Mar 11, 2024
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How Do SaaS People Communicate With Each Other?

Written by Victoria Rudi
Table of Contents
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Why do SaaS teams hate horror movies? Because they deal with 'The Silence of the Emails' every day.

Executive Key Points

  • We think everyone knows how to communicate, but that’s wrong. SaaS team communication is way more complex than it seems at first glance.
  • There are 4 types of SaaS team communication: top-down, bottom-up, lateral, and diagonal.
  • Top-down communication occurs when information moves from the executive or managerial to the operational levels.
  • Bottom-up commutation occurs when information moves from operational to executive and managerial levels.
  • Lateral communication happens when information flows between people at the same organizational level.
  • Diagonal communication breaks the silos, allowing people from different teams and hierarchical levels to transfer information.
  • Channels (associated with specific communication and collaboration tools), terms, shared understanding, and protocols are key components of SaaS team communication.
  • SaaS team communication can be sync or async, in-person or virtual, implicit or explicit, structured or unstructured, one-directional or interactive.
  • Internal communication can also take different dynamics, such as one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.

We take communication for granted.

After all, everyone knows how to communicate. Also, we mistakenly believe that communication dynamics within SaaS teams happen organically.

Things are different, though.

SaaS team communication is much more complex than it seems at first look, and it has a massive impact on efficiency and growth.

There are two types of SaaS communication.

The first refers to interactions between a SaaS company’s team members and departments. The second involves communication with target audiences.

This article will discuss the particularities of communication within SaaS teams.

Types of SaaS Team Communication

Communication within SaaS teams (internal communication) refers to the interactions between different team members, such as executives, managers, and professionals.

There are four types of SaaS team communication:

1. Top-down communication

This dynamic refers to the flow of information from the upper levels of organizational structure to the operational ones. Top-down communication may involve sharing the following:

  • Directives
  • Policies
  • Strategies
  • Decisions
  • Goals
  • Changes and updates
  • Company achievements
  • Performance expectations

The goal of top-down communication is to make sure that team members are aware of the company’s goals, expectations, procedures, and more.


  • CEO -> VP of Marketing
  • Head of People Operations -> HR manager
  • Product Owner -> Developer

2. Bottom-up communication

This dynamic involves the flow of information from the operational level of the company to the executive and managerial levels. Bottom-up communication includes sharing the following:

  • Progress status
  • Concerns
  • Improvement ideas
  • Innovation ideas
  • Frontline observations
  • Team achievements
  • Requests

The goal of bottom-up communication is to leverage operational insights for better processes and decision-making.


  • VP of Marketing -> CEO
  • HR manager -> Head of People Operations
  • Developer -> Product Owner

3. Lateral communication

This dynamic refers to the flow of information between people and groups at the same level within the SaaS company.

Lateral communication includes sharing the following:

  • Task status
  • Knowledge
  • Best practices
  • Updates
  • Feedback on shared projects
  • Coordination efforts
  • Resources
  • Insights

The goal of lateral communication is to improve efficiency, facilitate operational work, build transparency, and encourage ongoing collaboration.


  • Content Marketing Specialist <-> In-house SEO Expert
  • Talent Acquisition Manager <-> HR Onboarding Manager
  • Product Developer <-> UI/UX Designer

4. Diagonal communication

This dynamic enables the bypass of traditional hierarchical lines, involving the interactions between employees of different departments and levels of hierarchy. Diagonal communication includes sharing the following:

  • Strategic goals and updates
  • Cross-departmental project info
  • Support requests
  • Updates
  • Feedback on shared projects
  • Coordination efforts
  • Performance metrics and analysis

The goal of diagonal communication is to break the work silos, facilitate operational tasks, foster transparency, and encourage collaboration between different teams and hierarchical structures.


  • In-house Ads Expert <-> Sales Rep
  • HR Onboarding Manager <-> Customer Education Manager
  • In-house Content Creator <-> CTO

It’s worth noting that SaaS miscommunication may happen at all levels. Moreover, these communication errors may disrupt interaction with audiences.

Components That Facilitate Team Communication

Efficient communication between SaaS teams happens thanks to multiple components. Here are some of them:

1. Channels

Channels refers to the medium or the platforms through which team communication takes place. Channels usually involve communication and collaboration tools.


  • Email
  • Instant messaging apps (Slack, Google Chat)
  • Video conferencing (Google Meet, Zoom)
  • Async videos (Loom)
  • Collaborative documents (Google Docs)
  • Project management software (Asana, Monday)
  • Knowledge management software (Notion, Doca)
  • In-person meetings

2. Editorial guide

SaaS companies can achieve cohesion only by defining, socializing, and following guidelines for written communication.

