3 Ways Feedback Can Improve Your Product-Led Startup Strategy

For a product-led startup, customer feedback is critical to developing your platform, finding your product-market fit and educating your investors. Before a dedicated sales motion is in place or absent personalized onboarding calls, there are few opportunities to hear users tell you what they like and don’t like.

As your customer base grows, creating a successful feedback process is essential to ensure all teams align with the feedback and how it’s used.

Employees at small startups wear many hats. Finding the time to establish a process can feel overwhelming, but starting early can help gather the most useful and realistic ideas to scale and refine along the way.

Here are three simple ways to get feedback to learn and refine your roadmap, advance your product and instill confidence with your board and investors with data-driven decisions.

Prioritize your backlog

Startups have to make a lot of tough choices when it comes to their product backlog. Resources can be tight, so picking the next feature, integration or enhancement can be a gamble. But it doesn’t have to be.

Having a tough time deciding what to do next? Leverage your product to let your customers help you decide.

What to do
There are many different ways your product can gather customer feedback, like adding a disabled CTA for a new feature and measuring how many clicks you get on it or finding a special place in your product to request a feature or provide feedback that automatically sends the information to your company inbox or chat system.

How we did it at Docket
At Docket, we had a list of several key integrations we wanted to implement but did not know which were most important to our customers. We added a call to action to “use” the feature where it would be needed in the app and added a “Coming Soon.” We tied it to our customer conversation system (we use Intercom), so the user’s request came straight to our support and product team. Then we personally thanked them for the feedback.

What we learned
Not only did we learn which integrations were most important to our customers, we learned which ones were not important—and that saved us time from creating an integration that was not useful and turning our resources to the most important things.

Let your customers bear witness

It is expected that a company will speak highly of itself. That’s the centerpiece of any strong brand; look at any website, and you’ll see attention-grabbing words that tell you what the product does to make the world a better place.

But if your customers talk about how fantastic your product is, that’s gold! 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to Brightlocal.

Some companies go to great lengths and hire massive teams in their marketing department to work with customers to build personas, success stories and testimonials. Smaller teams don’t have the resources or time to devote to such an enviable initiative.

What to do
Reserve some of your marketing budget to enter the world of online reviews through companies like G2 or Capterra that have programs that provide automated messaging based on your desired criteria of who is contacted. Based on your level of financial commitment, these programs offer incentives that show a quick return on your investment.

How we did it at Docket
We partnered with G2 to request third-party reviews from our top users and saw an immediate 460% boost in responses than when we lead the outreach. Our results enabled us to capture testimonial proof that our product was helping others, as well as having the added SEO (search engine optimization) benefit from both G2.com and our own website.

What we learned
Even a small investment can pay off, so it’s important to make it happen. In addition, getting a leg up on your competitors can provide that bit of confidence you need to know you are headed in the right direction.

Tell a better story

Startups have so many people to please. From your users and customers, to your board, investors and hard-working team, building a product that exceeds expectations is no small feat.

When you’re metrics-driven, even if others disagree with a direction or decision, it’s tough to disagree with cold-hard data. When sharing your product story from almost any angle, your NPS® (Net Promoter Score®) can be the ultimate measure that helps tell this story to those your product is accountable to.

What to do
Within your product, offer a subtle rating request to customers based on selective criteria to glean their quick response. Make it as simple as possible but always provide them a way to share more detailed feedback that may help further explain their selection.

How we did it at Docket
We added a simple voting request pop-over within the application that can be answered or quickly clicked away for those who do not wish to participate. We integrated the results into our team’s dashboard so we can easily see immediate feedback. And for those customers who provide a less-than-desired score, we established an outreach process to offer 1:1 time with our product team to discuss how we can make the product better for them.

What we learned
Customers are willing to share with us how they feel about our product overall and more than happy to provide details when asked. Many of our most critical users want to partner with us to make their experience better and increase the value they receive.

Close the loop

By implementing simple strategies for collecting feedback, you can start to define your roadmap better, lean on customers to do your marketing on your behalf, and paint a better picture to your stakeholders around the decisions you make to drive your business to success.

Darin Brown
Darin Brown

Darin Brown serves as the CEO and Co-Founder of Docket, a SaaS startup that has created a meeting intelligence platform built with a product-led growth mindset. Prior to co-founding Docket, Brown served as the CTO of Angie's List and Vice President at Salesforce and ExactTarget.
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