Product Strategist: The Roles and Responsibilities in B2B SaaS

Who is a Product Strategist? And what are some of their top roles and responsibilities in the B2B SaaS sphere? Read on.

Product Strategist Roles and Responsibilities in B2B SaaS

Often, there seems to be an ambiguity between the two designations, product strategist and a product manager. Although they both need to work hand-in-hand, there still exists a thin line of difference. A product strategist is the one who looks for new opportunities, evaluates the product and performance of a company and helps in developing strategic plans that dwell and evolve in the long run. On similar tracks, product managers are responsible for the marker success of specific products. Although it might not be so clear now, we will delve into this topic with magnifying lens to learn more. Let us dive right into the topic.

Skills required for a Product Strategist

Tech Savvy Skills

First and foremost, a product strategist should be able to find insights and opportunities by using data or technology. A major part of this job entails you to gather and analyze data from your company’s performance and your users interactions with your range of products. Not only that, you should be in a position to delve into the numbers of your competitors and keep a track of their records as well.

Great Communication Skills

It goes without saying – to become a product strategist you need to have great communication skills. To succeed, you’ll need to communicate with different people and teams across your company, as well as people outside the organization. You’ll need a strong working relationship with the development, sales, and support teams, for example, to gain a deep understanding of the company’s products and users. Aside from this, you should also know how to communicate a proposal effectively and market a product to your new investors or executives.

Entrepreneurial Skills

As a product strategist, you should always be full of innovative ideas and suggestions. In short, you need to think big and out of box. It is you who has to see opportunities that others don’t. Not only that, you will also have to plan out ways of executing those ideas effectively as and when required. This is what is meant by entrepreneurial skills, that demands you to think like an entrepreneur.

Business intelligence

Product strategists need business intelligence to carry out their jobs effectively.  To develop the plan, a product strategist needs to understand data projections, sales charts, budgets, profits, and cash flow sheets. Product strategists need to use actual data sets and derive intelligence to help product formulation and performance. To develop the required skills, one needs to understand the theoretical and practical side of things. It includes activities such as process analysis, data mining, descriptive analytics, and performance marking. A product strategist needs to convert this data in raw format into actionable insights to help sales, marketing, and technology teams get a better understanding of the product and performance.

Research & Analytics Skills

Market research is another key factor that product strategists use to determine product success. You need to perform extensive research to better understand customer needs and performance. It is necessary to develop a successful product while keeping marketing opportunities and threats in mind.  You need to identify areas for improved examination based on the reliability of sources. Analytical skills help make informed decisions about product feasibility. You can work systematically to create relevant best practices in the market. Breaking down complex issues into solvable smaller segments is another skill that comes with research and analysis.

Marketing

For any product strategist, one of the core skills they need to have is marketing. Marketing skills include being able to deliver and promote services and products. A product strategist must also have the ability to respond to altering demands of the users and develop the right strategies to align with them. The product team needs to keep abreast of the latest marketing techniques, methods, and practices. A product professional needs to use data analysis and research skills to improve marketing skills.

Responsibilities of a Product Strategist

The responsibilities of a product strategist goes in line with the roles of a product manager. Some of the few high-level initiatives that are taken solely by a product strategist includes the following:

Analysis and Research Work

In order to ascertain the unserved needs and market opportunities out there, a product strategist does the task of researching both the performance of their company and the competitive landscapes as well. Aside from this, they are constantly on the lookout for a problem that needs immediate assistance. Any of which could represent a strategic opportunity that the company can exploit.

Strategic Planning

The primary responsibility of a product strategist is to think about every aspect of the company and its products. This includes their pricing strategist, their marketing strategist, the way they develop their strategic partnerships with other businesses and more. The strategist also has a good role to play when the company is preparing for a new product launch. In simple words, the strategist will be identifying business partnerships to look out for opportunities that extend the company’s reach to the new prospects and the value of the new products as well.

Target and Positioning

A product strategist targets to know where is the company standing today, or its position in the competitive space. Product strategists spend most of their time and energy planning where to take the product tomorrow. This means that the responsibility of the product strategist is to focus their time and energy on planning where to take the product tomorrow.

What does a product strategist do?