This editorial guide may include items such as:

  • Punctuation: What are the rules for the ampersand (&)? Can you use it, or only if it appears in a brand name? Can you use a serial comma or not? What are the rules for apostrophes, contractions, ellipses, colons, semicolons, dashes, and hypes?
  • Writing style: How to introduce acronyms? What rules should apply to capitalization? What format is your company using for currencies and money? How do you write times and timezones? Are there any band emojis?
  • Readability level: There are multiple readability metrics measuring how quickly people understand your content. For example, vocabulary up to Grade 8 is considered simple. Meanwhile, there’s an increased sentence complexity for sentences and vocabulary above Grade 12. What is the level your team should abide by?
  • Voice: You may choose between multiple voices, such as professional, confident, authoritative, friendly, assertive, and more. It all depends on your company’s values.

It seems like going to a great extent when setting up your communication standards. However, this may help reduce errors and standardize your team’s communication.

3. Terms

Efficient team collaboration relies on a shared linguistic context. Team members should operate with the same terms. It would be inefficient and confusing if people used different terms for the same meaning.

For example, team members might use “UI” to discuss some aspects that fall under “UX” and vice versa.

4. Shared understanding

All team members should share the same understanding regarding different topics, concepts, or terms.

Let’s take ‘pillar page’ as an example.

A team member may interpret this term through its canonic understanding, which is an in-depth piece of content that tackles a core topic and links out to in-depth articles about specific subtopics.

However, a different team member may erroneously see the pillar page as a web page that highlights a specific product features.

Misunderstandings are inevitable when team members share different interpretations of key terms and concepts.

5. Protocols

Protocols are clear instructions on how to communicate with other team members. These protocols may include elements such as:

  • Preferred communication channels
  • Reporting preferences
  • Expected response times for different types of messages
  • Guidelines for CC’ing or BCC’ing team members on emails
  • Use of specific tags or labels in project management tools
  • Formatting standards for documents and emails
  • Scheduling preferences for meetings (time blocks, no-meeting days)
  • Documentation practices for meetings and decisions
  • Feedback delivery methods (e.g., direct, through reviews)

Creating and following communication protocols isn’t widespread. However, some SaaS companies excel at coordinating communication among team members.

Here’s an example from Almanac, a wiki and documentation platform.

That’s an excerpt from the Almanac’s CEO User Guide. It seems quite detailed and leaves no space for confusion.

CEO User guide

6. Inclusivity

Multiple SaaS companies foster a considerate attitude towards their team members, making inclusivity a key component of team communication. For example, messages contain gender-inclusive pronouns and nouns. Also, there’s an emphasis on using inclusive alternatives for topics that may be insensitive, outdated, or disrespectful.

Dynamics of SaaS Team Communication

SaaS team communication may have multiple modalities. Let’s discuss some of them.

➡︎ Sync or async

Synchronous communication happens in real time, where team members engage simultaneously. This may occur through meetings or video conferences.

Asynchronous communication allows team members to communicate at their convenience — through emails or messaging apps — depending on their schedules and time zones.

➡︎ In-person or virtual

In-person communication involves face-to-face interactions. Virtual communication relies on digital platforms and tools.

➡︎ Implicit or explicit

Implicit communication relies on non-verbal cues, context, and shared understanding among team members. There are multiple issues with implicit communication, especially when communication happens remotely.  

Explicit communication involves clear and direct verbal or written messages to convey information, reducing ambiguity.

➡︎ Structured or unstructured

Structured communication follows predefined formats, agendas, or templates. For example, weekly team meetings may require a structured format.

Unstructured communication allows for more flexibility and spontaneity, encouraging people to explore different ideas.

➡︎ One-on-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many

  • One-on-one interactions happen between two team members.
  • One-to-many interactions occur between one person (the sender) and multiple recipients of information.
  • Many-to-many interactions happen among multiple participants within a team.

➡︎ One-directional or interactive

One-directional communication involves the sender communicating information without requiring feedback. It is usually one-to-many communication, which happens when a team member sends a company or product announcement or update.

Interactive communication allows for two-way exchange, whether one-on-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many.  

Final note

Understanding how SaaS people communicate with each other is key to efficiently organizing and coordinating company work. Only by doing so can you reduce the number of errors and facilitate the easy flow of information.

This article serves as a simple introduction to SaaS team communication. Note that there are multiple additional elements that add complexity to this dynamic. But we’ll explore them in other articles.

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