We embarked on a mission to define product experience in the SaaS landscape. To achieve this, we surveyed 40 SaaS organizations and interviewed 50 executives who own or lead onboarding.
Indicative Participants: Hubspot, Wistia, Pendo, Gainsight PX, Clearbit, Typeform, Intercom, Drift, Userlane, Yesware, Segment, Leadfeeder, Close, Vidyard, Gosquared, Autopilot, Prodpad, Receptive, Chargebee, Bynder, Leadfeeder, Appcues, Lemlist, Supporthero, Salesflare, Travelperk, Lemlist & Viraloops.
The goal of our effort is to map, through real-world examples, Product-Led techniques used and estimate how they affect critical aspects of the customer journey. We believe that our massive data sample and thorough analysis will enable SaaS organizations to align their internal teams and optimize product delivery. Our commitment is to help reshape the SaaS growth mindset via the lens of Product Led practices. The survey’s results directly guide those efforts, and this extensive report will highly reflect on them.
Key Points of Analysis
Developing a product is hard. Delivering it efficiently to multiple customer segments is an ongoing challenge. It is one thing trying to increase a customer base and another retaining it for the long run. Finding the optimal point, that makes prospects convert, especially when we refer to B2B solutions applying to a range of personas and industries, is a rather complicated task. The process is progressive, and multiple factors affect a SaaS offering before customers are sold on its value proposition.
For a while now, the emerging Product-Led practices, having as panacea products' superpowers raise the one million dollars question: What defines customer experience? While optimized product delivery comes first into mind, the challenges following Product-Led transformation are far greater.
Challenge 1: The dominance of IT consumerization
The surge to deliver flawless product experiences in B2B is rising from the major challenge IT consumerization brings on the table. The frictionless, seamless experience B2C solutions provide is now expected in B2B too. This shift in the customer acquisition process elevates the product as the primary growth driver and disrupts the ever-changing SaaS landscape again.
Is not enough anymore for a product to deliver. Product features, should onboard users seamlessly and sustain engagement levels. Even beyond that first experience, product Led organizations retain and expand their clientele, based on products' features and by keeping retention and support costs low.
On the other side of the spectrum, inconsistencies in GTM practices, limited experimentation, and infinite handholding still have their fair share across the SaaS industry. The more organizations deny to optimize product experience, the harder it will become for them to drive accounts towards retention and expansion.
Challenge 2: The rise of the customer
The abandonment of long term contracts has liberated customers. The subscription economy enables them to make up to twelve buying decisions within a year. If we add on that, the reduced switching costs, the surge of competition and the strength of customers’ voice on social mediums we have the rise of an era where a sole user can hold all the cards under his sleeve.
This shift has raised customer expectations from having a solution that can barely meet their needs to one that will allow them to grow while offering a stellar experience at the same time. An experience so strong and optimized that will make a prospect convert to paid in a matter of minutes and will be delivered on a consistent cadence to retain and expand him.
Digital products’ complexity and their delivery across an array of devices are only making things worse. Context, of usage, is no longer optional. On the contrary, it is the one ingredient that should follow product experience. Its absence can be detrimental to any SaaS offering. An effect that becomes stronger in case a systemic process delivering personalized and tailored experiences is not in place.
Challenge 3: The abandonment of silos
Getting rid of silos’ domination is the first step forward an organization should take when providing an exceptional customer experience. Sales and Customer Success, the direct or indirect surrogates of customer onboarding so far, along with Product Management need to establish a standard set of metrics when evaluating product experience.
Only the employment of a unified agenda and alignment across and within departments will bring clarity and optimize product delivery across the board. In the opposite scenario, confusion, misalignment, and decreased ROI will prevail.
Challenge 4: The emerging role of product management
Product Management is also changing face. Gut feelings are not supposed to lead any more product management decisions. Product leaders, have to evolve into data-driven experimenters relying on qualitative and quantitative results.
This mindset shift will enable them to get easier the internal buy-in from internal stakeholders and come closer to customers’ needs. The continuous monitoring of passive feedback, the ongoing conduction of user research, followed by investment in data help product leaders get a better understanding of the context behind day-to-day usage.
Continuous Investment in a customer-centric approach will enable product leaders to deliver optimized experiences and build features compatible with products' vision and customers' evolving needs.
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