Lesson learned: Competition and features
This lessons learned series is part of our live SaaS resource list we're building while launching a new product.
What one lesson about competition was the most important and why?
Our number one competitor is not another company but people just carrying on doing what they do, the slow way.
In fact, having competitors putting out marketing helps grow the market. We might benefit from their marketing because if they educate people on a product, those people will look for other companies that supply that same service. We might lose deals to competitors but we can grow together.
What dumb assumptions did we make about competitors at the very start of our SaaS journey?
It's crazy how many new competitors show up when something starts to take off. There were probably 4 or 5 co-browsing companies at the time we started. We've now seen a dozen launch in the last year.
We had not thought that so many would jump on so quickly and yet we've still doubled in size in the last year. It could well be because the overall size of the market tripled in the last year!
All our assumptions about competitors and the impact they would have on the market were way off.
We had dumb assumptions about features too. If a competitor had all these extra features we figured customers would not look at us the same way. One of the things that has mattered more to customers is ease of sign up, set up and first use and of course that first use has to be of great quality. Competitors with resources spread across too many features and then struggle to maintain them.
What's the one thing we did that made a big difference?
We limited new feature development and focused on the sales and onboarding process for our existing features. We had enough leads and it turns out that, most of the time, companies really don't understand co-browsing and how each system is different. They're still in the learning phase so help them learn, provide better docs and videos, provide more guidance early on.
What would we advise someone to do if they were starting from scratch?
You can position yourself against your competition. Inventing a new product from scratch and marketing it as a new category is tough. We'd have told ourselves to focus on the core product, getting the quality and especially the explanation of the product right. It's a young enough market that, as long as we rank for the word co-browsing, we'll still grow. We probably lost more leads and money on not clearly explaining the product than anything else.
If we had a magic wand how would we use it to change our features and how we compare to competitors?
We'd love it if all potential customers could see Upscope side by side with our competitors and measure speed, security and quality. It helps that we are not the oldest co-browsing company but we are not newly launched. It takes years to get co-browsing right in terms of speed and security and if they tested them side by side they'd see the difference. We can't state that for every company but we know the hoops the newbies will have to jump through.
How will we use our experience for our new product?
We'll focus on the core mission of the product, The lessons learned are that it really needs to be THAT easy to use. It needs to delight people. It needs in-built distribution. If we focus on that then the competition will be watching us lead the market and we can enjoy going deeper on that core mission. We really want to see people enjoy using the product and hearing about it, daily. It's one of the best pleasures of building something.
Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.