One year ago, our goal was to get a product to market and iterate on it quickly. On April 2nd, 2014, after two months of solid work, we launched. Some cake and champagne, a TechCrunch article — and soon thereafter we had several dozen companies working with us.
What we learned and validated in that first quarter:
- Our product needed to be more than a product development survey tool with team-level analytics if we wanted anybody to pay for it.
- Everyone hates doing their product prioritization and roadmapping work in spreadsheets. But in order for companies to migrate their process and data over to Wizeline, our platform needed to be at least 10x better than what they were doing.
- Although product managers were our target user persona, we had a lot of customer success managers and sales reps who wanted to test the product to see if they could improve communication with their product organizations.
We iterated. They came. Engagement increased dramatically.
What we are finding today: Wizeline is a great way for product managers to easily collect feedback from their customers (internal and external), to quickly iterate on product plans, and to easily communicate key product knowledge with stakeholders in a manner that fosters transparency and accountability.
There’s the product manager with 25 offices globally who discovered Wizeline has permitted him to: (a) Skip the multi-week sprint across the globe to visit corporate offices, and (b) avoid conference calls in the middle of the night. Now, this product manager can send product-focused surveys that clearly lay out the product strategy and collect all of the data within a few hours, rather than weeks. Aside from the personal time savings, he and his team have eliminated the wasted month that used to occur in taking a product from an idea to production.
One of our other customers is able to manage requests that come in from the field via the Wizeline Salesforce application. As feature requests come in from sales and customer success teams, she reviews them quickly in Wizeline, identifies the duplicates, and approves market-relevant features for the overall product backlog. Wizeline sends automatic updates to the requester, aggregates and analyzes revenue data, and keeps track of the features as they go through the entire product development process.
But the most exciting deployments are the ones where companies are using Wizeline to enable more-intelligent decisions throughout the entire product lifecycle. We started Wizeline to help companies make data-informed decisions with regard to the products and features they should build. The companies who use the entire platform have found that they take products to market faster, spend less money on failed initiatives, and increase overall contract values because the products and features they build are ones that customers actually want.
The icing on the cake: teams who use Wizeline have happier employees, an observation that helped validate our hypothesis that transparency and accountability matter greatly.
A year ago, we had some interest and a lot curiosity. Today we are a 40-person company with thousands of users and hundreds of customers. In the coming months, we’ll be working on the next iteration of our goal- and KPI-tracking solution. We’ll make it easier for product leaders and execs to define and track business goals; we’ll begin to correlate product investment with outcome; and, most important, we’ll continue to uncover insights that help product organizations sell more, reduce churn, shorten sales cycles and gain market share.
I have no doubt, the coming 365 days will be even more exciting than the last…
-Bismarck Lepe, Wizeline founder & CEO