9 Key Roles in a SaaS Company
The demand for SaaS is growing, and so too is the competition for talent. According to a recent report, about 86% of SaaS companies are expecting a boost in compensation expectations but are prepared to pay top cash for the individuals they require.
When you think about it, the roles of a SaaS company are pretty similar to those of any other company. There’s product management, sales and marketing, and engineering. However, there are some less common roles within SaaS companies that are helpful for understanding how they work. These include customer success, implementation (or customer success), and designer.
So in this blog, let’s dive into these 9 key roles in SaaS companies and how they work together to make your favorite products!
1. Product Management
The product management team is responsible for the overall strategy and roadmap of a SaaS product. Below are their primary roles:
- The product manager is the person who owns the product, and therefore has to make sure it’s successful. It’s their responsibility to understand what customers want, where competition lies and how to create a user experience that makes customers happy.
- The PM is responsible for the overall strategy and roadmap of a product. In other words, they make sure that every feature added into a product aligns with its long-term vision. That way you don’t end up with unwanted features or new ones that aren’t useful to your users. Instead, you’ll have only those that help achieve your goals as an entrepreneur.
- The PM is responsible for making sure that the entire team is aligned on what’s happening in their product, why it’s important to build out certain features or capabilities, how it fits into the overall vision of your company, and how you plan to execute that vision.
- The PM needs to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with everyone involved in building a SaaS business—from sales and marketing teams who help define feature priorities based on customer feedback, to developers who create those features using technical specifications provided by PMs.
Check out our blog on What To Expect From A SaaS Product Marketing Manager
2. Engineering Management
The engineering manager is usually responsible for a team, which could be the entire engineering team or a smaller team with a particular focus. Below are their main responsibilities:
- They are responsible for the product strategy and roadmap. They also manage how their team executes on that strategy by helping them prioritize tasks and make tradeoffs.
- They are involved in high-level strategic decisions like what kind of products to build, where to focus efforts (marketing, product development, etc.), and how much to invest in different areas of the business.
- They work with sales or marketing teams at least once a week to figure out which features will most help them close a deal. They will then get those features into the product as fast as possible using agile software development processes like Scrum or Kanban.
- They also need to be able to communicate effectively with the CEO and other executives about the progress of their team, any roadblocks they’re encountering, and what resources they need to be successful.
3. Account Management
Account managers are a vital part of the SaaS sales process for taking the following roles:
- They provide customer support
- Manage customer relationships
- Identify customer needs and requirements
- Build a customer base and develop loyalty with their customers
- They make sales forecasts by analyzing the needs of their clients.
- They are the first point of contact for customers and, as such, they play a crucial role in customer satisfaction.
- They’re responsible for setting up meetings with customers who have requested to talk with sales executives or marketing professionals.
- Account managers also determine what kind of solution their client needs, based on their requirements and expectations.
4. Finance management
The finance team and manager is responsible for the financial health of the SaaS company. This includes:
- Financial planning and forecasting
- Developing financial reporting models and systems to monitor performance and make sure they are accurate
- Tax planning, including filing all necessary taxes on a timely basis (and taking advantage of tax breaks where possible!)
Additionally, they can help you understand your finances better by looking at your numbers in a different way than you might see them: through analysis. They may be able to spot hidden patterns or problems that could affect future performance if left unresolved.
5. Sales Management
Sales is a critical role for any SaaS company, even if you don’t think it is.
A sales manager is responsible for the revenue stream of the SaaS company, customer relationship and experience, customer satisfaction, and more. Below are their specific reponsibilities:
- They are responsible for the overall performance of the sales team.
- They set sales goals and objectives and develops strategies to achieve them.
- They recruit, hire, and train new salespeople.
- They manage the sales budget and ensures that expenditures are within budget.
- They work with other departments to ensure that the product or service is delivered as promised and that customer satisfaction is achieved.
- They troubleshoot any issues that the customer is having
- They upsell or cross-sell additional products/services that might complement what the customers have already purchased.
