Jul 31, 2022Liked by Ibrahim Bashir

Great ep!

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Thanks for the succinct summary of the many different components, or sources/channels of customer and market feedback.

Could you may be elaborate on how or which channel shall be prioritized as a SaaS company transitioning from managed to self-serve, sales-led to product led?

To ask this question more concretely, use SalesForce as an example. It started with a focus on enterprise and gradually permeated into SMB (setting aside how well the product is adopted for the moment). How the customer/market feedback channels shifted or not, during this transition?

With managed services, I think the input would be quite concentrated and highly skewed towards the highest spenders. However, given the volume of SMB users and nuance differences, as well as their characteristics - less sophisticated, cost conscious etc., the use cases and feature/functionality would be very different than enterprise accounts. How then, the director or group product manager shall orchestrate the product and customer feedback loop to ensure they are building the right product for the new market (SMB)?

Thanks for your response in advanced.

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really interesting observation! I would say...

at the high end (enterprise) of the market, feedback tends to be directly sourced (e.g. customer escalation via an account team) and come with unique constraints based on the environment / deployment / configuration

at the low end (SMB) of the market, feedback tends to come through collated channels (e.g. support tickets, forum posts) and there's more homogeneity between the tech stack due to more willingness to try the latest / cheapest

in terms of making sure you build the right product...

(1) make sure there is strategic agreement on whether the product should skew 80/20 towards enterprise or SMB

(2) many solutions have gone with a base+ approach (there is a core platform that SMBs and Enterrpises buy) but Enterprises spend more time / money configuring for their specific needs

(2a) the job here is to identify what's "core" vs "add on" modules

(3) you should meet customers where they are, so apply the methods and leverage the channels where each type of customer is more comfortable sharing feedback (e.g. for SMB this might be a chatbot and for Enterprises this might be quarterly business review with a CSM)

hope this helps!

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Thanks for the reply, Ibrahim.

100% agree on #1. It is quite critical to get cross-org alignment on which customer segment we would focus in what stage and timeline. Right now the sales team is built for for the enterprise segments so that means, if I am going to pull resources from building features/product that is geared towards that customer segment's need, I need sr. management from sales and Ops, to support as well. It requires mindset switch for sales; new subject matter experts on both sales and customer support teams.

That is actually the real challenge here - there is money to be had today (enterprise sales) but we need to pivot to self-serve (SMB + enterprise) before growth starts to stifled.

In the meantime, Operation is constantly complaining workflow inefficiency as incoming demand increase with short turnaround.

The approach I am taking to balance the immediate needs while building towards the future is to map out user workflow, identify the overlap in terms of user needs today vs. tomorrow, coming up with potential solutions and priority of each. Then pitch to the line of business owner and Sales/Ops senior management, to get by-in.

The core vs. add-on will come up during this conversation as well, I suspect.

P.S. I have listened your interview with Maggie Crowley previously. Appreciate sharing the insights as always :)

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one way to shine a line on this disconnect is to create and look at a growth model for 1/3/5 years out - does the amount of marketing spend, sales efficiency, and account expansion from the enterprise sales motion look like it can scale from where you are now? if not, might be time to supplement…

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