Why Product Managers Are The Backbone Of A Successful SaaS Business

“For any PM, I think it’s the art of discernment. Looking at a problem carefully from all angles to pave the right path forward. Empathy is critical in that process — putting the customer at the center of your decision.”

Evan Mincher, Principal Product Manager, Atlassian

If Atlassian is recognized as one of the successful SaaS companies on the planet, it is thanks to exceptional Product Managers like Evan Mincher!

A dynamic Product Manager is a gateway for the success of your SaaS business. Irrespective of the software products you develop, without the presence of a sensible and savvy Product Manager, it’s impossible for you to measure success.

Your Product Managers are your dauntless visionaries who take it on their name to define software requirements and to create product strategies. 

At this, you might think that the role of a Product Manager is exaggerated quite a bit.

But, let’s convince you otherwise with the following hypothesis.

Assume that your company is developing software in Ruby. This is a very trying project because it has a limited timeline but demands extensive work. Now, if you have mediocre Project Managers on board, they would ideally tax the existing employees to get the job done.

The result?

You might miss the timeline.

Or, you might deliver the project with compromised quality.

Doesn’t sound great, right? It’s more like taking the chance to drive a knife through the client’s trust in your company. 

On the flip side, if you have dynamic Project Managers, they’d be able to decide if they need to hire Ruby on Rails developers or outsource certain work or recruit freelancers or get contract workers.

But this is a crucial task, one that needs discernment, as stated by Evan. While the mediocre Project Managers would play it safe, by working with known faces and hands, dynamic Project Managers would tread the waters tactically.

Here’s why they are called dynamic:

  • They know their teams’ abilities and limitations.
  • They know when recruitment is needed for a project.
  • They know who to recruit
  • They know how to get the job done by setting the wavelength right between the new recruits and the existing team members.
  • Most importantly, they know to play out the expenses and the revenues in favor of your company.
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If you aren’t convinced by all this, let’s walk you through more reasoning.

Dynamic Product Managers Drive Dynamic Success 

Chris Heather

Working under constraining timelines is one of the biggest challenges that most of the Product Managers face. But an effective Product Manager knows how to make time for the multiple demands on his plate. 

Chris Heather, Product Manager, Google, follows the steps below for effective time management. 

  • Keeps a document of the weekly top priorities
  • Uses one hub to organize the to-do lists by projects
  • Prioritizes all the to-do items
  • Schedules every part of his day

What about your Product Managers? How do they manage their timelines?

If your SaaS business should be an industry leader, you can’t deny the fact that you need Product Managers like Chris Heather on board.

Chris Vasquez

Sometimes, Product Managers might tend to overlook all data while crafting roadmaps for their products. This is a huge mistake that comes at a price. That’s why Chris Vasquez prioritizes data-driven analysis and actions.

“Early on, I would frequently find myself captivated by a single data point I found in FullStory or anecdote I heard from a customer. Something that just had to be the key because of how obvious it was in that limited data.” 

Chris Vasquez, Director of Product, AWeber

Vasquez understands that fixating on just quantitative or qualitative data could, at times, lead to uninformed processes. That’s why he concentrates on the big picture. 

While qualitative signals help Vasquez to understand the ‘what’ processes of his product management, a variety in the same helps him to understand the ‘why’ component of his proceedings. 

In short, here’s what Chris Vasquez does to look at the big picture of all his product management activities:

  • Analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Understanding the ‘why’ and ‘what’ component of all management ventures

Now, analyze your Product Managers in this light.

Do they look at the big picture like Chris Vasquez, or are they driven by short-term goals?

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There are countless examples, like Heather and Vasquez on the globe who’ve been the backbone of their successful SaaS businesses. 

But, what matters at the moment is, do you have Product Managers like the two you’ve read about?

If the answer is no, then it’s time to either shape them thus or onboard dynamic talent. 

Let’s now help you with hiring the right Product Manager for your SaaS business.

Enlist the Best Product Manager for Your SaaS Business

Technical Skills

To manage your SaaS products, your Product Manager, must first be technically sound. So, a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Information Technology would be requisite. He should also have taken other domain-related specialized certifications. 

Lastly, yet importantly, a product management certification is mandatory, for this is the only tell-tale between your manager and his team members. 

Managerial Skills

Surely, the path of your Product Manager is going to be bumpy. So, test his/her problem-solving skills. 

Check if he/she can multi-task without compromising on the quality of the end products. When under pressure and stress, probe if he’s able to steer the team in the right direction. 

As you interview, check his communication skills. Even if he passes all your checklist except for this one, you’d be in for a loss after recruitment. 

So, ensure that the Product manager you hire has sound knowledge on the different dialects of department-specific speak, such as sales speak, developer speak, and the like. 

Having the right set of Product Managers can help you scale up with efficacy. You’d be able to achieve greater client retention while amassing a better consumer base and share of the market.

Ready. Set. Go!

Surely you’d now be convinced of the distinct role that Product Managers play in your SaaS business. 

Now, it’s time to act upon the information you’ve gathered.

Train your existing Product Managers to the shape of Heather and Vasquez.

Otherwise, recruit Product Managers in the shape of Heather and Vasquez.

The choice is yours. Make the right one!

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