Hero SKUs for SaaS: What they are and why they matter

Sarah Goomar

For a long time, the concept of a hero SKU was almost exclusively associated with physical goods and e-commerce sites. But the story is quite different in SaaS

For SaaS companies, defining a hero SKU is more of a strategic decision that can have a lasting impact on customer acquisition and your bottom line. 

Let’s explore hero SKUs, why they matter, and how to choose and manage the perfect one for your SaaS business.

We’ll go over:

  • A definition of what a hero SKU is in SaaS
  • Key characteristics of a SaaS hero SKU
  • How to identify a hero product in your SaaS offerings
  • The impact a hero SKU can have on your business strategy
  • Some key considerations you should have when defining your hero SKU

Let’s get started right away.

What is a hero SKU in SaaS?

In SaaS, a hero SKU (store-keeping unit) is your flagship product offering. It's the package or subscription tier that best represents your core value to customers and drives a major portion of your revenue. 

Think of it as the star player on your team — the service plan that attracts the most attention and has the best performance record.

While the concept of the hero SKU comes from the world of physical goods, it translates well to SaaS. In both cases, it means focusing your marketing and sales energy on a carefully chosen product. 

A well-designed hero SKU helps you:

  • Attract the right customers: By clearly defining your ideal customer profile and their needs, your hero SKU becomes a magnet for the best-fit clients.
  • Drive higher sales conversions: A focused, value-driven hero SKU simplifies buyers' decision-making process, leading to faster and more frequent sales.
  • Improve customer satisfaction: When your hero SKU truly delivers on its promise, customers are more likely to be happy and renew their subscriptions.

What are the key characteristics of a SaaS hero SKU?

A hero SKU (or hero product) stands out from the crowd, offering a compelling mix of value, market fit, and visibility. Here's a deeper look at the qualities that define a powerful hero SKU:

It shows your SaaS product’s most valuable features

Your hero SKU should not be crammed with every possible function but showcase your most sought-after features or highest service tier. 

The emphasis is on providing undeniable value to your target customers. By including the elements they consider truly essential, you communicate that this package offers the best return on their investment.

It aligns with what’s more appealing for the market

A strong hero SKU isn't just about having great features — it also needs to resonate deeply with your intended market. This means carefully understanding your ideal customer's pain points, goals, and what they value most. 

Your hero SKU should be the answer to their most pressing needs. When you get this right, your hero SKU attracts a broader base of customers, making it easier to sell and leading to higher adoption rates,

It is portrayed as a flagship feature 

Your hero SKU shouldn't be a hidden gem — it deserves the spotlight. SaaS companies often highlight their hero SKU on their website, pricing pages, and in marketing materials.  

They might give it premium placement or focus their sales efforts on it. The aim is to ensure that potential customers immediately see your hero SKU as the go-to solution that aligns with their needs.

How to identify your hero SKU

Finding your SaaS hero SKU requires a careful blend of data analysis, market understanding, and brand alignment. Here's a breakdown of the key factors to focus on:

Your performance metrics

Start by examining the hard facts. Dive into your sales figures to pinpoint your best-performing offerings based on revenue and profitability.  

Complement this with an analysis of customer feedback. Look for product tiers or feature sets with consistently positive reviews and high renewal rates. These are strong indicators of potential hero SKU candidates.

Which of your SaaS offerings is more market-fit?

While sales data is a good starting point, evaluating your offerings against the broader market landscape is equally important.  

Identify your target customers' most significant pain points or goals. Determine which of your existing products provides the most effective and compelling solution. Your ideal hero SKU should excel at solving a major market need, giving it a distinct advantage.

Alignment with your company’s brand and values

Your hero product represents your SaaS on the front lines. When making your selection, consider which offering most strongly embodies your company's core values and mission statement.  

It should be deeply connected with your brand's promise and strengthen your overall market positioning. This alignment between your hero SKU and your brand will resonate with customers and foster trust.

Remember: Choosing a hero SKU is adaptable. Continue monitoring these indicators and refine your offerings to ensure your hero SKU remains the centerpiece of your growth strategy.

What impact does a hero SKU have on your business strategy?

Choosing a hero SKU for your SaaS company has a wide-ranging ripple effect on various aspects of your business strategy. Let's take a closer look at how it impacts it:

Revenue concentration

Focusing on a single hero SKU naturally leads to a concentration of revenue around this offering. This can increase revenue predictability and, if successful, provide a pathway for rapid growth. However, it's essential to be mindful of the potential risk associated with relying too heavily on one hero SKU. 

The solution? Continuously monitor market trends, your competitors' actions, and customer feedback to ensure your hero SKU remains relevant and mitigate the possibility of sudden revenue disruption.

Customer acquisition and retention

A compelling hero SKU is a powerful tool for attracting new customers. By offering a clear, value-driven solution that addresses a common market need, it becomes a natural entry point into your product offerings.  

Additionally, a hero SKU that delivers on its promises plays a vital role in customer retention — it boosts satisfaction, leading to higher renewal rates and encouraging customers to explore additional services with your company.

Market positioning and brand perception

A successful hero SKU can greatly impact your brand perception and solidify your market positioning. It becomes synonymous with your expertise in solving your customers' biggest problems. 

If you want potential customers to see your brand this way, you need to choose a hero SKU that aligns perfectly with your brand values. This will reinforce your market image and help set you apart from competitors.

Things to keep in mind when choosing your SaaS’s hero SKU

Selecting a hero SKU is a significant decision. To make sure your hero SKU continues to drive growth, it's crucial to stay attuned to a few key factors:

  • Remember, the market isn't static: Customer needs and preferences can shift over time. Regularly reassess your hero SKU's place in the market — is it still solving the most critical problems? Are competitors offering something new and enticing?
  • Don't let your hero SKU get stale: Even the best hero SKU won't stay on top forever without attention. Continuously gather customer feedback and analyze market trends to drive improvements to your core offering.
  • Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket: While a hero SKU helps focus, be mindful of the risk if the market takes an unexpected turn. Maintain a portfolio with other offerings to spread your risk and provide options for customers with varying needs.

Next steps

Upon reading our primer, you should now have a solid grasp of what a hero SKU is in SaaS. Keep in mind that defining your hero SKU is just one aspect of your entire product strategy, and challenges such as how to bill your customers for those hero products may arise. 

Orb is a specialized billing platform that lets you bill customers accurately and helps you define your hero SKU since it lets you track usage. This means you’ll gain insight into which features resonate best with your customers, allowing you to make more informed decisions.

Learn how Orb can help solve billing for you.

May 29, 2024

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