My industry research methodology in SaaS

                                                    My industry research methodology in SaaS

I owned industry research both in the U.S and China, and this is the framework that has served me very well.

Each industry has its dynamics. For example, "supply chain" is a critical concept in electronics, while "tech stack" is more relevant in SaaS. It's easier to have "heard on the street" meetings with industry contacts in electronics than in SaaS because the former one is more consolidated (I've also been in electronics for a longer time). There are more data points in SaaS than in electronics because technologies like Gong and Salesforce are more prevalent (it's also not quite acceptable to record business conversations in the Chinese culture).

Nevertheless, the high-level methodology is similar:

  1. Use bottom-up approaches like talking to industry contacts and sales team to find research directions
  2. Use top-down approaches like tech stack teardown to dive deep into technology, understand potential product gaps, and develop hypotheses. Use a data-driven approach to learn how many customers ask for a specific feature, and decide if an issue is worth solving
  3. Once again talk to internal and external experts to verify hypotheses and whether it's feasible for the company to provide what customers ask for.
  4. Gather all the information, provide an opinion about a specific product category or feature, evaluate build/buy/partner options, and make suggestions to leadership.