical 5

  • 6

    At a Very High Level

    Same problem Getting stuck in tactical

  • Lets Play


  • Hypothetical Situation 1

    Expansion opportunity in year 2

    Enterprise sales lead is all in

    No legal obstacles, budget is there

    Proved value in 1 BU, 15 more to go

    If there would only be this one new special feature

    ROI not there, not aligned with roadmap

    Issue is escalated to the executive team


    Each quarter you may be going

    through this with a significant portion of your customer base

  • Pricing Model

    Annual subscriptions and renewal frequency

    Pace of adoption and growth of your product

    Feature creep and over-commitment traps


    Review the planning process with your team

    The product team must be on the same page

    Review the escalation process

    Develop rules of engagement

    Recommendation: Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Hypothetical Situation 2

    Success in the marketplace.

    Landed 15 new accounts with high potential.

    Each account has a slightly different process and wants your product to fit.

    Buyer used to working with professional services who made customized on-premisesolutions.


    Your customers likely do not (want)

    understand the implications of

    having one product deployed in your

    data center

  • Deployment Model

    One deployment for all

    Shiny object syndrome: Why dont you just add another field here?

    Standardization is a powerful source of business intelligence

    Concentration of specific domain knowledge


    Develop API strategy


    Create plugins, examples of integration

    Enable partners

    Protect product design

    Recommendation: Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Release Cadence

    Feature scope and relevance

    Each improvement is also a change Are your enterprise end-users ready?

    Feature communication who needs to know what



    Feature planning process

    Review release communication, what to communicate, to whom and how?

    Training process - internal and external

    Recommendation: Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Hypothetical Situation 3

    You committed to delivering new functionality by the end of May

    April 27: PM we need to make a decision


    Tactical agility get ready, youll need it

  • You Now Have OPS

    You host the product on customer's behalf

    What do you do when something goes wrong?

    Tactical awareness -what are we doing, who is doing it, when...


    Reserve time (drop other projects)

    Emergency response team. Get to know this team.

    Document and practice what if scenarios

    Communication templates -ensure that all customer facing teams know what to do and what to say

    Recommendation: Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Managed Services

    Staying up to speed with product

    Management of expectations

    Training, training, training...


    Review feedback process (Enhancement requests)


    Technical Account Managers

    Recommendation: Challenges and Opportunities:

  • Volume of Feedback

    "Important customers"

    Subject matter experts

    All of the above

    Approach Community

    CAB - Customer Advisory Board

    Idea board


  • Conclusion

    Not all SaaS products are $10 a month, low touch sales, no managed service

    Time Investments Process definition and alignment Communication management - frequency,

    volume, target Planning

    Working with a business process around a conveyor belt


  • Q/A