Most software businesses are familiar with the importance of customer feedback.
With the rise of A/B tests, survey metrics and other customer experience techniques, customers are bombarded with visible and invisible measures of their satisfaction. These tools are certainly important for aligning product development with customer requirements, but customers aren’t the only ones with these critical insights.
While customer experience teams tend to dominate product decisions, sales, customer support, marketing, and engineering teams are all valuable sources of feedback. Sales and customer support teams, in particular, are worth consulting because of their proximity to the customer – but these teams are involved in decision-making less than 60% of the time.
Let’s take a look at how sales and support teams can provide valuable customer insights and learn how to sync that feedback with the product roadmap.Sales and customer support teams can be a rich source of customer feedback since they have a lot of face-to-face communication. Click To Tweet
Feature Requests from Sales Teams
Many software companies have sales teams that operate in a bubble. Unlike product teams, sales teams are typically concerned with non-users rather than users. Once a sales lead signs up, communication tends to shift to account representatives or customer support and the salesperson moves on to talking to other potential customers.
Salespeople speak to a lot of potential customers every day. While customer experience teams might conduct a handful of customer interviews, the best salespeople might talk to hundreds of potential customers each month about their problems and concerns. These insights can be invaluable to product managers looking to better understand customers.
These insights are particularly valuable when entering new verticals. Salespeople might reach out to potential customers that look a little (or a lot) different than existing customers, which means that they may have different problems and concerns. Features requests from these customers may be off the radar for product managers in many cases.
Reduce Attrition with Support Teams
Customer support teams tend to operate in even more of a bubble. While product teams build software, customer support teams are focused on helping existing customers use the software. They may document bugs that customers come across into a bug tracker or forward feature requests, but they tend to have little involvement in planning product roadmaps.
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Like salespeople, support teams have a lot of facetime with customers. They often have a good sense of the frustration that customers encounter with certain workflows and may hear the same feature requests over and over. These insights can be invaluable for product managers looking to minimize friction in certain workflows and improve satisfaction.
Customer support teams can be especially helpful when identifying customer frustration that can lead to attrition and churn. By involving support teams in product planning, product managers can ensure that they’re addressing any frequent pain points and incorporate these fixes or reworkings into their product roadmaps over time.
In addition to identifying potential issues, customer support teams are well-positioned to market new features to customers and enroll certain customers in beta programs or other initiatives to test-drive features before a wider release.
Syncing Your Product Roadmap
Product roadmaps provide a high-level overview of upcoming features and bug fixes for customers, developers and other stakeholders. Unfortunately, many roadmaps are kept in isolation from customers, salespeople and customer support teams, which risks missing out on some of the most powerful insights from within and outside of the organization.
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Public roadmaps are a common way to help improve communication between all of these different stakeholders, but many organizations worry about competitors finding the information. In addition, there’s the challenge of maintaining multiple versions of a roadmap (for internal vs. external vs. technical users) and keeping them all in sync.
Amoeboids’ Roadmap Portal provides an easy way to collect customer suggestions and votes on existing roadmap items. In addition to customer-submitted suggestions, product managers can input feature requests and bug fixes from sales and support team members and receive feedback from customers on their importance through voting capabilities.
Through an integration with Jira Service Desk, Roadmap Portal ensures that only customers can view the product roadmap, submit new suggestions and vote on roadmap items. It’s also easy to pull in roadmap items through JQL queries, which eliminates the need to manually enter each roadmap item and keep them in sync.
The Bottom Line
Customer feedback is an essential part of software development. While there are many tools designed to collect and analyze customer feedback, many businesses ignore their own sales and support teams that regularly interact with potential and existing customers. These teams can provide a rich source of feature requests and high-friction workflows that need help.
Using the right software, you can aggregate sales, support and customer suggestions in a single public roadmap while enabling customers to vote on the features they want to see. These efforts can help ensure that the product team is always working on the most in-demand tasks that have a real impact on customer success.
In addition to improving the product, involving more team members in the product development process can give everyone a sense of ownership and pride in the product. It makes everyone more likely to authentically promote new features and get customers (or potential customers) excited about what’s coming up in the pipeline.