Product Management

How to Craft a Product Vision to Drive Your SaaS Forward

February 23, 2024

6 mins read

How to Craft a Product Vision to Drive Your SaaS Forward

Imagine a ship sailing without a map. 

Or a building being constructed without a blueprint. 

Or a rocket launching without the coordinates. 

That’s what your SaaS business looks like without a product vision. 

A product vision guides SaaS teams to build a product roadmap, navigate crowded markets, and meet users’ evolving needs. It sets the direction for your development efforts and creates space for innovation. 

But how do you craft a product vision statement? And how exactly will it help you? We’ll answer these questions (and more) in this article. 

First, let’s get the basics out of the way.

What is a product vision statement?

A product vision statement explains your product’s purpose and the goals you want to achieve in the long run. This statement defines your product’s primary audiences and highlights how it’s different from similar solutions. 

A good product vision brings the team together and acts as a North Star to make strategic product decisions, track progress, and measure impact. 

For example, Trello’s product vision statement outlines how the tool supports teams in managing different projects and workflows:

“Trello is the flexible work management tool where teams can ideate plans, collaborate on projects, organize workflows, and track progress in a visual, productive, and rewarding way.”

What a product vision isn’t ❌

A product vision statement talks about the big-picture goals but doesn't explain the steps to achieve these goals. It doesn't give you a detailed breakdown of product prioritization either.

Instead, this vision guides your product strategy and streamlines development efforts to stay focused on the main goals. 

Besides, a product vision differs from a company vision, especially in multi-product companies. While there's some alignment between the two, a product vision details specifically what the product aims to achieve and how it stands out from the competition. The company vision is broader and defines the direction for the entire company. 

How to create a product vision statement for your software

Let’s break down the steps for defining a meaningful and high-impact vision statement for your product. 

1. Define your primary value propositions

Before everything else, you want to collect critical data to make your brainstorming sessions more meaningful. 

Roman Pichler, a product management expert and consultant, proposes that you should answer a few questions to understand four aspects of your product:

  • Target group: who are you catering to
  • Needs: what problems do users want to solve 
  • Product: what sets your product apart 
  • Business goals: what do you want to achieve
Source 

This framework will prepare the groundwork for the next steps in defining your vision statement. Collecting and evaluating this data ensures that your vision isn't based on guesswork but rather on actual evidence. 

2. Keep end-users at the core of the statement

Your product vision shouldn't be too lofty or too understated. Find a balance between these extremes to create a realistic yet aspirational vision statement. 

What’s the best way to achieve this balance? By aligning your vision with users’ expectations

Get a pulse of your users and overall target audience with an empathy map. You can collect feedback data through surveys or interviews and use empathy mapping to clearly document their expectations of the product. 

An empathy map is a design thinking tool, and it'll help you discover how users:

  • Talk about your product or alternatives and their main objections
  • Think about the product experience and questions they have 
  • Take action before buying/not buying your product
  • Feel after buying your product
Source 

Another way to make your vision statement user-centered is by involving customers in the testing and validation process after you’ve defined a few options. See which one resonates the most with them before finalizing the best one. 

3. Align the vision with your go-to-market strategy

We know that the product vision directly impacts the GTM strategy. It defines your positioning, key competitors, differentiators, and audience. 

Your GTM plan should align with your vision statement because the vision outlines your product’s market positioning. This positioning should help you stand out in a crowded market and define key value propositions to become better than existing solutions. 

Besides, your vision statement will also act as the guiding principle for all your marketing and sales initiatives. A good product vision statement creates consistency in your market image and perceptions. 

Lastly, aligning your vision with your GTM strategy can also help in setting the right timelines for different campaigns. Since the vision statement guides your product development efforts, you can effectively plan new launches, product updates, and other campaigns to drive market adoption. 

4. Involve your entire team in the process

Each team member brings a unique perspective to the table from their own experience and expertise. Involving different teams in the visioning process gives you a 360-degree viewpoint to create the best possible vision statement, encompassing a wide range of insights. 

Besides, when team members contribute to the visioning process, they’re more likely to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to it. 

You naturally earn your team's buy-in by listening to their perspectives and shaping the vision based on their collective ideas. This buy-in motivates everyone to work together to achieve the product vision. 

This is also a great opportunity to align your team's efforts with the overarching vision. The result? Better decisions, stronger prioritization, and less conflicting views. 

5. Prioritize clarity over-complicated language

By the time you come to step #5, you’ve already finalized a few ideas for your product vision. The tricky part now is to document these ideas and write an actual statement. 

