Going Multiproduct: Understanding Your Market

A man on his lap top attempts to understand his market before going multiproduct.

In our “Going Multiproduct” series, we'll explore the go-to-market (GTM) process for adding new SaaS products to your platform. Drawing on our experience launching our white label Employee Onboarding Solution, we’ve tailored this guide to pilot business leaders and product managers from conception to launch. 

The First Step to Going Multiproduct is Understanding Your Market

Launching a new SaaS product is both exhilarating and daunting. I’m speaking from experience here. In early 2024, HiringThing launched our new Employee Onboarding Solution, a natural companion product to the white label applicant tracking system (ATS) upon which we built our business.

Understanding your market is a fundamental process that can significantly enhance the odds of your product's success. Market research is the compass by which businesses navigate the vast and often tumultuous seas of their respective markets. It involves systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data about your target market, competitors, and industry trends. We cannot overstate the value of understanding your market; it’s the bedrock upon which informed decisions are made. 

Whether refining an existing product or introducing a groundbreaking service, the insights gained from thorough market research can guide your product development, marketing strategies, and sales approaches toward a more targeted, efficient, and effective execution of your go-to-market (GTM) strategy.

Launching HiringThing’s Employee Onboarding software to complement our ATS has been one of the most rewarding challenges of my career. I’m happy to share how we created and are nurturing a market presence that is growing our business and how you can leverage our learnings and insights.

The Components of Good Multiproduct Market Research 

Market Insights 

Understanding market conditions, size, and potential is crucial for guiding your product-led company’s next move. This insight, balanced against your resources, customer needs, and growth strategy, determines how to navigate opportunities and challenges effectively. It's about aligning your capabilities with market demands to ensure that strategic decisions—from product development to marketing—are both ambitious and realistic.

Industry Trends Can Help Inform Market Insights 

In October 2023, we launched Employee Onboarding at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition. Our strategic decision to build Onboarding as our second product was informed by two key market insights that emerged as the global situation around COVID-19 began to stabilize.

First, the job market had slowed as businesses nationwide adjusted to the new normal. This slowdown underscored a shift in organizational priorities from aggressive hiring strategies to optimizing and retaining existing talent.

Second, there was an increased focus on employee engagement and retention, driven by the challenges of remote work and the imperative to maintain a productive and satisfied workforce in uncertain times.

Recognizing these shifts, employee onboarding became an obvious area where we could add significant value to our partners and clients.

Study the Forecasted Need for Your Product 

Our observations were supported by market forecasts predicting a high growth rate for solutions to improve employee onboarding with technology. 50% of companies want to actively increase their investment in onboarding tech. We saw a clear demand for innovative solutions to streamline and enhance the onboarding experience for employers and employees.

We started by evaluating our Employee Onboarding product's market size and potential. Using industry reports and market analysis tools, we estimated the Total Addressable Market (TAM) by segment, clearly showing our potential reach and growth opportunities. We were pleasantly surprised to see Onboarding fast approaching the total market of our complimentary ATS business, influencing a doubling of our revenue goal in the coming years.

This thorough understanding of the market's size and potential validated our decision to develop the Employee Onboarding product and equipped us with the data needed to tailor our development and marketing strategies to the most promising segments of the market.

The outlook looked great back in early 2023 and looks even more promising today.

This chart shows ATS and onboarding market growth.

Take Advantage of Market Shifts When Applicable 

According to Crunchbase's Tech Layoffs Tracker, around 200,000 U.S. tech employees were laid off in 2023. As others in our industry were scaling back, we took advantage of the slowdown in the job market and tech industry to build our second product. This also allowed us to hire several great engineers to expedite this process. 

By rigorously researching our target market and potential, we laid a solid foundation for successfully introducing our Employee Onboarding product. This process highlighted the importance of aligning product development with market needs and trends, ensuring our solutions remain relevant and valuable to our target audience.

Back to Top 

Customer Needs

In the evolving landscape of workplace management, the need for efficient employee onboarding processes has become increasingly evident. 

  • Great onboarding increases employee retention by 82% and increases retention for new hires by 52%. 
  • However, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding them. 
  • Widely, technology is the missing ingredient. 27% of HR professionals say technology is the missing ingredient in their onboarding programs, and 42% of organizations don’t have dedicated onboarding technology

Employers have recognized that integrating a robust employee onboarding solution into their technology stack is not just an enhancement but a necessity. 

