I often coach organizations to beware of having a customer centric roadmap, and when I first bring that up I receive a good deal of pushback. Actually, I generally get looks of astonishment or looks of regret that they brought someone that will advise that into their company. The comments are generally in the lines of “aren’t we supposed to be listening to our customers?” or “how can we not focus on what our customers need, we will lose them otherwise”.

Here’s the deal, I never say don’t listen to your customers, that is absolutely critical. Your current customers have very valuable insight about what’s good about your product, what’s missing and what drives them crazy, and by all means that feedback is important for roadmap development.

What I mean by avoiding a customer centric roadmap is to make sure you aren’t ONLY listening to your current customers. That can actually be very dangerous for the longevity of a product/company, particularly startups that land a few big customers and become “captive” to their every need in order to keep them onboard. It’s great to have a marquee names, but the big guys feel they own your roadmap once they have given you the business and it is critical to manage their requirements vs broader market requirements.

In a time when competitive differentiation can be very short lived, it is extremely important to continuously analyze the trends in the broader market arena as well as competitive offerings, and it is absolutely critical to listen to targets that are not yet customers.

Does your company have a practice of going back and evaluating lost deals in order to determine why a seemingly perfect prospect didn’t purchase? Does your product marketing team interview those customers, or at the very least the sales team? There is a wealth of information to glean from a lost sale- whether you lost to a competitor, budget constraints or just pure lack of action, there is a lot of information about what is not compelling customers to buy in those lost or delayed deals.

Does your marketing group consistently attend industry events, monitor the media, talk to analysts and end users about what is happening in your arena? Does your company have a practice of evaluating all the info gathered to determine if a shift in the roadmap is required to meet new competitive threats? There are far too many examples of companies losing traction by not recognizing competition coming at them from a different direction because their current customers weren’t asking for specific features- probably because they just didn’t know they wanted them just yet (RIM not understanding the impact of the iPod introduction is the most obvious example).

Bottom line, in order to stay ahead your team needs to constantly be asking questions, analyzing trends and paying attention to the whole market arena, not just the customers that are already on board. It is a balancing act keeping existing customers happy with new feature functionality while ensuring the roadmap also anticipates market shifts and competitive threats- but it is critical for success.

 


Comments

08/14/2014 11:29am

I believe in managed expectations. Organizations should learn to avoid turning the voice of the customer into the "noise" of the customer. This begins with sales and setting realistic expectations during the customer acquisition process.
Furthermore, ownership should always go both ways. Often the situation involves every large customer (or the largest accounts) assume the vendor has their issues as the most important or in some cases have them as #1 on their threat agenda.
Market shifts and competitive threats yes, but so is joint ownership and managed expectations that take into account that both the vendor and the customer are in business to acquire mire than one customer i.e. make money.

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06/03/2017 12:54pm

I think you are quite right here. Players have their very own money, referred to as Robux, which could be utilized to buy in video game wishes such as having the ability to produce teams at the expense of 100 Robux if they have a subscription to the video game.

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10/11/2016 5:14am

How can I listen to my future customers if I don't even know them?

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10/11/2016 5:15am

You need to collaborate with google services to improve your local business! This is really working strategy.

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You should evaluate your business process every season at least. This would help to improve your strategy.,

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01/02/2017 12:30pm

I always appreciate your useful tips and advices. You are very experienced person.

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01/19/2017 11:48pm

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03/21/2017 12:07am

A customer care service should be well organized, as it is created with a view to help the customers out. Surely, you need to consider what went wrong with the past clients, that they are not associated with you anymore, and at the same time its important to focus on present clients. For example, a mobile screen repairing store on an average receives 100 calls per day from their customers. In such a situation, the customer care service needs to stay cool and calm as they know that they are going to face 100 calls, and they need to give meaningful advice every time. It would seem like a tedious task, but we see that many such stores like www.displayverzekering.nl and others actually offer good services to their clients and their customer care is very helpful. As a company if you want to survive in your field, your company needs to be well organized and should include quality employees, capable of handling the situations for which they are paid their salary.

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04/29/2017 5:09am

It is time to get the copy of Exam Call letter which is required to make the candidate presence in the exam

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Fails are unavoidable obstacle. But of course we should not stop in front of them, especially when it comes marketing

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06/18/2017 11:15pm

very good post

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06/18/2017 11:16pm

nice post guys

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06/22/2017 2:43am

The Temple is constructed over 300AD by Dravidian Architecture

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