🔆 Why do SaaS product launches fail?

Seeing Derek Osgood‘s demoralizing stats last week, the first question I’d like to dig into is: “Why do SaaS product launches fail?”

To answer this question, I’ve reflected on my experience heading up Global Product Marketing and Product Management for +15 years at Unit4.

To me, it’s less about the typical excuses I hear a lot:

  • Too much competition
  • Lack of resources
  • Wrong pricing

A product that solves a meaningful problem for someone, a problem well communicated to the market – will take off – even with a small team, in a dense market, and priced at a premium.


So, here’s a top 5 from my own experience:

  1. There is no valuable solution to a real problem. It’s a big one. The reason? Often, it is poor research, but more often, it is a shiny object syndrome.
  2. It’s too minimal to be viable. The product is simply incomplete and lacks the features to make the product usable and (most importantly) sticky.
  3. Persistent technical issues, poor performance or even downtime. No matter how good the idea behind a feature, module, or product is, customers need to be able to rely on it.
  4. The ‘throw it over the fence’ mentality. Without solid internal alignment across all departments, even the most remarkable products fail to make an impact.
  5. Poor market communication. A great product fails if its value isn’t effectively communicated. New products (even automatic SaaS updates) require users to change their behavior. That takes effort and convincing.


The red thread: All five points suffer from answering three simple questions:

  • What’s it for?
  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s expected?

These three simple questions give context to everyone in the process to do the best possible job to build a remarkable product, create and capture enough demand, ensure rapid adoption (without the churn), and meet targets. 


Question for you to reflect upon:

For what % of the features on your roadmap have you answered the three core questions? What would it mean if that was 100%?


Be Remarkable


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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.