In this disruption-prone, innovation-compressed, customer-first era, product companies need to be quick on their feet. The heightened level of efficiency required means in-depth contextual collaboration and a direct connection between product and commercial teams.
Propel Software recently conducted a survey to find out how business leaders are faring in this era, the wild west of market evolution and product innovation.
Unsurprisingly, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and brand strategy took the lead across all teams for top-of-mind concerns.
And it’s no wonder, with digital commerce constantly evolving, your product experience can’t just be competitive, it has to be consistently innovative to attract and retain customers.
The three concerns above are therefore deeply intertwined with each other’s success, and therefore overall business success.
If you’re consistently feeding every touchpoint with the customer with engaging experiences at all stages of the product lifecycle including pre- AND post-market delivery, your customer experience will boost your reputation among competing products.
Given that all these activities are driven by brand strategy, this will in turn reflect well on your overall brand reputation. Which will, of course, ultimately result in consistent year-over-year revenue growth.
The next logical question to ask then is how the leaders of product companies primarily track the performance of all these initiatives.
Given the overwhelming consensus that customer experience is top of mind, it’s not a shock to see that business leaders (across both product and commercial teams) consider customer satisfaction as their number one KPI.
Crucially, the survey results reached beyond simply identifying business aspirations. It revealed some major pitfalls as well.
Here are some of the key insights.
1. Gaps Between Commercial Teams and the Customer
It’s no huge leap in logic that commercial teams more than anyone else report customer satisfaction as a primary KPI (43% versus 35% for all respondents).
Yet when asked whether they believe their product marketing content does not create a compelling enough experience for potential buyers, 76% of commercial team leaders agreed.
Given that it’s largely the commercial team's role to develop these experiences, it’s an eye-opening stat.
Perhaps a related figure is a similar number of respondents on commercial teams—76%—report that their company doesn’t enable them with “sufficient product knowledge” and 73% “lack important knowledge about the markets where products are sold.”
After all, the more product knowledge a marketing team is armed with, the more fodder they can use to create richer customer experiences.
Or perhaps the issue goes back even further—all the way to the product concept. A whopping 79% of commercial team leaders report that their products are “misaligned with market needs”—a stark contrast from the 62% of product team leaders who report the same.
2. Gaps Between Product Teams and the Customer
When the opposite vantage point is incorporated—the product side of the value chain—the perception of poor collaboration is evidently shared by all.
73% of all respondents state that their product and commercial teams don’t collaborate effectively.
A potentially missed mark on the product side may lie in the lack of visibility to customer feedback. The information from the commercial side that’s often most impactful for R&D and product development comes from feedback gathered by field service teams.
But here again, the survey revealed a critical disconnection: 63% of product teams feel they don’t have access to quality field service, and that poor field service “negatively impacts customer satisfaction.”
Because of this, engineering and product teams may not receive reliable problem reports and the necessary data they provide for speedy review and revision. And that delay in getting a fix (or lack thereof) is ultimately felt by the customer.
3. Gaps Throughout the Enterprise
Lack of collaboration, rampant disconnection, and siloed systems are all common culprits behind many of the aforementioned issues identified in the survey.
All of these detrimental ingredients combined add up to slow enterprise productivity. In fact, 50% of IT team leaders state this issue as a top-of-mind concern.
Though most business leaders are aware that low productivity across every stage of the value chain can lead to lost revenue and market share, a staggering 83% of all survey respondents observe a delay in the marketing and promotion of products until late in the product development process.
Considering the combined factors of slow system performance across distributed teams with a lack of standard processes and tools, it stands to reason that even the most basic tasks take much longer than they should.
For instance, 31% of marketing team leaders surveyed attribute delays to the process of hunting down the product information they need.
And the product team agrees, with 35% stating the main benefit of reducing these delays would be the ability to launch products and capture sales earlier.
Close the Gaps with Product Value Management (PVM)
All the gaps revealed in the survey ultimately result in a degradation of product value—and customers are noticing. Best-in-breed brands are evolving at pace with the market, which means their enterprise solutions are capable of evolving as well.
Propel Software introduced a new product strategy—a step beyond product lifecycle management (PLM)—referred to as product value management (PVM). PVM is designed with a focus on contextual collaboration, centered on the whole product to maximize customer lifetime value.
The result empowers product companies to deliver superior product experiences and outpace competitors. Not only closing value gaps in your business but eliminating the potential for them in the first place.
To learn more about how PVM addresses the gaps created by legacy PLM solutions, watch our Converged Live presentation “Righting the Wrongs of PLM.”