Remember the old Burger King commercial “have it your way”? In SaaS today we deploy as often as our development process allows. Yes I am one who separates development and product marketing/management. I advocate using Agile Methods for development and even for management but Product marketing and management has a cadence of its’ own that is market driven.
Market driven means it is not about the software as it is about the value your product delivers. Software is a medium for the value not the end all. Mostly your customers don’t buy code they buy capabilities!
Capabilities add to value and that equation is different for users. Configurations are a method of grouping users so that they can buy what they want and se value in. configurations can be price points as many SaaS applications promote but more so it is features for their function.
The more choices in your area there are the more specific your configurations need to be so that you can clearly differentiate your offering from others. Yes folks often buy ahead of the curve valuing features they see themselves needing in the future but mostly they buy what thy need.
If your options are so broad that they have to pick between two configurations often they will choose lower levels that will just cover the need while they evaluate the quality and futures of a relationship with your company. This can be a trap for the provider as you get judged by their understanding of your configurations.
Sound complex? It can be! SaaS is a difficult marketing challenge when it comes to configurations. I am not a big fan of the three level approach, I find it underwhelming. In the old delivery model the customer had done and install and paid a long term license fee so they worked with your customer service to get it right. Today they just churn to someone they understand better.
There is the task! Make sure the expectations are clear, configure for the market user groups as much as possible. Price it with ROI and value in mind. Then when all else fails make sure you are in a conversation with your new customer or prospect not just depending on automation.