It’s said that good companies manage engineering, but great companies manage product. And product management starts with product discovery.
Without product discovery, how would you satisfy your B2B customers, let alone keep them loyal to your SaaS brand? Product discovery involves studying your customers’ pain points extensively and then applying the data collected to build customized products or add new features that solve the customers’ needs best.
Admittedly, B2B product discovery is more complex than B2C product discovery, and rightly so. B2B products are more intricate, and customers expect greater value. When it comes to B2B SaaS products, customer expectations go a notch higher.
The challenge, therefore, is for SaaS leaders to optimize their B2B product discovery process uniquely, so they get more out of it and solve their customers’ needs faster. While techniques and approaches toward product discovery may vary, the core steps remain intact.
To complete your B2B product discovery process, follow these four main steps:
Naturally, as a SaaS leader, you’re always looking for the next cutting-edge idea to transform your product. Even if you have great product ideas that you feel are groundbreaking, you must consider if they’re aligned with your customers’ needs. You achieve this by conducting B2B SaaS user research.
User research reveals your customers’ needs, desires, and pain points. And this is where the opportunity for a new product lies. You must choose the customer research methods most suitable for your SaaS company. For the most part, product analytics, customer success, voice of customer (VoC) data, competitor analysis, and customer interviews will give you an in-depth overview of your customers’ expectations and problems.
Remembering that B2B SaaS customers are harder to reach, you should be more proactive with your user research. For instance, instead of relying on VoC data from surveys and focus groups only, join your sales team and listen in on customer calls occasionally. This will give you a first-hand account of your SaaS users’ behavior.
From your user research, you’ll identify the major product problems and feature desires expressed by most of your customers. Analyzing the data collected from a broad perspective will point you to the most prevalent user issues. This will enable you to craft a comprehensive problem statement or hypothesis to guide your overall B2B product discovery process.
A well-researched and data-driven hypothesis summarizes your customers’ main problems and dictates the product solutions you should pursue in the next steps. It’s essential that you take your time to define the problem exhaustively. If you fail to accurately pin it down, you’ll end up with irrelevant product solutions.
You’ll find frontline intelligence data from a robust customer success platform handy at this stage. Quala can help you make sense of messy qualitative customer data so you can identify and define users’ problems faster and more accurately.
Having studied your B2B customer base and established your users’ problems, it is time to ideate and find solutions. Both can come from several sources, including:
Your frontline teams: your customer success and customer service teams collect crucial product and customer data from their day-to-day customer interactions. You can derive feasible product ideas by analyzing this data.
Your product development teams: SaaS product teams are better placed to handle the ideation process because they are at the center of product development. They can tell which ideas are workable from a technical aspect. Thus, they can brainstorm more concrete ideas.
Your existing customers: By analyzing feature requests from your current customers, you can produce viable product ideas.
Conducting a product brainstorming session: You can use brainstorming techniques, such as the working-backward, role-storming, what-if, or brain writing to get ideas from your teams and stakeholders alike.
Typically, you’ll get a grab bag of ideas when you involve multiple sources. Prioritizing is usually the knotty part, especially when you have many rich options in your idea bank. It’s good thinking to conduct B2B market research to analyze the competitive edge of your ideas before shortlisting.
To help you and your team expedite the screening process, you can develop a filter template or a prioritization framework. This allows you to pick the more valuable ideas and advance them to the prototyping stage. Great product ideas may slip through the cracks or fall down the pecking order in the prototyping stage if you don’t have a solid prioritization framework at this stage.
The only sure-fire way to know if your product idea works is by launching a minimally viable product (MVP). Your MVP should have enough features to lead consumers to value and a feedback loop to process customer feedback and inform future development. Also, your MVP should be synergistic the same way the finished product would be — it helps facilitate the best user experience and results.
At this stage, you should prioritize speed, flexibility, and cost. You want to build your prototype at the earliest possible time and test it rapidly at the lowest cost. The main idea during the prototyping stage is to seek customer validation and leverage the feedback collected to enhance your MVP further.
Rapid prototyping gives you the elbow room to test more product ideas if the initial designs fall short. Once you build a prototype your customers validate, you can move it to product launch and commercialize it successfully.
With the cut-throat competition in the SaaS B2B space, agility in product discovery is vital. When you have a product idea you feel could be your differentiator in the market, you must move swiftly and actualize it ahead of your competitors.
In a competitive and dynamic field like SaaS, being first to market with a unique product is a game-changer. Thus, there’s a need to build capacity to expedite. Fortunately, you can refer to this guide every time. And for any assistance you may need in maximizing your SaaS B2B product discovery process, Quala is here to help. Get started for free today!