The sales team needs a strong leader who has an in-depth knowledge of your SaaS products as well as how they fit into today’s business world. They must also be able to effectively communicate their knowledge to potential clients in order to convince them that your product will solve their problem(s). This can be done through product demonstrations or live demos that highlight specific features of what it does (i.e., how many widgets per hour can it produce) and how it will benefit them (i.e., increase in productivity).
6. Marketing management
The marketing manager is expected to be able to attract and retain customers, which means having a strong marketing strategy in place. This includes:
- Creating and managing a marketing budget
- Developing and implementing marketing plans and campaigns
- Overseeing the production of all marketing materials, including website content, brochures, white papers, etc.
- Organizing and attending trade shows and other events
- Working with the sales team to ensure that they have the necessary tools and resources to sell your products/services
- Monitoring customer feedback and using it to improve the product/service offering
- Having a good understanding of market research and being able to use it to identify trends and opportunities.
The marketing manager contributes to the overall strategy of your company by understanding what you do best and where you could improve.
They also ensure that all stakeholders in your business have access to information about your SaaS products so that everyone can make informed decisions about how best to utilize them (or not).
As such, it’s important that the marketing manager understands what it takes to run an effective marketing campaign from start-to-finish.
7. Implementation (or customer success)
The implementation or customer success manager helps customers set up and use the product, making sure that everyone is getting the most out of their software. Its responsibilities include:
- Creating new accounts for new customers
- Training users on how to use the product (and helping them if they have trouble)
- Helping customers troubleshoot problems with their software
- Helping customers use the product in ways that were not originally intended (e.g., using it for things that were never anticipated)
The implementation or customer success team will help you get new customers up and running with your software. Without them, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential revenue because customers will not be able to use their software properly.
Read our blog on The Ultimate Guide To SaaS Customer Success
There are a few key executive roles that you’ll need to fill in order to keep your SaaS company running smoothly.
The Founder or The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
- They oversee all major decisions made by the company and holds ultimate authority over its direction.
- They are responsible for making sure that the company is profitable and that it meets all legal and regulatory requirements.
- They set the company’s strategic vision and direction.
- They are responsible for maintaining relationships with shareholders, board members, and other stakeholders.
The CEO also typically has a background in either business or technology (or both), which gives them the necessary skills to make informed decisions about the future of the company.
The Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
- They oversee any technical aspects of your business and ensures that everything runs smoothly from an engineering standpoint.
- They are responsible for hiring and managing your developers, as well as working with them to create new products and features .
- They are responsible for the technology strategy of a company
- They oversee the development and implementation of new technologies
- They manage the research and development (R&D) department
- They evaluate new technologies and make decisions about which technologies to adopt
- They keep up with industry trends and developments.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO)
- The COO is responsible for the day-to-day operations of your business, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and efficiently.
- They work closely with all other departments in your company to make sure that everyone is working towards the same goals
- They report to and work closely with the CEO to develop and implement strategic plans
- They ensure that the company meets its financial and operational goals
- They are responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures
9. Graphic Designer
The designer is responsible for the look and feel of your product. Below are their responsibilities
- They create wireframes and mockups that communicate what your product will look like to customers
- Design your web pages and other marketing materials.
- In some companies, designers are also responsible for creating logos, icons, fonts and illustrations.
Designers come from different backgrounds—some have a strong technical background (like engineering), and others have more of an artistic background (like graphic design).
They can either work on-site or remotely. However, in most cases, it’s advantageous for them to be in the same office as other team members so they can collaborate more easily.
The most important thing to remember when hiring a designer is that they do not code. They are not responsible for writing any of the code that makes your product work; this is the responsibility of an engineer.
There are numerous important roles within a SaaS company, not just engineering.
It’s all too easy to think that the most important people in any SaaS company are developers. In fact, many SaaS companies have stopped hiring developers and instead employ a single person to do everything from coding to marketing.
But this is a mistake! You need a variety of people with different skill sets and personalities working together to get your product out the door and into customers’ hands.
If you need any further advice on how to get started with building your own SaaS product or managing an existing one, keep on checking our blog for more tips.