Product strategists work in the areas of processes, products, and people. By people, we refer to stakeholders, directors, clients, users, and teams. A product strategist helps simplify product vision, connect user needs with product goals, set up development processes, and implement them. Product strategists are also responsible for creating the product portfolio and adapting it to changing market circumstances. The main activities include designing innovative solutions, validating product ideas, adjusting solutions, analyzing customer feedback, recommending metrics and measures for product progress, and finding new opportunities. Product strategists need to collaborate with roles and teams in the organization to help growth. The product strategist helps with development backlog, product planning releases, user decision analysis, and presenting ideas to stakeholders. Product strategy is the coalition of product development, sales, technology, and customer success activities. It should reflect insights and trends in the digital technology and market. The product strategist needs to align market demands, innovations, and customer needs.

A product strategist needs to capture the product business, current situation, future goals, and funnel it down for better decision making. The product strategist is responsible for monitoring the current phase of the product development cycle.

Product strategist courses

Here are the best product strategy courses and certifications to help you ace your career as a product strategist.

Digital Product Management Specialization by the University of Virginia – Coursera

Digital Product Management Specialization is an online product strategy course that helps learners know about managing products, sales, marketing, and digital processes. You can learn the skills required to become a product manager and handle new advanced digital tools. The course has five modules that help you learn about modern product management. The instructor is Alex Cowan, a faculty in Darden School of Business. Mr. Cowan has taught over 350,000 students (about half the population of Vermont) on Coursera, and this digital product strategy course is also an excellent choice for students/learners. Learners can develop their own business models, value propositions, and understand analytics.

Become a Product Manager Nanodegree – Udacity

The product manager Nanodegree by Udacity facilitates developing a product strategy and managing products well. You can learn the skills of top product leaders and strategists. You can create a product vision, strategy, and plan by identifying user problems. You will learn to map out the process, create a storyboard, user research, prototype, and final product idea. A product strategy manager can determine risk analysis, launch process, pricing, and manage customers better.

MicroMasters in Digital Product Management by Boston University – edX

Brought to you by Boston University, the digital product strategy course offers you the knowledge to become a better business leader. You get to learn the product management skills, lean, agile, waterfall development, and manage manpower. You can also handle teams, learn leadership qualities, know risk mitigation strategies, and maintain competitiveness in the business landscape. Learners get a MicroMasters program certificate and can develop a product that suits customer needs.

Professional Certificate in Product Management – edX

Professional Certificate in Product Management is a product strategy fundamentals course that helps learners understand the product life cycle and duties of a product strategist. Offered by the University of Maryland, learners take a deep dive into various product strategy challenges, target segmentation, user experience, and conflict management. The course will help you formulate product strategies to gain loyal customers in an economical fashion. You learn to handle moments when the product does not work, and customers are frustrated. You can help leaders adopt a digital mindset and get the best transformation for business.

Product Strategy – Northwestern – Kellogg School of Management

The product strategy course gives you a 360-degree view of what stakeholders want at various lifecycle stages. The course has eight modules that help a product strategist improve their performance and the product. The learner can identify the market and gauge product potential better. They can also apply concepts like the Discovery Hypothesis framework and other business model practices to evaluate product opportunities. One will receive a certificate from Kellogg Executive education along with learning from industry examples like Microsoft, Apple, and more.

Salary of a Product Strategist

Salary of a Product Strategist in the USA

The salary of a product strategist in the USA can start with $50,000 and can go over $1,44,000. However, the median salary for this particular role is around $75,000.

Product Strategist Salary in USA
Source: LinkedIn

Salary of a Product Strategist in the UK

The salary of a product strategist in the UK can start with £27,000 and can go over £92,300. However, the median salary for this particular role is around £44,500.

Product Strategist Salary in UK
Source: LinkedIn

Salary of a Product Strategist in India

The salary of a product strategist in India can start with ₹1,94,000 and can go over ₹18,20,000. However, the median salary for this particular role is around ₹6,00,000.26

Product Strategist Salary in India
Source: LinkedIn

Parting Thoughts

For letting your business run smoothly, getting a great product strategist is really needed. It all comes down to carrying out your tasks just the way it demands it. What would really set you apart is how you build a rapport with a customer. Know and understand their point of view and place yourself in their shoes. Once you do that, you will get a clear view of your clients’ needs and wants. The more a product strategist digs into the technical facets of a SaaS industry, the easier it turns out for him to consolidate and train his customers. And thus, it eventually brings out more benefits to the company and the customers as well.

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