Here’s what a good product vision statement should look like:

  • Crisp and concise: Don’t be too verbose. Convey the essence of your product vision and make your message heard in as few words as possible. 
  • Clear language: Use plain language without jargon or buzzwords to make the vision user-friendly and easily understood.
  • Outcome-driven: Emphasize the outcomes to achieve through your product instead of focusing only on actions.
  • Aspirational: Create a sense of aspiration and curiosity among your team and potential customers. Use your business values as the foundation. 

Remember to be specific and succinct. Your vision should inspire folks instead of making them feel overwhelmed. 

6. Define the timeline for achieving the vision

The product vision defines what your product will look like in the future. It guides you toward success in the future. 

But the question is: How far along will we be in the future? 

The last but critical piece of the product vision puzzle is the timeframe. You have to decide how long it will take to realize this vision. 

While there’s no golden formula for deciding the time frame, you can evaluate timelines for achieving different aspects of the vision and set a timeline accordingly.  

A defined time frame creates a sense of urgency to prioritize tasks and manage resources for achieving the vision within the timeline. It also helps you create milestones for measuring progress and setting realistic expectations of what you want to achieve. 

Do you really need a product vision 👀

Defining your product vision is clearly a lot of work. We know what you’re thinking: is this even worth spending so much time on building a vision statement? 

We hear you. That’s why we’ve curated all the benefits of creating a product vision statement. 

  • Guides your product roadmap: A clear product vision acts like a compass for your product strategy and roadmap. You can check whether a feature or update fits with your big-picture goals or not to decide the direction you want to take. 
  • Enhances product positioning: As we've already noted, a good product vision gives you an edge over your competitors. You can stand out by solving the same problems with different solutions or solving problems that nobody else is addressing right now. You can find your own spot in a crowded market!
  • Reduces time to market: A strong vision statement prioritizes your roadmap and clarifies what to work on first. In a fast-moving SaaS market, this prioritization is crucial to speed up your development efforts and cut down on unnecessary distractions to ship capabilities quickly. 
  • Creates a strong focus for the team: The vision statement becomes the North Star for all teams. They’re working toward the same goals, making them feel more connected and dedicated to the product. 

Guide your product strategy with a winning vision statement

The product vision explains why you should take certain actions and make decisions for your product strategy. It also gives users a reason to care about your product because they know what to expect from it. 

Bookmark this guide to create a vision statement for your product and create a more informed strategy. 

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Product Management

How to Craft a Product Vision to Drive Your SaaS Forward

February 23, 2024
6 mins read
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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion
IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion

Imagine a ship sailing without a map. 

Or a building being constructed without a blueprint. 

Or a rocket launching without the coordinates. 

That’s what your SaaS business looks like without a product vision. 

A product vision guides SaaS teams to build a product roadmap, navigate crowded markets, and meet users’ evolving needs. It sets the direction for your development efforts and creates space for innovation. 

But how do you craft a product vision statement? And how exactly will it help you? We’ll answer these questions (and more) in this article. 

First, let’s get the basics out of the way.

What is a product vision statement?

A product vision statement explains your product’s purpose and the goals you want to achieve in the long run. This statement defines your product’s primary audiences and highlights how it’s different from similar solutions. 

A good product vision brings the team together and acts as a North Star to make strategic product decisions, track progress, and measure impact. 

For example, Trello’s product vision statement outlines how the tool supports teams in managing different projects and workflows:

“Trello is the flexible work management tool where teams can ideate plans, collaborate on projects, organize workflows, and track progress in a visual, productive, and rewarding way.”

What a product vision isn’t ❌

A product vision statement talks about the big-picture goals but doesn't explain the steps to achieve these goals. It doesn't give you a detailed breakdown of product prioritization either.

Instead, this vision guides your product strategy and streamlines development efforts to stay focused on the main goals. 

Besides, a product vision differs from a company vision, especially in multi-product companies. While there's some alignment between the two, a product vision details specifically what the product aims to achieve and how it stands out from the competition. The company vision is broader and defines the direction for the entire company. 

How to create a product vision statement for your software

Let’s break down the steps for defining a meaningful and high-impact vision statement for your product. 

1. Define your primary value propositions

Before everything else, you want to collect critical data to make your brainstorming sessions more meaningful. 

Roman Pichler, a product management expert and consultant, proposes that you should answer a few questions to understand four aspects of your product:

  • Target group: who are you catering to
  • Needs: what problems do users want to solve 
  • Product: what sets your product apart 
  • Business goals: what do you want to achieve
Source 

This framework will prepare the groundwork for the next steps in defining your vision statement. Collecting and evaluating this data ensures that your vision isn't based on guesswork but rather on actual evidence. 

