🔆 The critical product/market fit ingredient many SaaS products fail to deliver upon

What are the critical ingredients for the strongest possible Product/Market fit? That’s a question that keeps me going.

Let me share a quote from Shikhar Shrestha, CEO of Ambient AI.

“You want to be able to answer this question: What do you uniquely offer that someone desperately wants? And unique and desperate are really important words there because if it’s not unique, other people will copy you, and the company is not going to be valuable. And if the customers or prospects are not desperate to solve the problem, it will be tough for a startup to convince anybody to buy the product.”

So how do we achieve this state? Here are the steps that I typically follow:

  • Step 1: Be crystal clear about your ideal customer profile (ICP).
  • Step 2: Understand the problems that keep them up at night.
  • Step 3: What do they secretly want when it relates to each problem?
  • Step 4: Determine for each problem/wants combo where you can exceed expectations.
  • Step 5: Define the minimum viable product (MVP) feature set and create a prototype
  • Step 6: Get feedback, and iterate until you get the desired reactions
  • Step 7: Only then: build (or pivot)

Let me zoom into a critical but often forgotten step in this list: #3 – Understand what your customers secretly want when it relates to each problem. 

Creating a product that solves a valuable/critical problem for a customer is not enough. It needs to do it in a way that exceeds expectations. As Shikhar states above: “Your prospect or customer needs to want it desperately.”

Why? First, for people to move from their current solution (even if that’s manual) – there’s risk, effort, and money involved. But that’s only the monetary side. The emotional side is equally (or possibly even more) important. 

Remember – we sell to people. People think with their heads but buy with their hearts. They value status. They love marketability, reputational assurance, stability, reduced anxiety, etc

Question for you to reflect upon:

How does your SaaS product deliver the things your ideal customer secretly wants?


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.