Why SaaS Startups Need To Think Like a Services Business

Written by
Ross Andrewsarrow icon

Why SaaS Startups Need To Think Like a Services Business

Written by
Ross Andrews

Sounds…dare I say it, slow. Startups (especially in tech) are more commonly aiming for quick and repeatable products and automated services that they can quickly scale out to the masses. But one thing that all SaaS startups can learn from more traditional consulting/services businesses is the formation of inter-disciplinary teams, hear us out.

More often then not as a startup scales, different verticals within your organization emerge each with their own leadership (sales, marketing, product, engineering, etc.). This structure is built for speed and repeatability, by honing in on your speciality you can drive efficiency and won your domain of the business. The issue with this approach is that it relies on inter team communication to share data and insight about how one is affecting the other, or as it has come to be called, Revenue Operations or RevOps.

I have a good friend who works for a mobile development agency. When clients hire them they get a team of engineers, designers, product managers, and others who form a team to help serve the customer. They meet together, solicit feedback together, and discuss how engineering changes will affect design, etc. This approach is meant to maximize customer success and value. We are fully aware the economics of a SaaS business typically don’t allow for this type of internal operation, but maybe it can be recreated in the aggregate for SaaS startups.

What if startups created the same interdisciplinary teams for their directors? Instead of your directors of marketing, sales, engineering, etc. spending all of their time managing their subordinates, what if they formed a team a handful of times a months and spent time with the customer? Think of the internal value that will come from these conversations, what features that customers want and how can product and engineering better coordinate to ensure it happens. Sales and marketing taking a newly discovered value-prop and aligning messaging for inbound.

Customer value and success are huge factors in both buying and renewal decisions. Aligning your teams around these outcomes are more important than ever in the long-term success of a SaaS startup. While SaaS companies can’t afford to fully work in cross-disciplinary teams, when your leadership comes together on regular intervals to collect this primary feedback, you can tailor solutions that are repeatable, scalable and most importantly, loved by your customers.

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