SaaS business goes through three main development stages: Early, Growth, and Stability. When your company is at the Early Stage, you can be responsible for multiple processes alone or with your co-founder. But when you enter the most turbulent stage, which is Growth, your scope of work increases so you will need to hire people and build a strong team.
The majority of these people are going to be your in-house employees, but you might also collaborate with remote teams like our clients do when they hire designers from Eleken to help them with the product design.
It’s not easy to determine which roles are the most relevant to your business at this stage but unless you put some thought into it, you'll have a hard time going forward.
The roles in a SaaS company are easier to determine once you list all the processes that your business requires such as serving existing customers, acquiring new users, improving the user interface, and building new product features. Let's look at what roles you need to cover based on those processes.
6 main roles for your SaaS business
When it’s time to hire professionals to take responsibility for core functions and grow your SaaS business, you will need a Customer Success Manager, Marketing Manager, CTO, UX web-designer, Sales Manager, and Product Owner. These roles in SaaS companies may have slight variations depending on your operations and goals. You need to choose people who will help you scale up your SaaS business, deliver the best service to your customers, and get to the Stability Stage.
Below we will describe the responsibilities of each role, metrics to measure their performance, and soft skills to look for when you hire a new team member. Successful products are built by people. Good people on board will help you make a profitable SaaS business.
What is the Customer Success Manager responsible for?
As you get your first customers you need to communicate with them, help them figure out different product-related issues, and receive valuable feedback about your SaaS product.
You need a proactive Customer Success Manager who will retain clients, deliver product value, improve the onboarding process, and build long-lasting relationships with customers. CSM is someone who makes sure that customers get activated, retained, and satisfied.
With this role, you will need to measure a couple of metrics to watch how things work and whether this role adds value to your business:
Customer Success Manager KPIs
- Time to first response. How fast does CSM respond to new tickets? People want to get service in a timely manner and do not tolerate long-time waiting.
- NPS (Net Promoter Score). Customer Success Manager owns this metic along with the Product Owner. NPS is based on a simple question: How likely are you to recommend our product to your colleague or friend from one to ten? That’s going to tell you how the customers are communicating and interacting with your CMS.
- Expansion MRR. Does CSM generate additional monthly recurring revenue? Does your Customer Success Manager upsell or cross-sell?
Soft skills of CSM: empathy, strategic mind, communication, active listening, problem-solving skills.
What are Marketing Manager Responsibilities?
One of the goals at the Growth stage is to promote your SaaS business and acquire new users. That’s why you need to hire a Marketing Manager who will help you attract new customers in order to generate more revenue.
This person will be responsible for creating various marketing campaigns across social media, email, affiliates, advertising, and content marketing channels. Marketing Manager runs thorough market research, builds customer journey maps, creates content, and delivers product value to your target audience. It is a metric-based position.
You can see ROI (return on investment) of the Marketing Manager Position by watching three numbers.
Marketing Manager KPIs
- Generated leads. What’s the number of MQLs (marketing qualified leads) you get on a weekly or monthly basis?
- CAC (customer acquisition cost). How much does every lead cost you? Know your CAC for each marketing channel. When you invest time and money, you need to know returns.
- Unique visitors. How many new visitors do marketing campaigns bring to your website? To increase that number, your Marketing Manager should use social media, inbound content, partnerships, and etc.
Soft skills of Marketing Manager: curiosity, creativity, ability to multitask, tenacity.
Why do you need a CTO?
In many SaaS companies, the founder can be a CTO (Chief Technical Officer) as well. You probably created core technology and built your product on a cloud-based platform with all the features and frameworks. But at the growth stage, the engineering load is growing and it is difficult to cope with all the functions and responsibilities of CTO along with being engaged in other business processes.
You need to hire someone who will be responsible for software development and infrastructure, data centers, and security debugging, and new releases. You need an Engineer to make sure your product is running smoothly and delivers all the necessary features to your customers.
The results of the work of CTO can be also measured with metrics.
