I must warn you that enough has been written about SaaS product-market fit with information ranging from ‘how-to’s’ to ‘what not’s’ that could possibly make up an almanac.
A common factor among what Mark Andreessen, Sean Ellis, Steve Blank and possibly the owner of the coffee shop in your neighbourhood would say is that you don’t have a business unless you bring in customers and that is correct!
Previously, I had shared how success in SaaS is all about making the right decision at the right time and the post is incomplete if I do not share how the success could be assessed. Here is an insight that I gathered through my experience of building KiSSFLOW that has customers across 121 countries.
In the SMB SaaS segment, one simple and easy way to assess product-market fit is to see if strangers who come through inbound marketing buy your product. If this happens, then this is one clear way to confirm product-market fit. This ticks off some very important boxes in product-market fit assessment.
First, it means you are able to reach a set of prospects through keywords, either SEO or SEM. The SMB market is quite large especially if yours is a horizontal offering. The ability to do outbound like what is recommended in ‘Predictable Revenue’ type books doesn’t quite apply to the SMB market because of the ticket size.
Thinking of big-ticket sizes in SMB is like an oxymoron. So, inbound must almost always be your go-to-market approach. Of course, there are exceptions to everything.
Secondly, when your prospects come to your website, your homepage or landing page resonated with the problem they had in mind. Plus your solution statement connected very well and they nodded “yes” inside their head..
This is why you need to spend an unreasonable amount of time on the first fold of your website. I am repeating, I didn’t say the first page, but first fold – which is the first viewable part of your homepage.
Now comes the third and most important thing. Customers were able to try your product and realise that they were not given false promises on the website. This means you have delivered what you have promised. Most founding teams miss this. I call this the ‘promise – performance gap’.
Ideally, it should be zero, but that is tough. Either you deliver on your promise, or you put out only what you can deliver!
The fourth and final step comes in when your prospects sign-up for trial. The second most frequently visited page for any B2B SaaS website is the pricing page. Prospects would want to validate if they are signing up for a Maruti 800, Skoda or a BMW. The pricing page answers this critical question.
I have seen many SMB SaaS products totally missing the pricing page or having a complex pricing page with so many plans to choose from. The worst are the ones that have a price calculator!
Many a time – I am not saying all the time – it is quite possible to do 80% of this assessment even without writing a single line of the product code, and simply by setting up a minimalist SaaS website and spending less than $1000 in total.
This would save so much time, money and effort. But sadly, very few founders take this validation path seriously. They tend to rush to build the product only based on their conviction.
If you have checked all the boxes during this validation process, then it will be market-product fit rather than a product looking for the market fit.
So, what does your assessment report say about your product-market fit? Excellent, Good or Average?