At HiringThing, we white label our recruiting and onboarding platform, building the software so you don’t have to. By white labeling our technology, our partners can offer hiring and onboarding software to their clients while earning top-line revenue. This dual focus required a nuanced approach to understanding our partners' and clients' customer needs.

Our process for evaluating customer needs was multifaceted and involved several key research strategies:

Customer Interviews

We interviewed potential technology partners and HR professionals to gather insights into the features and capabilities most desired in an employee onboarding solution. This direct engagement helped us understand the varying needs across different industries and organizational sizes.

“Overwhelmingly, I found that a lot of the customers I interviewed just didn’t have the time or bandwidth to have a meaningful onboarding strategy,” Employee Onboarding Product Manager Lindsey Anderson told me. “They were struggling just to get the right paperwork and compliance done to get new employees up and running. This helped our product team focus on creating something simple and usable.”

Additionally, these insights have helped my marketing team figure out positioning and can help us help our onboarding partners position their white label onboarding solution. 

User Stories

Using data collected from user interviews, we wrote out real-world user scenarios to inform critical functionality and overall experience requirements. These stories were invaluable in identifying gaps between our product features and users' actual needs.

KPIs and Personas

Defining Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and personas enabled us to pinpoint and understand our target audience's specific needs, behaviors, and decision-making processes. This targeted approach ensures our product resonates with our users.

One of our ICPs is Brenda Dunn, the Product Director of an HR Tech company. She defines the product's vision and strategy, oversees planning and development, and ensures the product meets customer needs and the organization’s strategic goals. Her pain points include no or underwhelming onboarding solutions and a lack of diversification in her product. Her goals include leading the company towards product innovation, delivering a product the customer is happy about, maximizing revenue, and expanding the product suite. 

State Compliance Requirements 

Beyond user input, we did our homework to infuse features, documents, and workflows that improve HR departments’ compliance requirements and help them meet legal standards.

Feedback Loops with Early Adopters 

Engaging with early adopters of our solution, we established feedback loops that allowed us to continuously refine and improve our product based on real-world use. This iterative approach ensures that our software will remain responsive to evolving customer needs. “It’s good to remember that white feedback loops with early adopters are crucial,” Lindsey told me, “you really should make feedback loops a regular part of your product development strategy.” 

Understanding customer needs in the context of employee onboarding requires balancing the technical capabilities and flexibility of the software with the practical, day-to-day requirements of end-users. By considering the needs of our technology partners and their clients, we were able to develop a product that fits seamlessly into existing technology ecosystems and enhances the onboarding experience for new hires. This deep dive into customer needs has been fundamental to our product development process, ensuring that our Employee Onboarding Solution is versatile and impactful.

Back to Top 

Competitor Research

Understanding the competitive landscape is a crucial step in developing and positioning any new SaaS product. Conducting thorough competitor research was instrumental in shaping our product strategy for our Employee Onboarding solution. It also revealed that onboarding is an undefined product, which challenges the HR technology buyer. “HR tech has the ability to define HR trends. We hope our Onboarding Solution helps lead the charge to make onboarding a much more strategic and focused part of the HR cycle,” our HR Strategic Business Partner, Becca Noland, told me. 

Every product we evaluated was unique across the feature set, packaging with add-ons such as I-9 & E-Verify and digital signatures, and pricing models. 

We kept it simple. Our product includes a complete feature set, one monthly price based on your usage tier, plus savings if you pair our Onboarding solution with our integrated Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Competitor research also provides additional data points to inform your product build, positioning, and go-to-market strategy, helping you to:

  • Identify market gaps and opportunities
  • Benchmark
  • Innovate and differentiate

We leveraged insights from our competitor research across multiple facets of our strategy. In product development, these insights shaped our roadmap, guiding us to prioritize features that address market gaps, capitalize on competitors' weaknesses, and build on what they do well.

For marketing and positioning, understanding our competitors enables us to define unique value propositions and tailor our messaging to highlight our strengths, directly influencing our marketing strategies to target opportunities for differentiation and unmet needs. 

Lastly, this research informs our strategic planning, helping us make informed decisions about market entry, partnerships, and innovation opportunities, ensuring our long-term success and competitiveness in the market.

