Driving Features through CRM

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I’m currently working with an organization that has a fairly mature suite of products. They’re well respected in their market space, but in the last few years their market share has been eroding. They have been unable to turn things around through pricing changes, new feature releases, marketing campaigns or any other measure. There are a number of reasons for their challenges, and they aren’t all relevant to this month’s theme; but there is one aspect that I do want to discuss here.

Because the products are fairly mature, the functional releases that the company delivers every six months or so are aimed at adding new features that either bring them in line with moves that their competition have made or are intended to give them a competitive advantage. Clearly, if you want your product to appeal to new potential customers then you need to get these features right; the underperformance of the products in recent years suggest that this isn’t always happening. Currently, the features to be included in the release are determined by the product manager using fairly unscientific criteria--conversations with one or two customers at conventions, his own analysis of the market and competitor actions, etc.

There’s a better approach, and the information is already at his fingertips.

Understand what you already have
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