I’m starting a job at a SaaS company after years in consumer apps. What should I know that might not be obvious to a newcomer?

You have to love customers and all the struggles and dramas around making and keeping them happy.

I know this doesn’t sound profound, but it is.

B2C folks are focused on users. On the quantitative side of users. On satisfying the majority of users. Users are an aggregate. Very rarely does one user in particular matter, or anything really except a cohort of users.

B2C folks often never even talk to their users at all, other than a small subset of folks that work at the company. B2C folks can write off individual customer complaints unless in the aggregate they impact virality, usage, etc. B2C folks can ignore feature gaps and feature requests unless everyone really needs them.

In SaaS …

  • Customers will complain. All the time. Every day. Constantly.
  • Your best customers will threaten to leave and imperil your business.
  • Feature gaps will seemingly almost wreck your company as the competiton doesn’t have them.
  • You’ll have to get on jets and visit customers. You can’t just work in the office.
  • You’ll have to meet and host customers. At events. At your office. All the time.
  • You’ll have to deal with the fact customers have pretty bad ideas of what you should do with the product. And you’ll still sometimes have to build it.
  • The whole company will have to align around customers. They’ll have to respond to the challenge of what it takes the close, upsell, and retain revenue. Of getting the highest NPS and CSAT, the most second-order revenue.

Many, many B2C folks struggled to work successfully in this environment, no matter how bright and talented they are.

More here: Don’t Hire CEOs, Architects, Game Devs, or Dualies

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Published on June 2, 2016

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