How to Build a Successful B2B Product Team at the Early Startup Stage [Part 2]

In Revenue Capital

Understanding startup growth stages is crucial for effective planning, resource allocation, and risk management. It facilitates clear communication with investors, aids in building the right team for each phase, and ensures alignment with evolving customer needs.

In Part 1, we explored the fundamentals of building a successful B2B product team. In this article, we’ll dive into the crucial stages of startup growth and the corresponding product teams essential for sustainable success.

The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage

The MVP launch phase is where the delivery team comes into action. For example, a founder may say, “I know that this is a problem. I’m going to create software to fix it. I’m going to take it to market.” Oftentimes they’re trying to solve for one specific pain point. This team, often consisting of a few engineers managing a backlog of features, operates on a small scale. It’s a non-cross-functional team measured on output, laying the foundation in the early stages of a product.

The early adopter phase

When a startup has some product and early adopters, things start to get more complex and the roadmap can become dominated by customer-driven feature requests, which limits room for innovation. The startup might hire a designer to help make their product more user-friendly. There might be a product owner to help manage the backlog of requests. While this team is close to being cross-functional, it remains in the solution domain and is still measured by output.

The more mature adopter and scale phase 

Entering the more mature adopter and scalability phase calls for a shift to mature full product teams. These are the people always anticipating a company’s future needs, looking beyond what’s going to sell in the next six months and are trying to predict what’s going to be innovative in the next year. They do this by looking at competitive analysis, talking to customers, using their  ideal customer profile, and even finding future ideal customer profiles, as they innovate the product. This scalability phase marks the transition to addressing long-term problems.

Final thoughts

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to building a product team – it is all business specific. The organization’s growth, customer needs and product evolution are what dictate the team’s structure and functions. That said, it is vital to the long-term success of a company that the executive team, specifically the founder, understands these stages of growth. As a product grows, the team will ultimately need to grow and mature as well. When the product team is flexible, grows with the product, and works across functions, a startup can successfully innovate and stay ahead of the competition.