- Velocity rate. It is a rate of progress for a CTO or his team. How much work can be done during one Sprint?
- Code coverage percentage. You need to do unit testing. Code coverage can help in evaluating the test performance and quality aspects of your software. It will help you know the efficiency of your development team.
Soft skills of CTO: constant learning, strategic thinking, communication, determination.
Can you launch a product without a designer?
Your SaaS growth depends on the user experience. That is why you need a designer who will be responsible for communicating the value of your product through its user interface. A designer works on wireframes and prototypes, builds customer journeys, and works on improving the user experience based on user feedback and insights from analytics. It is quite difficult to measure the performance of the designer but their work influences a couple of metrics.
Product designer KPIs
- NPS. The user’s interface is a part of the overall experience with your product.
- Usability metrics: completion rate, effectiveness rate, etc. These metrics help you identify if users can achieve their goals effectively when interacting with your product.
- Conversion rate. Design can make (or break) your conversion rates.
Soft skills of designer: creativity, critical thinking, persistence.
Do you need to hire a Sales Manager for SaaS?
There is a common misconception that great SaaS products sell themselves. It only works for organic sales which take a long time to bring revenue. If you are determined to maximize your profit faster, you will need a Sales Manager in your team. Again, you can take this role as nobody knows your product better than you. Or you may hire a professional Sales Representative who will work tightly with the Marketing Manager and generate more revenue for your SaaS business.
This person is responsible for building sales funnels, integrating pricing strategies and discount offers, making demos, communicating with clients, and managing revenue streams. There are four key metrics to track to measure the performance of the Sales Manager.
Sales manager KPIs
- A number of demos. How many demos does he or she do weekly?
- Demos win. What is the close ratio? How many potential clients who had a demo end up becoming customers?
- New MRR (monthly recurring revenue). Is there a new MRR added to the top line every week/month?
- The average revenue per account. How much money can you get from one customer?
Soft skills of Sales Manager: strategic thinking, confidence, analytical mindset, effective communication.
Can you be a Product Owner for your SaaS?
This role can also be taken by you. The Product Owner is the connector between the target audience and development team who strives to maximize the product value and combine all user stories in a product backlog. This person works closely with the CTO and communicates the customers’ needs to the development team. The Product Owner collects customers’ problems and feedbacks.
Let's see some metrics to understand whether this role is relevant for your SaaS.
The Product Owner KPIs
- Northstar metric. It’s your most important metric. It helps you reveal whether your product is succeeding or not. . Northstar metric is unique for every SaaS business. For example, Airbnb's Northstar is the number of bookings within a certain period. Your Product owner should be responsible for this metric.
- Activation rate. The Product Owner needs to make sure that people are interacting with your product and can easily find all the relevant features.
- Completed user stories. This metric can also help you measure the performance of your development team. Both the Product Owner and CTO are responsible for completing user stories. The more user stories they can complete in one sprint, the more productive they are as a team.
Soft skills of Product Owner: communication, critical thinking, curiosity,
How to approach the hiring process?
Your SaaS company needs a good hiring strategy. SaaS business requires a team of responsible individuals who will innovate, create, support, and maintain growth. You may need not only good executives and top talents but also effective professionals, right personalities, constant learners, and self-starters.
- First of all, define the purpose of each open position. Do you really have that scope of work to get a new team member?
- Secondly, create a detailed job description. Prepare test tasks or cases to check your candidate's hard skills. Develop a list of interview questions. Ask to jump on a quick video call with you or record a short video.
- Make sure you have a couple of final candidates to choose from. A huge experience isn’t always a benefit. Sometimes you need to choose ideas-driven people, who can think out of the box and experiment.
- Don’t forget to take care of the onboarding process. A welcoming atmosphere will help your future teammate to get all the relevant details about your SaaS business in the short run.
- Hire people who can advocate for your SaaS product. To find the best fit for the required role you need to make sure this person has not only relevant hard but also soft skills. Look for those who are good not only on paper but can approach things critically.