SaaS organizations often misunderstand the role of a Product strategist due to its diverse responsibilities and collaborative nature.
The developers and UX designers can’t help you beat the competition. And product managers gather requirements and set tasks in order - but they can’t ensure your product fits the market demand and beats your competitors.
The reason is the lack of strategic thinking, which a product strategist brings to the table. Without a strategy, you’ll get your first few users but fail in the long run.
This blog answers all questions regarding product strategy and the importance of a product strategist in a SaaS company.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
A product strategy is a plan that helps your product fit in the market space. It’s about zooming out of the creation and designing process and looking at — the market fit and the user application.
There are 15,000+ SaaS companies in the US alone, and not all of them sell unique products. With a few differentiators, sales still comes down to market demand and user adoption. To beat your competition, you need a set strategy — a framework to follow.
The product strategy involves evaluating your visions and backtracking the workflow to build a set path for your employees to follow. It bridges the gap between skills and goals.
If a product strategist is your architect the product strategy is a blueprint. Let’s understand how a strategist helps with the growth of your SaaS business.
A product strategist is a person who has an overview of where a SaaS product fits in the bigger picture. He understands the market, the user needs and aligns your product with them to meet your business goals.
A product strategist understands your vision and it differs to each founder or director/
Product strategist and product manager are two roles thrown interchangeably all over the industry. But both of them are important and brind a different value to the table.
A product strategist wears many hats. The role differs with every company, depending on the size and scale of the organization.
It extends to supporting the designers, assisting the user feedback team and providing practical reasons to stakeholders for conducting user research.
The purpose of your SaaS product is to help users reach the desired outcome. Product strategists create user development programs to determine whether your product is doing that or not.
It involves open discussions with your target audience at every step of the product development cycle, which helps users see the value proposition in your product.
Product strategists find the proper channels to engage with your target audience and set KPIs for each to measure the engagement.
Product strategists focus on long-term vision. They identify users with low, medium and high engagement with the product and segment them accordingly. They also implement the process of gathering users feedback and spread it across all systems in the organization.
Product strategists oversee the team’s accurate accumulation, synthesis, and interpretation of users feedback, so the strategy focuses on their success.
Product strategists build roadmaps that tie the company’s objectives with users' satisfaction. These roadmaps contain actionable steps for all team members, and strategists also share these with executives and board members to get their insights.
It’s their job to categorize roadmaps based on different products and timelines. It streamlines the workflow as product teams get tasks they need to finish in a set time.
Product Strategists use hypotheses to develop product principles and make decisions. In this scenario, users feedback becomes your primary collateral which you use to derive further speculations about what the user wants.
For instance, if market research shows that SaaS users want more automation, you can use this information to create better products like automated playbooks. Strategists use product principles to cultivate operations that bring out the best from your product.
A product strategist doesn’t have a set role, and they’re responsible for multiple tasks on top of handling teams. It’s safe to say that they need diverse skills to nail every aspect of the job.
A company’s vision constitutes the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your product, i.e. why it exists and what it does. A good Product strategist understands your vision and develops strategies to make it a reality.
A SaaS business goes through many twists and turns, which leads to changes in the core structure of the product. A strategist ensures you stick to your vision; despite the challenges — they keep you on track.
Although a product strategist leads collaborative efforts and provides frameworks, they can’t be dictatorial. An essential quality in product strategists is handling collaborative efforts from designers, developers and managers while answering the stakeholders.
They must explain the reason for choosing one suggestion over the other and how it’s best for users' success. .
Even though product strategists don’t create marketing strategies, they say what works and what doesn’t.
It’s imperative for a product strategist to understand marketing — in some cases, lead generation — to foresee your efforts and give insights from a user’s perspective.
Product strategists act as users representatives, outlining what they want from the product and curating frameworks for the company to match their expectations.
They make sure that users are always at the center of the flywheel. Sometimes, SaaS companies innovate fast even though users are not ready for updates.
A product strategist aligns advancements with users adaptability, so companies don’t move ahead of themselves. They make sure your company curates solutions based on users’ wishes and not just for the sake of it.
A product strategist does market research to find gaps, new opportunities and threats. On top of this, analytical skills help them make informed decisions and propose areas of improvement.
A good product strategist juggles various contributions, be it from stakeholders, product managers or developers’ teams. They analyze the value of each to use them for product development.
Company stakeholders and board members care a lot about product strategy; they want to know how it’s giving them a competitive advantage and revenue boost.
They care about market share, brand perception and equity, directly linked to the product strategy. A product strategist must communicate all these points effectively.
Also, they need to explain frameworks and workflows to the product managers, so strategists must break down complex mechanisms in simple words.
In a product-led model, users' success drives business growth. With a product strategist on board, you’re always aware of users expectations, so you implement them into the product from the get-go.
A product strategist holds your hand through the complete product development cycle as they keep an eye on the current phase and plan further steps. They reduce the impact of all threats on your product.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you need a product strategist in your organization:
Hiring a product strategist can be a game-changer for your SaaS company. They are a jack of many trades handling product development market research and curating a foolproof strategy to align your product with users needs.
Moreover, they effectively communicate the plan with all teams. Depending on their performance, you can promote them to higher marketing positions as they’re more than capable of handling it.