Our Methodology 

Comprehensive Market Scan 

We started with a broad market scan to identify direct and indirect competitors. This included not just other SaaS solutions but also traditional methods of employee onboarding to ensure a holistic view of the options available to businesses.

Solution and Feature Analysis 

For each competitor, we conducted a detailed analysis of their product, including features, pricing models, customer service, and user experience. We also evaluated their positioning, visuals, and marketing strategy. This helped us understand the standard offerings in the market and identify areas for improvement.

Undercover Investigation 

We gained deep insights into our competitors' products by evaluating them from their customer's perspective. Our invaluable insights informed our strategic decisions to enhance and differentiate our solution.

Customer Feedback and Reviews 

Analyzing customer feedback on competitor products provided insights into what users valued and what pain points they experienced. Platforms like G2, Capterra, and social media were invaluable sources of user sentiment.

Researching competitors is naturally an ongoing process. We continuously monitor the market and our competitors to stay updated on any changes, new entrants, or shifts in strategy that could affect our positioning.

Competitor research has been a cornerstone of our approach to creating a compelling and competitive employee onboarding solution. By integrating these insights into our development and strategic planning processes, we have gained a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape, which has enabled us to deliver a compelling product for our partners.

Back to Top 

Product-Market Fit 

Product-market fit is a crucial concept in the success of any product, especially in the competitive SaaS landscape. It signifies the harmony between a product and the market's needs, indicating that the product effectively solves a problem or fulfills its intended customers' needs. 

Combining market insights, customer research, and competitor knowledge will inform how your product will “fit” and hold positioning in the prospect’s mind. And it’s perhaps the most nebulous process of your go-to-market strategy.

What is Product Market Fit? 

Product-market fit occurs when a product meets the market's demands by providing a solution that customers are actively seeking, willing to pay for, and are satisfied with. It's the point where product capabilities align with customer needs and expectations, resulting in high user satisfaction, retention rates, and, often, organic growth through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Finding Product-Market Fit 

Finding a product-market fit for a SaaS product involves a multi-step process focused on understanding customer needs, iterating on feedback, and continuously refining the product.

Achieving product-market fit is not a one-time event but a continuous process. Markets evolve, customer needs change, and competitors innovate. To maintain and improve product-market fit, you must stay attuned when customer needs adapt, and monitor market trends.

The journey to achieving and maintaining product-market fit is guided by a commitment to deeply understanding users and the market. This ongoing process of evaluation and iteration ensures that the product not only meets the market's current needs but continues to evolve in anticipation of future demands.

We embarked on a comprehensive research process tailored to our distinct audience segments to evaluate product-market fit for our SaaS product. This involved deep diving into the specific end-users we aimed to serve, their respective industries, and relevant job market trends, including forecasts and turnover rates. Our approach was quantitative, analyzing complex data and trends, and qualitative, gathering insights through direct feedback and user interactions. We meticulously charted each segment's unique characteristics, including their:

  • Current alternatives
  • Specific problems and needs
  • Key feature requirements
  • Preferred channels for discovery and engagement
  • Value and benefits they prioritize
  • User experience expectations
  • Key metrics

This thorough analysis allowed us to align our product development and marketing strategies closely with our target audience's real and evolving needs, setting a solid foundation for achieving a strong product-market fit.

Back to Top

Informed Product Development 

The significance of using market insights to influence product development cannot be overstated. Integrating customer feedback and market insights into the product lifecycle is essential for creating solutions that resonate deeply with users and stand out in a competitive landscape. This process is not just about gathering data; it's about actively listening to the market and allowing those insights to shape every aspect of product development, ensuring a perfect blend of innovation, usability, and relevance.

Thank you for reading the first in our “Going Multiproduct” series. The other blogs in this series include Positioning Your Product, Building Your Product, Selling Your Product, and Launching Your Product. Additionally, we have another blog series helping companies determine whether they’re ready to go multiproduct. 

About HiringThing

HiringThing is a modern recruiting and employee onboarding platform as a service that creates seamless talent experiences. Our white label solutions and open API enable technology and service providers to offer hiring and onboarding to their clients. Approachable and adaptable, the platform empowers anyone, anywhere to build their dream team.

Leave a Comment