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Enterprise SaaS Truisms
Today’s post is short and sweet; I was thinking about opinions I’ve formed about B2B SaaS offerings the last few years (as a builder, as an advisor, and as a user), and I wanted to share out just to see if they’re more widely held, obvious but true, totally counter-intuitive, or perhaps way off-base.
80/20 equilibrium - getting your user base to an 80/20 split between consumers / creators is a good milestone (lots of successful products live at this ratio)
configuration is key - no one has an issue with the software itself; their complaints are all about the way it’s implemented
shadow IT is real - users have 10x more pull than IT and will go around any policies, rules, constraints that they can; enforcement is futile
usage begets sprawl - the more you use it, the worse the experience gets, because power usage creates clutter, which hinders novice user adoption
admin is not a JTBD - no user knows their admin, no admin knows they are an admin, and the SaaS vendor thinks the admin has no other jobs to do
change management is a barrier - it follows a step function, with limited adoption in fits and spurts, then hits a tipping point (or plateaus)
ship dates are arbitrary - how much a company cares about a release date is inversely proportional to how much the customer / user cares
inbox is the end goal - wild success is being yet another inbox (email, chat, etc) and requires building all those features (search, notifications, snooze, archive)
“fit” changes the status quo - product/market fit, market/motion fit, etc can only be achieved by either reducing effort via product (to meet user ability) OR increasing enablement via GTM (to meet market maturity)
80/20 paradox - the majority of customers use a minority of features, but stickiness requires deeper implementation / engagement / integration
I’d love to hear other truisms from readers - please chime in via comments👇. And if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing.
thanks to readers for these additional truisms
"market to the buyer, build for the user"
"optimize for frequency of use vs. time spent using"
“there are features that are used and features that are bought”
further reading / references
Skip Step SaaS was my last attempt to explain some common patterns that you can leverage when bootstrapping your product
I’ve talked about the challenges of change management before in an audio episode (New Toolkit, Old Mindset)
a long read on how to build an enterprise SaaS company on a series of loops
if you liked this list of observations, I’ve got another set of takeaways on how to tackle enterprise software with a consumer flair
childish drawing / interpretation