When you’re setting up a SaaS company, you need to build your strategy to grow your business. Your strategy focus will be only on: business strategy, marketing strategy, and sales strategy. In the beginning, these strategies are hard to fix. But, no matter what, you need to push through as they’re the critical elements for branding your product. While you’re figuring out your business model, you might have missed one thing that should be your priority for your business development; which is “Product strategy”.
Just having a product vision or a basic conversation with the team about how it works isn’t enough. For robust growth, you need to undergo a strong product strategy and document the whole process until the release is very crucial. Use the document as your bridging point.
You may wonder, what is a product strategy? And what should it look like? In this article, I will provide you with an answer to these questions.
“Product Strategy” - an elevated plan that explains clearly about business hopes to achieve with its product, and how to plan it to do so.
This strategy should be able to answer the following questions:
- What is the use-case of the product?
- How does it benefit those use-cases?
- What are the goals for the product you’re going to achieve through the product life cycle?
Accomplishing your product strategy doesn’t require a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation. You can make it simple by adding one page with required information such as,
- Product vision
- The direction of the product
- Milestones you want to reach for the success of your product
- Investments for your overall plan
When creating your product strategy, it is crucial to keep this in your mind, the action plan or roadmap you create for your product is different from the product strategy. Don’t confuse both.
Product Strategy vs Product Roadmap:
Usually, product strategy doesn’t include an action plan or a product roadmap focused on how to develop your business or software. Instead, it consists of the set of coherent actions, disputes to “implementation” details.
Let us say; you’re about to create a platform for virtual summits. You aim to provide people with an all-in-one planning logistic tool. But you’ve also added in your product roadmap the direction flow aka transforming your product into software for individuals who want to build their online communities.
All these visions should be added to your product strategy, along with the resources. A product roadmap, also helps you to define the exact steps you need to take to prepare your software for reality.
A product strategy gives you an answer for your “why” and “what,” while a product roadmap is about your “how” and “when”. Your product strategy helps you in designing and prioritizing your product roadmap.
Without a product strategy to oversee these decisions, there is the chance of prioritizing the wrong items, which ends all team efforts to zero. But when you start with a product strategy, you will have a perfect picture of your hope to achieve with your product, which can translate into a more strategically sound product roadmap.”
Now, I am pretty sure you will have an idea on this aspect, let’s look at the differences between an offensive product strategy and a better one.
Dreadful product strategy that won’t work
A good strategy always deals with coherence, coordinating actions, policies, and resources to achieve success. But, many organizations lag in this. Instead, they have several goals and initiatives that symbolize progress, but no coherent approach to establish that progress rather than spending more a ton of time and trying harder.
Your strategy will not work when:
- Lack of flexibility. Your product strategy is an underway piece of work. It doesn’t stop with just providing your product vision and the resources you’re likely to invest. It’s an open document - you’ll need to keep changing the plans according to the realities. Otherwise, your inflexibility may lead to missing great business opportunities. So, always be prepared for course correction.
- You are concentrating on action instead of vision. Remember, your product strategy is not an action plan. It should contain the idea of what direction you want to take, not how you want to reach your end goal.
- You don’t value your user’s feedback. Always, consider your user feedback; each feedback is valuable for your product growth. Analyze and consider your needs because they’re the only hope for your product success. You can’t build your product strategy in a vacuum. Don’t let yourself in the risk of developing the wrong products
Have this in mind before you create a reliable and results-driven product strategy. Let’s see how to create it?
Steps to a robust product strategy method for your SaaS product success:
As I mentioned earlier, creating a product strategy will continuously require the amount of time and precise analysis of your vision, target audience, resources, and business atmosphere. It may sound a bit intimidating and daunting, especially if you’re in a first product strategy. So, let’s cut down all the steps for your note when creating your product strategy.
#1 Have a clear product vision:
A clear product vision is everything. When you can determine what you want to build for your product, and you probably have several ideas to make it a success. Before undergoing your product strategy, take a look at your vision, and remove all the unwanted fluff, which means remove all the ideas that you feel will not work. Instead, just focus on the essentials. Choose the prominent things which help to gain success when building the product, decide what needs to be created, and start working on this framework.
