Why every SaaS product manager should use feature voting

6 min read
Why every SaaS product manager should use feature voting

We’re all about keeping things as simple as possible. Simple equals productive and productive equals profit. We want to make product managers and their companies more successful – and we believe feature voting is a great way to do that.

Feature voting is a simple way to collect feedback from your users. The way it works: You let users suggest and vote on feature requests for how to improve your product. Their feedback is tied to their user account, so you know exactly who is giving you feedback.

Feature Voting Forum

This means you:

  • Get an instant look at a list of your top feature requests
  • Know which customers care about which feature requests
  • Have a ton of organized data you can extract valuable insights from

We wanted to share a few ways that SaaS product managers can use feature voting to benefit their companies, their roadmap, and their sanity! 🙂

Easily extract insights with organized data

You can’t make good decisions without good data, and unorganized data is useless.

With feature voting, data is organized in a way that makes it easy to understand what people are asking for. PMs don’t have to rummage through tons of records and read a bunch of conversations.

feature-voting-comments

You get the big picture quant wise – i.e., which features are most requested. But, you can dive deeper into qualitative stuff like, “Who is this business or person and how will this feature help their business?”

Here are some of our favorite insights that we get using feature voting with our own product:

What are our top feature requests?

B2B product managers are overwhelmed with feedback from help desk tickets, live chat conversations, or emails. It’s tough to dig through all that data. Feature voting means knowing your top requests in just a few seconds.

Which features do our enterprise customers care about most?

Knowing your top feature requests is one thing, but not all votes are created equal. Segment your feedback to see what your target segment cares about.

How can we make our product more valuable to Netflix?

You gotta keep this customer happy. With feature voting you can explore a company profile and discover exactly what their needs are. You can increase revenue and ARPU by upselling a new feature to Netflix.

When you have the answers to these questions, you can align your team’s goals to match the most impactful requests.

Build a better roadmap

Having popular feature requests available at a glance means PMs can make more informed decisions.

Say “no” faster

Every feature request is motivated by a problem, but it doesn’t behoove us to add every feature requested. We’d all end up with a gem like this:

word-feature-bloat
http://d.pr/i/gVo7

When you know your target market or niche, you can use feature voting to understand which features will be a good addition.

Having lots of requests can make it tempting to build things that wouldn’t be right for your business – or customers.

Feature voting can help you quickly identify:

Which company is making the request?
Then you can ask yourself, are they my target user?

Are other target users asking for this same feature?
If so, you might prioritize the feature in your roadmap.

These questions helped us focus on what mattered to our primary target (B2B SaaS), and improve their experiences and our revenue.

Be proactive, not reactive

With a clear picture of which features are the most important to your users, you can prioritize what to dig into. There are two ways you can handle feature requests:

Being reactive: Letting your users tell you what to build

Being reactive means that you’re distracted by what your users are asking for and by what your competitors are building. This is how PMs end up shipping features that don’t enhance user experience or their company’s bottom line.

Being proactive: Identifying and building what your users really need

Being proactive means you’re focused on what users truly need, and you investigate first instead of granting every wish. It means that you’ve organized your data so that you can draw insights to make valuable product decisions.

Here’s how you can be proactive with feature voting:

Research to understand specific use cases and user profiles

Regardless of your data collection tools (Trello, Intercom, Canny 🙂 ), you’ve gotta learn who is trying to do what and why before you can add something to your roadmap.

When you notice a popular feature, visit the voters’ profiles to understand who is asking for it.

The profiles provide you with:

  • The user’s persona
  • Their company’s profile (i.e., are they an enterprise, an SMB, from a specific industry?)

You can use this information to determine whether or not the feature request is coming from target users.

Understand use cases when you’re building a new feature

Instead of reading through scattered user conversations, you can check the feature voting platform, and see which users or companies asked for a certain feature. Those are the people you can reach out to for further research.

The engineering team is one of a startup’s highest costs, so it’s essential that they’re focused on what will move the needle most. Feature voting will keep your team focused on shipping the most important features.

Great product decisions drive your business goals

Build it and they will come – don’t we all wish. With SaaS, it’s more like: Solve a real problem, build it, market it, optimize it, and then you’ll grow.

A product manager’s decisions affect many-a-metric when it comes to the building, marketing, optimizing, and growing. Feature voting is a great way to make sure you’re making the right decisions and crushing business KPIs.

New Customers

Feature voting can show you the top feature requests from trialing users who didn’t convert to paid.

The best driver of new customers is to build new features that expand your product-market fit.

Sometimes when we talk to larger companies, they ask about a feature we don’t have. If we ever lose a deal because of a missing feature, we track that. By focusing on these features, we expand our product-market fit.

Upsells and ARPU

APRU = what people are paying you on average = what people are willing to pay you = how much your product is worth to them

Therefore, if you make your product more valuable, then you’ll drive ARPU.

Knowing the answer to, what are the top feature requests from our customers, will tell you and your team how to increase the value of your product.

Upsells are also crucial to improving ARPU. Let’s say you’ve got a renegotiation with Netflix coming up. You could quickly see what their feature requests are to get an idea of how to make your product more valuable for them.

Retention and Churn

SaaS is a retention game. A 5% increase in retention can lead to up to 95% increase in revenue.

The happier your customers are with your product, the less likely they are to churn. Because feature voting is public, your users have a transparent view of what’s going on within your business. They know which features you’re building and which you’re not.

This can be a huge source of both alleviation and appreciation for your customers, in fact, PixelMe increased their NPS with feature voting.

Don’t let your user feedback go to waste

Regardless of the tools you’re using to collect/monitor feedback – one thing is certain – your users will have feedback all the time. Don’t let this valuable data slip through the cracks.

Kayla Lee

I'm a content writer with a background in sales/marketing and building my own businesses. I have fun when I'm writing, making music, and studying data analytics 🙂

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