How do you engage with product leaders in your company today?

Jason Conrad
Jason Conrad Member Posts: 3 Navigator
  1. When was the last time you had a communication around the roadmap - did that help you manage customer expectations & position the value needed for future growth?
  2. How do you engage to get voice of the customer on the radar of your product leader? 
  3. What do you wish was different? 


  • Mark Latham
    Mark Latham Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited June 2020

    Hi Jason,

    Our merchant facing team engages with the Product leaders through a weekly Product Hour session, which is voluntary, where we can pose any questions and clarify decisions around the roadmap. Outside of this, we designate one or two merchant facing roles to sit in on sprint planning to ensure feedback into product development is timely and we can be across it. I wish I could say it works well, but it has its pain points.

    1. Now that we are prepping for Q3 sprints, the broader roadmap has been loosely communicated to the client facing team. Product are addressing the attribution/analytics section of our app and time to value, something we have been collecting feedback on for well over a year but didn't have the insights for. It has definitely helped manage our customers knowing that these important pieces are top of mind for our dev team and allows me to elicit more feedback when talking directly to customers.

    2. Where possible I offer the opportunity for the product managers to get on a direct call with a client about feedback they have. I record calls and do summary's on key points. We are also transitioning to Canny, from Prodpad, for centralized product feedback and this has been helpful to showcase the voice of the customer.

    3. Frankly, I wish there was more transparency in how the feedback is used. It feels at times like it is a black hole and it's difficult to know how the customer feedback is being received and where it gets used. I would classify this as more important than most other things, because it's a communication breakdown and this can cause fractures in team relationships over time.

  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 249 Expert
    100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2020

    I can tell you my experiences at two companies.

    Duetto: we had a seat at the table and even get to vote on ONE product feature that product will give us without further debate.

    RingCentral: we observe meetings but do not participate, unless you are enterprise level or strategic level. Yet, even then, it is the internal executive sponsor that is pushing the initiative. So my VP of Sales is assigned to my strategic accounts. Based on his engagement, I can push for product enhancements. The good news is that our product team is very aware of our deficiencies and likely has the feature roadmapped before CS even brings it to their attention.

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 74 Expert
    edited June 2020

    I have a standing bi-weekly meeting with the Head of Product and sometimes the architects and/or the dev&qa team as well. Agenda items are:

    1. customer escalations
    2. biggest hurdles found from our customers with supporting data
    3. customer showcase/architecture review
    4. roadmap updates
  • Jared Scoubes
    Jared Scoubes Member Posts: 16 Contributor
    edited June 2020

    We are having our first planning meeting of 2020 on Monday. I have asked to be included because I'm working on the "front lines" so to speak as I execute Quarterly Business Reviews so I hear customer feedback almost daily. It will be nice to finally get a seat at the table. I wish there was a bit more transparency and/or a clear vision with goal dates and timelines for me to review so that I can keep my clients in the loop a bit more. 

  • Petra Makaremi
    Petra Makaremi Member Posts: 11 Contributor
    edited June 2020

    Hi @Jason Conrad,

    I found quarterly planning sessions really helpful - my last company was a young startup/smaller team so we made collaboration across team central to our processes. Quarterly planning meetings would see all executived/heads of department, with CS having a strong voice. I can say that as we grew larger this became more complex and a customer centric attitude certainly took a hit.

    Here is what I found worked well:

    CS as part of all high level roadmap initiatives - quarterly planning sessions, sprint plannings, even backlog grooming if necessary. 

    This needs to be supported by internal CS and Support team prioritization, based on meticulously documented feature requests, tickets etc. 
    CS then communicates timelines and solutions back to the customer - we owned product updates and often included "Coming up"/ Preview for items that were definitely on the short term roadmap/in development.

  • Steve Beaumont
    Steve Beaumont Member Posts: 3 Navigator
    edited June 2020

    When I was a VP of CS is a SaaS business I was regularly part of the roadmap discussions and backlog prioritisation.

    On occasions I would get the VP of Products to do roadmap a presentation to a customer as part of the QBR.

    I also ran a Customer Advisory Board session every 6 months and the roadmap and new release updates were always part of the agenda 


  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein Member Posts: 132 Expert
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited June 2020

    If you don't have a voice-of-customer (VoC) program in place then this is going to be tougher. VoC allows you to provide trustworthy feedback (representative, e.g. are you hearing from 80% of your revenue?) that clearly articulates what is working well and where improvements are required, and it comes straight from an unbiased horse's mouth -- your customers -- where there is no perceived political agenda.  Bringing root-cause into the discuss is one step better: Assuming your VoC platform can articulate the biggest pain points with the best bang-for-buck (financial linkage) then you as the CS leader can bring additional insight as to why your customers expect something different from what they are currently experiencing so you can design the right solutions for these gaps.