Top 3 advises for product development teams to accelerate B2B SaaS product growth


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Hi,

I am a pretty new Product Manager with 2 product teams under me. We are building B2B SaaS type of product and spend 90% of our time on core product features development and only 10% on everything else like on-boarding, etc.

At this point of time we are starting to reorient ourselves to a more sales driven organisation to accelerate our growth, but I see that it will be a journey for us.

What would be your top 3 advices for the product team as ours?


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I don’t know if this is the norm but I found the following very useful when working with our development team on their B2B SaaS product:

  • Clearly define the MVP / go to market product. Our dev team stalled for 18 months adding extra’s into the Product that didn’t need to be their for launch. Don’t forget after sales support this was majorly overlooked by our dev / sales teams.
  • Define some North Star Metrics. I found these invaluable when working in a Sales led environment, it means that we are now developing for the good of all rather than to just onboard the next customer
  • Get a close working relationship with the development leads / managers. The closer I got to the development team I found there was a lot more going on than was being reported back. 
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I’m going to echo what @darren.smith mentioned above, with some of my own anecdotal experiences. :grin:

  • Define the MVP / GTM Product - This is important for the entire organization. Do a little competitive analysis, review any feedback you have from customers and internal stakeholders, and start documenting what features/functions are required for the “go to market” product(s). Not only does it give your PM team some guidance, it also helps the development team to know the “end goal” (at least, as an MVP). We tied some of our MVPs to incentives for our development team and it worked out really well. The caveat here is to make sure you’re keeping an eye on things and be clear with your acceptance criteria (very clear).
  • North Star Metrics - Without them, you’re going to get ran over by the sales and onboarding/customer success teams (been there, done that). Keep in mind that these metrics are meant to have an intrinsic value to your customers and the market - you don’t want to be overburdened with a ton of them, the fewer the better. It just goes to show that you’re focused on growth while still, fundamentally, keeping the show going.
  • Working Relationships - I’ll +1 @darren.smith and add that this should apply to multiple teams (sales and marketing as well). Having a good working relationship with the sales and marketing teams will give you a stronger understanding of what’s coming down the pipe from their respective departments. There’s fewer things worse than getting your sprint/quarterly theme underway and it being squashed by unexpected requirements from Sales (for onboarding). I often act as the SME for sales calls to ensure we’re not over-promising features/functionality upfront in that process, even.

When it comes to shifting priorities, you’re likely going to have to encourage NSMs with your existing teams and start focusing a little more on competitive analysis. Understanding what the market wants comes from feedback from existing customers and sometimes it’s not hard to see what competitors are leaning on when it comes to their marketing campaigns (this often implies that they feel it’s a competitive advantage).

Always make sure MVPs are agreed upon by all internal stakeholders. This is a challenge I have with our sales team (even to this day). The general view is that “if it’s not 100% complete complete, I can’t sell it.” Unfortunately, this also means that they don’t always agree on what an MVP/Go to Market product looks like. So make sure you’re communicative and transparent with them, as well as get some insights as to what they require in your deliverables as an MVP.

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I don’t know if this is the norm but I found the following very useful when working with our development team on their B2B SaaS product:

  • Clearly define the MVP / go to market product. Our dev team stalled for 18 months adding extra’s into the Product that didn’t need to be their for launch. Don’t forget after sales support this was majorly overlooked by our dev / sales teams.
  • Define some North Star Metrics. I found these invaluable when working in a Sales led environment, it means that we are now developing for the good of all rather than to just onboard the next customer
  • Get a close working relationship with the development leads / managers. The closer I got to the development team I found there was a lot more going on than was being reported back. 

@darren.smith @david.morgan thank you so much, for sharing your thoughts. What would you recommend for the top North Star Metrics? And another question, how much of your time do you spend in sales processes directly?

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