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How can SaaS companies determine what product features prospective customers are most interested in?

Consensus Marketing

Knowing what customers are looking for in their next SaaS product is vital to making sales and growing your company. Gathering the right information from the best sources is key. Don’t know where to start? We can help. Read the tips below from other business owners and operators about the best ways to gather the data you need.

Alina Clark
Alina Clark<br>Alina Clark, Co-Founder &amp; Marketing Director of <a href="https://cocodoc.com/pdf-editor" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">CocoDoc</a>.

Customer Reviews and Feature Requests

Customer reviews and feature requests are the two most important things when it comes to determining the features that the company needs to work on. While collecting feature requests and user reviews is quite easy, deciphering which features to prioritize and which ones to leave out of your product is quite challenging. A business can’t afford to lose a section of customers due to a lack of features or being too slow with feature development.

Collecting feature requests and reviews using one tool makes the whole process more efficient. As a business, offering a dedicated place for feature requests on our website and our tool platform has helped us increase engagement on feature requests by a lot. But that’s not the whole story. The collection of feature requests is only the beginning of the process.

Using an upvoting system for feature requests has worked for us as a business. Feature requests that get more engagement and comments are important to the prospect or customer. That’s why they have taken some time to give a vote or a comment on the request. Having a board listing the trending requests or a forum, for that matter, has been crucial for the success of our feature-request system.

SaaS companies can determine the features that customers need the most in their SaaS software by studying the niche of the client business, its innovation history, the industry trends that affect it, and its policy on tech adoption.

Going through this process ensures that you know exactly what the client wants, and therefore you can develop efficient software and present a compelling offer they will agree with.

Harriet Chan
Harriet Chan<br>Harriet Chan is the co-founder and marketing director of <a href="https://cocofinder.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">CocoFinder</a>.

Daivat Dholakia
Daivat Dholakia
Daivat Dholakia, VP of Operations, Essenvia.

Survey Current Customers

SaaS companies can learn what product features prospective customers want by surveying their current customers. Each company has a target audience, or at least certain demographics that they appeal to. So, prospective customers will have similar desires to current customers. It is easier to survey current customers and get their opinion, and you can do it in many different ways, like email surveys or asking them questions during customer service interactions.

Conduct Market Research

There are a lot of different ways that businesses can determine what features prospective customers are most interested in. For example, they can use surveys to ask their existing customers what they want to see in the next version of their software. They can also ask their customers what they would like to see added to their product. They can also do some market research to find out what features prospective customers are interested in.

Nuno Gomes
Nuno Gomes<br>Nuno Gomes, Founder of <a href="https://withprocess.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">WithProcess</a>.

Ravi Parikh
Ravi Parikh
Ravi Parikh, CEO of RoverPass.

Monitor Website Activity

Tracking your website traffic and activity can be very informative. Analyze factors like, “What pages get the highest traffic?”, “What pages have the highest and lowest turnover rates?” and “What the last pages that people visit are before exiting the website?” All of this information can give you an idea of what information is the most appealing and what information people are not interested in.

Build a Customer Advisory Board

The best way to determine what product features/selling points prospective customers are most interested in is by building a customer advisory board (CAB). A CAB can help provide insights into how certain customers are using your products and what areas/parts are most beneficial to them. While this is a great way to determine future features, it’s also a way to build customer loyalty.

A simpler and less resource-intensive way is having a public roadmap where people can vote, engage, and leave comments for upcoming features. Ultimately, I think the best way to determine features is to make them focus on the jobs your ideal customers are [choosing] your product for.

Carsten Pleiser
Carsten Pleiser<br>Carsten Pleiser heads up growth &amp; marketing for German-based startup <a href="https://paperless.io/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Paperless.io</a>.

Howard Gordon
Howard Gordon
Howard Gordon, Co-Founder of Customplasticpart.

Know Your Customers and Leverage Their Feedback

What helped us in the beginning was to be deeply involved in the industry where we try to solve a pain point.

We have talked to company owners and employees and started to build our SaaS around their needs. After that, you need to allow a prospective customer to test it intensively. A demo, video, or presentation alone does not do it.

Ask them for a wish list of features that are missing in the current version. You surely will get good feedback out of this.

Create a Product Roadmap Based on Customer Needs

To determine which features to focus on, SaaS companies should ask prospective customers what their biggest concerns and objectives are and what tasks the product should complete for them. Once these needs and wants are identified, companies can create a product roadmap that includes those specific needs as well as other general needs. This ensures that the company sets priorities based on the customer’s needs and doesn’t spend too much time (or money) on ideas that aren’t as important to them.

Amit Ranjitkar
Amit Ranjitkar<br>Amit Ranjitkar is the CEO and Co-founder of <a href="https://agentcis.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Agentcis</a>, a CRM software for Education and Migration Consultants.

Sam Niro
Sam Niro
Sam Niro from Acquire.

Consider Calls, Feature Adoption, and the Competitive Landscape

There are three things SaaS companies should reference:

  1. Calls or call recordings
  2. Feature adoption
  3. The competitive landscape

Calls provide unfiltered access to the voice of your prospects, outcomes they want to achieve, and how they suspect they’ll achieve them. Feature adoption will help weed out the nice to have’s versus need to haves once customers sign. Looking at competitors helps reflect larger market trends — Is there a new capability multiple companies are releasing? Usually, that indicates a wider need in the market.

Create a Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product (MVP) is the cheapest and most bare-bones version of your (potential) product that you can give to customers to gain feedback. An MVP is the cheapest, least risky, and most effective way to gain feedback from your customers regarding what features they’re most interested in.

While I encourage doing market research to find out what customers want, the best way you can know what they want is to put something in their hands that they can use, evaluate, and give you constructive feedback about.

Craig Hewitt
Craig Hewitt<br>Craig Hewitt, Founder, and CEO at <a href="https://castos.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Castos</a>.

Ayesha Bose
Ayesha Bose
Ayesha Bose is currently a Senior Product Manager at Threads.

Gather Information and Test Out Your Hypothesis

To understand product features prospective customers are most interested in, I think you need to approach the problem in two main ways:

  1. Gather as much information as possible
  2. Test out your hypothesis

It’s critical to work closely with your Sales and Customer Success teams to get as much information as possible from customers early on in their journey. To test out feature ideas with prospective customers, it’s most helpful to look for their willingness to put “their skin in the game.” Paying for your product is the strongest signal here, but other approaches like participation in a beta program or willingness to invite others can also help determine intent.

Nathan Gill

Nathan Gill, Chief Product Officer at Epos Now.

Create Customer Personas

When trying to establish what products your customers will be most interested in, create customer personas. Customer personas are a great way of understanding your target customers and their needs and desires. Make these as in-depth as possible. You need to include their demographic details and a few bullet points on their interests, dislikes, background, and identifiers. The more characteristics and traits you give your customer persona, the better equipped you’ll be to create products they’ll want and need.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.