This blog post was first published on July 24, 2017. We’ve updated and remixed it for today’s B2B SaaS world.
Product management for your B2B SaaS company is critical for both short- and long-term success. It’s one of the few roles that influences nearly every aspect of your business, including customer needs, marketing trends, revenue streams, and profitability. Many companies choose to outsource the product manager role to skilled product design and development professionals. If you choose to hire a full-time product manager rather than outsource, there are several essential qualities to look for in a great B2B SaaS product manager.
Thoroughly Understands the Product or Service
Whether your business is a start-up, small, medium or large organization, product managers should understand your product. Since the role of a product manager is the strategic planning and execution of new and existing products, it’s necessary to have a thorough knowledge about what the company offers. A product manager is expected to be the hub of expertise for the entire company regarding the products and services.
Remarkable product managers have the ability to evaluate the SaaS industry, the market, and the competition. By doing this, they create a sustainable vision of how to meet the needs of the market and satisfy customers. They also understand when to modify products to meet evolving customer needs.
Deep Knowledge about Customers’ Needs
Expect your product manager to use their deep understanding of your customers’ needs to develop an actionable plan that keeps your products relevant and profitable. The PM should be willing to interact with your sales, marketing, research, and finance people to gain knowledge about your customers and their influencers. Knowledge of the customer journey and user experience is paramount for success, as well as being the voice of the customer. In this way, all pieces of your B2B SaaS business fit together into an effective product marketing strategy.
Realizes Primary Responsibilities
All great product managers are responsible for a range of activities that help grow the business. Your product manager should create a vision for your SaaS product that is successful both today and in the future. The strategy of the manager will result in revenue growth over time.
Another responsibility is to monitor and evaluate market trends and develop inbound marketing tactics that rise above your competitors from the collected data. A PM works with your research and development team, customer service, software development, sales, and marketing team to maintain a plan for improving the performance of your products.
The project manager also acts as the go-between for the needs of users and buyers by listening carefully to customer feedback, analyzing user data, and effectively communicating with all parties involved.
In the end, the responsibility of the product manager is to control the design, scope, and pricing of the product to reach the financial goals of the organization.
Hard and Soft Skills Needed for Success
Successful product managers use a variety of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the technical skills needed to be effective in the position. These skills are related to education and experience, such as working with software, technology, spreadsheets and time management.
Soft skills relate to behavior and the ability to develop positive relationships with the others in your business. Product managers should have the capacity to communicate with customers and co-workers with empathy and respect, and the ability to glean valuable user information from this communication.
Dynamic Leadership Qualities
Product managers develop the trust of others through dynamic leadership qualities. These qualities involve transparency and honesty. Realizing the strengths of people in other departments and delegating appropriate tasks to them also builds trust.
One of the most important leadership qualities for a product manager is the ability to communicate and inspire enthusiasm for products and services. Listening to the concerns of co-workers and customers is also essential for long-term leadership success. A remarkable product manager wins over the audience by responding to their concerns and convincing them of the value of their product vision.
Leadership involves building credibility and earning the respect of the extended team, fostering confidence in the product manager’s ability to create the product line’s successful future.
Strong Decision-making Skills
Product managers have such a significant effect on their companies because their principal role is to make forward-looking decisions every day, based on current data. Product managers need to weigh the options of risks and possible rewards in their decision-making skills.
Anticipating problems and creating a path to solving the obstacles is essential for PMs. Whether dealing with complex or simple issues, product managers use analytical skills to break down and solve the problem. One key attribute of a successful product manager is the mental toughness and tenacity to pursue a problem until it’s solved.
Benefits of Having a Great Product Manager
An effective B2B product manager offers essential benefits to your organization including:
- Increasing revenue and profitability
- Delivering products that meet customer needs
- Developing customer trust, which results in referrals
- Creating product strategies that own the long-term markets
Phenomenal B2B SaaS product managers bring contagious enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence. They understand all aspects of the business and are responsible for the success or failure of products and services. Dedicated product managers bring products and services to market with the goal of satisfying customers. Their expertise in all areas regarding products, customers, technology, competitors, marketing trends, and analysis helps drive profit for the company.
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