So product just launched an amazing new piece of functionality or – even better – a brand new module. Now what?
For Account Managers / Client Success Managers, this is great on paper but in reality can create a huge challenge – and opportunity for disappointment. While leadership is likely thrilled that a big R&D investment is finally out in the wild – and has reflected this excitement with lofty expectations and targets in reducing churn or unlocking upsell / expansion revenue – without the proper strategies for educating your client base (or even your internal team!) the most revolutionary technology breakthroughs can fall flat.
Product growth is an amazing story to tell your client base but the dark side of this development is that for most organizations the feedback loop is broken to communicate these developments to the actual client base.
If you’ve been in a client-facing role of an organization adding new Product components, you are probably all too familiar with this situation. Today we want to think about why this is and what you can do about it.
Why are Product Developments so Hard to Push?
If you’ve held a client-facing role in Enterprise B2B SaaS you are probably familiar with the following scenario: a full team meeting is dropped on your calendar and a Product Manager is on the invite. The meeting is touting a game-changing new development that will solve all the businesses problems. A revenue leader closes out the session and presents a new pricing model and team targets for getting as many clients using it as possible.
This situation is fine and often followed by outreach to the low-hanging fruit – clients who have already expressed interest or were known to benefit from this. Where things breakdown is in continuing to expand the push of a new product systematically to the entire client base: aside from a few known entities, the standard client engagement model of most companies – that is primarily reactive – fails to create organic opportunities to bring up these new product developments.
So what happens? In too many circumstances, after a few outreach attempts across AM/CS, folks slip right back into the normal routine of generic check-in sessions and reactively addressing client issues.
What You Can Do
By embracing a client engagement model continually focused on proactively delivering Value, AM/CS teams can create opportunities for effectively and organically pushing new Product features:
- Connect product developments to the business needs they support
- Identify pain points / frictions in current client experience
- Frame product developments as solution to pain points
As with many things, all it takes is a bit of preparation and planning and, in this case, that begins with first thinking about your product from your client’s perspective.
1. Connect Features to Business Needs
Companies do not buy software for features and functions – they buy software because of the positive business impact it stands to provide. In order to effectively push a new product component, the first critical step is to always connect product developments / features to the business processes and needs they support.
What does this look like? A new scheduling module might have been launched for CRM solution to seamlessly find an open time and book a meeting with all stakeholders. The important part about this new feature is not the special button that launches it or the inner workings of the technology; it’s the ability to save time and energy of the end users – and thus provide a positive business impact.
2. Identify the Pain Points
Once product developments are viewed through the end user and the business needs they have, the next step is to frame your conversation and discussion with prospects or clients around those business needs.
Whether engaging a prospect or a client, use the end problem – not the feature – to explore whether they would benefit:
Hi Client, how is meeting scheduling currently working across your organization? I know your solution often involves many different stakeholders – are you having any challenges or inefficiencies in scheduling across multiple different external calendars?
While simple, this is incredibly effective in guiding your audience along to understand the business implications your new feature supports and building your credibility as a value consultant rather than a pushy sales rep.
3. Present Solutions, not Features
After you have connected product improvements to the business needs they support and identified whether the pain points a specific prospect / client is experiencing, you have the perfect foundation to introduce a solution – enabled through ongoing product development – to add more value to your prospect / client.
I’m not surprised and you are certainly not alone in struggling with actually pinning meetings down when there are multiple stakeholders involved. We actually have heard this a lot and since we had last spoken we launched a new module that makes this a seamless process. From what you describe it sounds like it could save your team a lot of time and headache – I’d love to get some time booked to show yourself and anyone else on the team who’d be interested.
This small change in flow creates a dynamic that always places prospect / client needs at the forefront of your offering: it’s not about spouting out all the fun things your software can do but rather about knowing all the different business needs your offering can support, understanding exactly where pain points exist for a certain company, and providing them with a solution to their problems.
As indicated, the above process takes a bit of planning and teamwork. At Foresight, we are working with Sales / Client Success / Account Management / Product / Marketing teams to help make the above and so much more as simple and efficient as possible – we’d love to talk through how Product developments can seamlessly and automatically make their way into every prospect / client engagement, ensuring that the hard work put in by the Product team makes its way to the market as quickly as possible.
Thanks and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!