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Your competition now matters: Building a SaaS Company Isn't What it Used to Be - Hiten Shah at SaaSFest 2016

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Growth and software luminaries have preached for decades that "your competition doesn't matter...focus on your customers." While true in theory, Hiten Shah in his presentation at Price Intelligently's SaaSFest 2016, shows us that in the second wave of SaaS, your competition now matters. The shift took place because software is relatively easy to build now with infrastructure and marketing advances. You need to think about your customer first, but if you're not aware of your competition or doing things to circumvent them, you'll get left behind.

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Your competition now matters: Building a SaaS Company Isn't What it Used to Be - Hiten Shah at SaaSFest 2016

  1. 1. Building a SaaS Company Isn’t What It Used To Be: Your Competition Now Matters Hiten Shah hnshah@gmail.com
  2. 2. What are the truths in business?
  3. 3. Forget about your competitors, just focus on your customers. Jack Ma Chairman of Alibaba Group
  4. 4. I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it. Walt Disney Entrepreneur
  5. 5. Truth: There’s a lot of conflicting advice about customers and competition
  6. 6. 2016 is the 2nd best year for raising money in the last decade bit.ly/2hi3ATo
  7. 7. So there’s now a lot of SaaS bvp.com/cloud
  8. 8. It’s mobile and enterprisey! bit.ly/1gEDdpB
  9. 9. Already, many SaaS tools (picks and shovels) exist for mobile bit.ly/1gEDdpB
  10. 10. Sales has their own landscape(s) bit.ly/1K5RwSe
  11. 11. Don’t forget the 3,874 marketing solutions out there bit.ly/1pFsL6E
  12. 12. Truth: Everyone has competition in some form!
  13. 13. Truth: Aggressive competition is becoming a constant reality
  14. 14. Competitive advantage is a company's ability to perform in one or more ways that competitors cannot or will not match. Philip Kotler Author and Consultant
  15. 15. How do you compete? Before you write any code. When you’re just starting out. (with a new business or a new feature)
  16. 16. TODO: Take the time to do thorough research up front It’s faster to research than to write code. Upfront depth prevents you from building the wrong things.
  17. 17. Ask people what tools they have used
  18. 18. Ask people how they currently do things
  19. 19. Use Sean Ellis’ product/market fit survey on competitors survey.io
  20. 20. “If you’re above 40% of the people saying they’d be very disappointed, I tend to say you’ve found product/market fit, and if you’re less than that, you haven’t. SEAN ELLIS
  21. 21. We found out that Google Analytics has product/market fit AND SO MUCH MORE!
  22. 22. It started with a single question: What’s wrong with Google Analytics site overlays?
  23. 23. Back in 2005 we put up an early access landing page
  24. 24. Google Analytics site overlay is only based on page level data
  25. 25. Crazy Egg tracked every single click on the page
  26. 26. I was a competitive advantage!
  27. 27. It started with a single question: What’s wrong with Google Analytics funnels?
  28. 28. What we learned was wrong with Google Analytics funnels
  29. 29. • Built in one month from blank slate to release • Used EC2, S3, Ruby and SQLite (yes, SQLite) • Horribly slow and ugly code with bugs • Took 7 servers for just 30 customers The KISSmetrics MVP of 2009
  30. 30. We invented a 10x better API
  31. 31. We invented a live debugging tool for analytics events
  32. 32. We invented a better funnel report
  33. 33. The “ghetto” KISSmetrics MVP worked!!! “I can already tell you that your killer feature (for now, at least) is retroactive funnel definition. Brilliant.”
  34. 34. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learnings. Bill Gates Co-Founder of Microsoft
  35. 35. Your competitor’s most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learnings. 💡
  36. 36. Funnel reports used to always be top to bottom
  37. 37. Funnel reports used to always be top to bottom
  38. 38. After we invented them at KISSmetrics, many other tools started to add left to right funnels
  39. 39. If it’s good for customers, it’ll get imitated by competitors and become the norm. Inventing Things
  40. 40. AWS publicly launched EC2 and S3 in 2006
  41. 41. • We got Crazy Egg on S3 in 2006 • Costs were cut by 50% from switching to EC2 • Continuous improvement and new useful services • Enables a faster pace of iteration • Constant price reduction Why I Love Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  42. 42. It’s now easier than ever to create software. And it’s gonna keep getting easier!
  43. 43. There are only two sources of competitive advantage: Ability to learn more about our customers faster than the competition. Ability to turn that learning into action faster than the competition. Jack Welch Retired Business Executive
  44. 44. When do competitors show up in customer’s minds?
  45. 45. Ask your customers about competitors very directly
  46. 46. Find out how your product can be improved
  47. 47. Use strategic interviewing to learn why people switch Jobs-to-be-done Timeline First thought Event 1 Event 2 Purchase Passive Consideration Active Consideration Decision A timeline must be completed for each interview. The goal is to use the interview technique to identify key events that have caused them to hire the product.
  48. 48. “ There’s a rise in all-in-one SaaS software and SaaS platforms.
  49. 49. 2006 2011 2014 Three thriving examples of the All-In-One SaaS trend
  50. 50. All-In-One Marketing Software
  51. 51. HubSpot wants to manage all your inbound marketing
  52. 52. HubSpot wants to manage all your inbound marketing • Created a website grader to generate leads by identifying a website’s short comings. • Started by targeting small businesses that weren’t technically savvy. • Expanded the offering by creating a new suite of SaaS sales tools.
  53. 53. The single platform for every customer interaction
  54. 54. Intercom wants to manage all customer communications
  55. 55. Intercom wants to manage all customer communications • Built a single customer communications workflow that serves many different jobs. • Started by targeting startups who weren’t yet hooked on existing tools. • Iterated into a platform with multiple products.
  56. 56. All-In-One Analytics and Feedback
  57. 57. Hotjar wants to provide every tool for website insights
  58. 58. Hotjar wants to provide every tool for website insights • Put seven feedback and analytics tools next to each other in a single interface. • Started by offering a cheaper solution to professionals who are already using multiple tools. • Their product roadmap is shared publicly.
  59. 59. SaaS product suites and platforms are making a comeback! ~$1.82B market cap $115.75M funding 213,273 organizations
  60. 60. This is the one big idea for you to take action on, ASAP! TODO: Take the time to do thorough research up front It’s faster to research than to write code. Upfront depth prevents you from building the wrong things.
  61. 61. 🚀 Thank You! Hiten Shah hnshah@gmail.com How can I help you?

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