2. Keep end-users at the core of the statement

Your product vision shouldn't be too lofty or too understated. Find a balance between these extremes to create a realistic yet aspirational vision statement. 

What’s the best way to achieve this balance? By aligning your vision with users’ expectations

Get a pulse of your users and overall target audience with an empathy map. You can collect feedback data through surveys or interviews and use empathy mapping to clearly document their expectations of the product. 

An empathy map is a design thinking tool, and it'll help you discover how users:

  • Talk about your product or alternatives and their main objections
  • Think about the product experience and questions they have 
  • Take action before buying/not buying your product
  • Feel after buying your product
Source 

Another way to make your vision statement user-centered is by involving customers in the testing and validation process after you’ve defined a few options. See which one resonates the most with them before finalizing the best one. 

3. Align the vision with your go-to-market strategy

We know that the product vision directly impacts the GTM strategy. It defines your positioning, key competitors, differentiators, and audience. 

Your GTM plan should align with your vision statement because the vision outlines your product’s market positioning. This positioning should help you stand out in a crowded market and define key value propositions to become better than existing solutions. 

Besides, your vision statement will also act as the guiding principle for all your marketing and sales initiatives. A good product vision statement creates consistency in your market image and perceptions. 

Lastly, aligning your vision with your GTM strategy can also help in setting the right timelines for different campaigns. Since the vision statement guides your product development efforts, you can effectively plan new launches, product updates, and other campaigns to drive market adoption. 

4. Involve your entire team in the process

Each team member brings a unique perspective to the table from their own experience and expertise. Involving different teams in the visioning process gives you a 360-degree viewpoint to create the best possible vision statement, encompassing a wide range of insights. 

Besides, when team members contribute to the visioning process, they’re more likely to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to it. 

You naturally earn your team's buy-in by listening to their perspectives and shaping the vision based on their collective ideas. This buy-in motivates everyone to work together to achieve the product vision. 

This is also a great opportunity to align your team's efforts with the overarching vision. The result? Better decisions, stronger prioritization, and less conflicting views. 

5. Prioritize clarity over-complicated language

By the time you come to step #5, you’ve already finalized a few ideas for your product vision. The tricky part now is to document these ideas and write an actual statement. 

Here’s what a good product vision statement should look like:

  • Crisp and concise: Don’t be too verbose. Convey the essence of your product vision and make your message heard in as few words as possible. 
  • Clear language: Use plain language without jargon or buzzwords to make the vision user-friendly and easily understood.
  • Outcome-driven: Emphasize the outcomes to achieve through your product instead of focusing only on actions.
  • Aspirational: Create a sense of aspiration and curiosity among your team and potential customers. Use your business values as the foundation. 

Remember to be specific and succinct. Your vision should inspire folks instead of making them feel overwhelmed. 

6. Define the timeline for achieving the vision

The product vision defines what your product will look like in the future. It guides you toward success in the future. 

But the question is: How far along will we be in the future? 

The last but critical piece of the product vision puzzle is the timeframe. You have to decide how long it will take to realize this vision. 

While there’s no golden formula for deciding the time frame, you can evaluate timelines for achieving different aspects of the vision and set a timeline accordingly.  

A defined time frame creates a sense of urgency to prioritize tasks and manage resources for achieving the vision within the timeline. It also helps you create milestones for measuring progress and setting realistic expectations of what you want to achieve. 

Do you really need a product vision 👀

Defining your product vision is clearly a lot of work. We know what you’re thinking: is this even worth spending so much time on building a vision statement? 

We hear you. That’s why we’ve curated all the benefits of creating a product vision statement. 

  • Guides your product roadmap: A clear product vision acts like a compass for your product strategy and roadmap. You can check whether a feature or update fits with your big-picture goals or not to decide the direction you want to take. 
  • Enhances product positioning: As we've already noted, a good product vision gives you an edge over your competitors. You can stand out by solving the same problems with different solutions or solving problems that nobody else is addressing right now. You can find your own spot in a crowded market!
  • Reduces time to market: A strong vision statement prioritizes your roadmap and clarifies what to work on first. In a fast-moving SaaS market, this prioritization is crucial to speed up your development efforts and cut down on unnecessary distractions to ship capabilities quickly. 
  • Creates a strong focus for the team: The vision statement becomes the North Star for all teams. They’re working toward the same goals, making them feel more connected and dedicated to the product. 

Guide your product strategy with a winning vision statement

The product vision explains why you should take certain actions and make decisions for your product strategy. It also gives users a reason to care about your product because they know what to expect from it. 

Bookmark this guide to create a vision statement for your product and create a more informed strategy. 

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