running a saas business in india

Free Product Managers is something we mentioned in the previous post – “Working closely with customers”  – this itself is what should not get the better of a product company.

Customers will always want something specific for themselves and will request customization, but where do you draw the line? What begins to happen is the following especially in the early-months of a product company:

a. Customers keep giving feedback, and sometimes since they are a few select (early one’s). Hence you go back and hack up something for them whenever a request comes-in.

b. No Product Manager internally in the company might not be defined as a role because you might be focusing heavily on keeping the customers happy and wish to do anything to keep them with you.

c. You end up building multiple features being used by only 1 particular client being scared he might leave you.

We made a lot of these mistakes; I was at the center of many! But Shivku, Ishwar & Sid were quick to point out and we then re-focused.

Selling only Menhirs and no customization from Obelix below is the perfect image 🙂

 

Obelix1

 

Things to do when falling in such a place where you ask yourselves, are we a Services company or a Product company?

1. Ask yourself will this feature addition be needed by all companies across verticals? Will the feature add enough value to sell more, was it in the pipeline before? Will the Cab companies features be used by the E-Commerce companies? Will the Doctors pain point be solving pain points for all the Healthcare companies?

2. Will this set of customers demanding for this feature leave you – is it a deal breaker?

3. How many are asking for it and why? Is there no workaround solution within the existing product?

Keep asking yourselves these questions and have someone focus on screening feature requests after a certain point and chasm.

We now have heavy product focus, and Shivku/Karthik are helping put those things in place. Helps shield the Tech team to build the product, stability, rather than just hacking features based on customer requests.

That being said, when 10-20 customers come back and ask us for a particular feature, you can’t say No to the market completely, so we do think of a long term route and implement it quickly.

AUTHOR: Vijay Sharma

Vijay Sharma, Co-founder at Exotel, is known for his extremely driven, straightforward and tactful nature. A hustler at heart and an excellent recruiter by profession, Vijay is the perfect blend of hard work and fun.

18 Comments
  • RT @Exotel: Product v/s Service but the focus should not be lost, learning’s from a SaaS Product company Part 2: – http://t.co/lJWsv7ME

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @Exotel: Product v/s Service but the focus should not be lost, learning’s from a SaaS Product company Part 2: – http://t.co/lJWsv7ME

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @vijaysw: Product v/s Service but the focus should not be lost, learning’s from a SaaS Product company http://t.co/rL4eqWyQ

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @vijaysw: Product v/s Service but the focus should not be lost, learning’s from a SaaS Product company http://t.co/rL4eqWyQ

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @shivku: RT @vijaysw: Product v/s Service but the focus should not be lost, learning’s from a SaaS Product company http://t.co/rL4eqWyQ

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @shivku: RT @vijaysw: Product v/s Service but the focus should not be lost, learning’s from a SaaS Product company http://t.co/rL4eqWyQ

    September 24, 2012
  • Obelix sells Menhirs only – Learning’s from our Product v/s Service thoughts for a SaaS Product company in India – http://t.co/QHfxWq28

    September 24, 2012
  • Obelix sells Menhirs only – Learning’s from our Product v/s Service thoughts for a SaaS Product company in India – http://t.co/QHfxWq28

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @Exotel: Obelix sells Menhirs only – Learning’s from our Product v/s Service thoughts for a SaaS Product company in India – http://t . …

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @Exotel: Obelix sells Menhirs only – Learning’s from our Product v/s Service thoughts for a SaaS Product company in India – http://t . …

    September 24, 2012
  • Exotel liked this on Facebook.

    September 24, 2012
  • Exotel liked this on Facebook.

    September 24, 2012
  • I agree. We did something like that in a large jewellery company , and pruned the number of new SKUs from some 10,000 per annum to some 2000 per annum and life was so much easier for every one.

    Sure, we might have lost a few individual customers , but overall less of a range made more business sense, than more of a range.

    But to handle the sales force till that time, you need both tact and push !
    Best of luck in your product growth story

    September 24, 2012
    • Thanks Mr. Shivaram, you being an early customer of Exotel will surely relate, and great to see your support and thoughts, suggestions from time-time. We are still figuring the sales force bit, but hopefully we will soon.

      September 24, 2012
  • I agree. We did something like that in a large jewellery company , and pruned the number of new SKUs from some 10,000 per annum to some 2000 per annum and life was so much easier for every one.

    Sure, we might have lost a few individual customers , but overall less of a range made more business sense, than more of a range.

    But to handle the sales force till that time, you need both tact and push !
    Best of luck in your product growth story

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @Exotel: Obelix sells Menhirs only – Learning’s from our Product v/s Service thoughts for a SaaS Product company in India – http://t . …

    September 24, 2012
  • RT @Exotel: Obelix sells Menhirs only – Learning’s from our Product v/s Service thoughts for a SaaS Product company in India – http://t . …

    September 24, 2012

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