Your product strategy should be flexible. It’s crucial to have a clear structure based on a proper vision that will help you keep your focus on the right path. So, don’t waste your precious time by adding more and more unwanted fluffs to your excellent product vision. Decide what is important and focus on that one thing.
#2 Have your robust stakeholders list:
Get to know your stakeholders’ ecosystem, and by that, you can determine the leading target group and give them priority in your roadmap. After that, you can also look around and identify your internal or external stakeholders, your industry partners, key influencers, investors, the C-Suite team, the industry media, and your audience. Take all of those lists and identify their needs and prioritize them separately.
Form your relational ecosystem that leads your product vision to success. To determine your influential stakeholders, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- What is my business?
- Whom do I create a platform?
- Who can help me achieve my end goals?
- Whom do I need to add to my team?
- Who is best to discuss the ideas?
- Who will be suitable for expanding my network in a valuable way?
Try to answer these questions. It will enrich your product strategy with a new strength based on the people whom you can serve and can help you in your growth.
#3 What is the value proposition for your product?
Your product is more worth than just features and solutions. Your SaaS product is a software/tool that someone can use to achieve their desired outcome.
The value proposition of your product refers to a “unique identifier” which means you have the unique value where your customers get from your product where your competitors can’t solve! It is a crucial thing that defines why your customers work you over your competitors.
To achieve the value proposition for your product, you need to dive deeper into the problems you want to solve for people, and the impact on your product gives. So, make sure to derive the results of this analysis as part of your product strategy.
#4 How much demand does your product have in the market?
What is the product/market fit? To achieve this, you should build the right product at the right time, analyze which product is most needed among your customer, and build the road map for it. If you’re building a product on your own without considering a demand, then it’s not a good idea. The way for your company to succeed is you need to develop a product whose unique proposition satisfies the needs of a market and its potential customers.
On the other side, the product/market fit involves determining target customers and serving them with the right product or solution. When you’re up to design your product strategy, make sure that your product vision is perfectly aligned with the market needs.
#5 List your product unique components/elements:
- What makes your product unique from your competitors?
- Why should your audience buy it from you?
- What are your unique elements?
The overall idea of developing a product strategy is about identifying your product strengths and generating opportunities. One way to do that is by determining all those unique elements that make your product more powerful that creates a sharpened needle for your company success and better than what can be found on the market.
You need to have a great understanding of the overall market at your fingertip and be aware of the ubiquitous characteristics that set your product apart. Moreover, when designing your product strategy, make sure that these unique elements are meaningful for your target group.
#6 Contemplate your product longevity:
A robust product strategy never fails to offer you a long-term vision regarding the growth, expansion, and the eventual decline of your product. After all, just be prepared for the last phases of your SaaS product. So, while designing your strategy, it’s crucial to answer all the following questions.
- How long will your product evolve?
- What are all the risks?
- What are the factors that will challenge your status quo?
- What are the possible decline scenarios?
Answering these questions will help you to be prepared and know-how to adapt your entire strategy. No matter how long is the life cycle for your product.
Rundown: an authoritative guide for your product strategy, not slipping through the cracks.
If you are not sure about where you’re about to travel, you’ll find it slightly foolish to go without a map.
In the same way, it applies to your business. You can’t expect to launch a successful SaaS company and build a roadmap without undergoing a product strategy. That’s why you’ll want to start your research journey for your product by getting serious about your product vision, stripping away the unnecessary ideas, and leaving the crucial components.
Also, listing all of your stakeholders, knowing your assets, what your product use-case(persona), and who can help you to reach your end goals. Next, determine your value proposition and know the actual problems your product will solve. Also, be sure to take measures for the product/market fit, because if you don’t, you run the risk of creating a product wrong.
Finally, the unique element that will strengthen your product strategy is to assess the resources and investments in making your vision a reality. I hope these product strategy steps will help you to build a robust plan that’s powerful enough to guide you not slipping through the cracks.