Friday, March 1, 2013

Got 'em on the Same Roadmap

Sharing an account of a product release strategy in response to a situation that triggered the release. This is a first person account as a Product Owner.   

A B2B CRM company, with a common platform on which were built add-ons for Financial Services, Marketing, Service/Support, and Homebuilding acquired a marketing product, (called MP for simplicity). MP had a loyal customer base renewing maintenance contracts annually and demanding new features to support their business.

  • MP and the flagship CRM had independent roadmaps which brought challenges when aligning Sales and Marketing with the release pitches. 
  • Features on MP were overlapping marketing features already available on the flagship CRM product. 
  • Customer sentiment was that with the acquisition MP did not get as much attention as required to cater to their needs 
  • New customers preferred the flagship CRM product 
  • Share of the revenue that MP brought in was declining 
  • MP had a dated technology base
  • MP's user interface left much to be desired
  • Cost of deploying MP on a hosted environment was high
  • MP's support for mobile was text-based
Bring the zing back to the marketing vertical

Time constraint:
Deliver in 3 months


To build a marketing automation add-on to the flagship CRM that included the most valued features from MP and the existing features on the flagship CRM.

Roadmapping activities in this approach:
  1. Reviewed the features of the flagship CRM so that the marketing add-on includes an enhanced version of MP's unique features, and removes duplicate features
  2. Worked with the Gartner analyst for Marketing to understand the industry trends and marketing automation vendor selection criteria
  3. Reviewed support incidents of MP to understand the painpoints
  4. Included the migration and feature integration plan in a common roadmap
Customer retention activities in this approach:
  1. Offered the flagship CRM product with its hosting capabilities, mobile support, and improved user experience to MP customers
  2. Drew up a migration plan with tools so that customers can confidently migrate their data to the flagship CRM with the marketing automation add-on
  3. Presented the common roadmap
Post the roadmapping activities, worked with architects, user experience specialists, and the development team to design and deliver the first release of the marketing automation add-on in 3 months. The first release included the most important features of marketing automation that could be delivered in 3 months by 1 development team.

The Marketing Automation add-on:
  • Was well-received by existing and new customers
  • Moved back into a top revenue earner on the flagship product as well
  • Received rave reviews from market analysts

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