Driving Innovation through a Strategic Product Vision

 

Posted By Karen Meyer | May 29, 2013

 

Wondering what goes on in the head of the person that leads Product Management for Qvidian? Other than when I’m going to have my next burger and when my 4 year old will be courageous enough to take his first bite, I’m continuously thinking about the challenges of salespeople and how Qvidian can help.

On my continued quest to solve more problems for sales and marketing through Product, I often find myself in conversations with our sales team as well as customers that are so deep in the weeds, even Rambo, with his sharpest machete would have trouble navigating out. And when we’re so deep in the weeds of talking about things like “if that button were over here or there” or “can you label it this way or that” we’re not always having a conversation about why? Why is it so stinkin’ important to focus on those 5 things versus the 1 other thing critically important to drive bigger results in your business?

In the quest to find perfect, comes an incredible pressure of the need to please all. And to be honest, to a product person who is responsible for setting priorities to drive more revenue opportunities for our company as well as help gain operational efficiencies, it’s hard. Damn hard. Many times, administrators ask us for specific, smaller features, which amount to smaller scale improvements. Versus CEOs and CFOs of the same companies want the opposite – they want big, bottom line results.

And, if we refer back to my previous blog post, we have BIG problems to solve in sales enablement. If you aren’t convinced of the complexity of the world we live in, check out this simple graphic below. It’s actually what I’ve used to explain to our Board of Directors just how many solutions out there you all are investing in and where we believe the mindset of sales people is at. They are swamped and swarmed with content and technologies and, their usage of them and value to them, is pretty varied.

Sales rep usage - Value

It’s our mission to continue to provide applications that deliver real value and are well adopted by salespeople. I also see our applications as a vehicle to increase value and adoption of other solutions and processes.

Our Proposal Automation product has proven to increase sales productivity by 45% and improve sales win rates by 38%. Those results are typically experienced related to creation and delivery of personalized, specific documents.

And, our Sales Playbooks & Analytics product is proving to increase deal sizes by upwards of 2x and also have consistent, positive impact on win rates. Organizations are benefiting from their salespeople not just gaining productivity in creating and delivering documents but doing so at the right time.

Continuing to meld these concepts – right information at the right time, to the right buyers and aggregation and integration of technology – is what grounds my vision in shifting this whole curve. Wrap around that visibility into what’s working and what’s not, and now we’re getting somewhere!

Sales rep usage value Playbooks

This isn’t scientific at all but grounded in experience and reality for the salespeople we are working with across 1000 organizations. Salespeople have TONS of information at their disposal and they are on individual missions to meet quota and execute the company strategy. What’s MORE strategic than that?

Often times, I hear people who work with salespeople or have been in the role say things like:

“salespeople have short attention spans”

“salespeople are opportunistic”

“salespeople only care about themselves”

“salespeople need everything soooo simple”

And most of the time these statements are true. It’s not a negative thing at all – their jobs are uber challenging. Shifting priorities by the minute, dealing with many stakeholders, internal and external process, complex businesses they are working for AND selling to. This is our opportunity! They are strategic and we can help them.

So why am I sharing this with you? If you are a current or future Qvidian customer or partner, I want you to understand Qvidian’s product philosophy on building roadmaps and the very basics of how we make decisions.

You can always count on us to listen, challenge, and work with you to understand the business value you expect to gain from the incorporation of your ideas into our product/solutions. Additionally, we’ll push the limits – bring innovative ideas that may take you out of your comfort zone, but ultimately are ones we believe will provide higher value to your organization, and will help you drive the results your CEOs and CFOs are looking for – driving growth and revenue and cutting costs.

Qvidian’s Product Priorities

We have a few, plain and simple philosophies that have driven and will continue to drive Qvidian’s product strategy:

  • We deliver results
    • we deliver valuable functionality to sales people and those supporting sales teams
  • Sales user adoption is key
    • what you are seeing (and will continue to see) in our recent product releases is a commitment to usability and design that makes the lives of salespeople easier and more productive
  • We have a commitment to technology
    • we are a technology company with decades of experience in knowing how to effectively automate complex documents and processes. Our recent releases and future roadmap continues to reinforce this
    • more than in the past, we need to be on the edge – even if you aren’t an organization who has adopted mobile yet, friends, it’s coming. Last year more smartphones were sold than PCs. And, like mobile, there are other technologies we want you to be on the front end of – not accepting IT’s typical answer of ‘we’ll let you upgrade when we are ready.’
  • Flexibility is key
    • it’s so tempting to want to build a feature or function exactly as one customer sees the need but it’s really our responsibility to continue to provide you with a flexible platform that is malleable and scalable to support our largest and smallest customers.

I’m excited for the future of Qvidian’s products, and happy to announce the next versions of both to be available beginning June 1st. As always, the lines of communication are open, so would love to hear from you!

Driving Innovation through a Strategic Product Vision