10 Steps for Managing Your Software Product after its Launch
A product is an embodiment of your brand values and your customers’ faith. Launching a software product is not enough to make it successful. Tracking its performance, understanding user behaviour, their needs, and channelling the changes through an iterative cycle with the right strategies to create engagement and drive value for the customer is critical. Re-strategizing product features as per the evolving user behaviour must ensure your software product’s stickiness. A software product should be seen as a continuous process of improvement.
It cannot end at a product launch. Product lifecycle management, user behaviour & user engagement with exemplary marketing efforts to find the right product-market fit for your software product is key that needs to be unlocked post-launch.
Why is Post-Launch Software Product Management Important?
Post-launch product management is crucial for many reasons.
Digital users have near to zero tolerance. Imperfections, bugs, clumsiness, lags could dishearten the users of your software product.
Setting the ship on the sail is not enough. Knowing its coordinates and directions is more important. Meaning you need to understand and track your user’s journey and behaviour of users using your software product.
Post-launch, monitoring your software product’s performance is very important to see that there are no lags, performance issues created due to an increase in daily active users.
The various parameters that define user behaviour are tracked and studied, for example, the click rate, the acquisition rate, bounce rate, and conversion rate. This improves your understanding of users and can redefine strategies around it.
Depending upon the overall user metrics, adjustments in marketing strategies improve product performance in the market.
How to Manage a Product Post-launch & find out whether you have a market for your product?
Step 1: Understand the importance of data analysis
World-class marketing strategies are not enough to make a product successful in the digital space. One should also have an analytical mindset required to track the customers’ end-to-end experience. If you have all your tracking mechanisms in place, the parameters which will help you to gauge if the product is a perfect market fit or not are:
– Click rate
– Acquisition rate
– Engagement rate
– Retention rate
Step 2: Take proper customer feedback
We’ll see that ensuring customer satisfaction with the new product is more than a mere formality. Send messages, call, shoot emails...
– Check with them how they feel about the product?
– Ask them if the product met their expectations?
– Try to gauge if they are feeling under-rewarded for their excitement and confidence in your brand.
– Emphasize the features and benefits of the products they may be missing putting to use. Train them for product use if required.
– Keep a measure of Customer Support Ticket issued for future analysis. Encourage them to post reviews, testimonials, and feedback
Step 3: Checking for imperfections, bugs, problems, shortcomings, etc.
This is where serious work begins. You may receive some less positive news while checking customer satisfaction. However, checking for lags, bugs, defects, and reasons for dissatisfaction should be a separate managerial exercise as well. QA testing should be continued even after the product is launched because there is always a scope for improvement. Gathering positive and negative feedback should be done separately, if not from different sets of buyers. The sooner you begin gathering negative feedback, the better as you improve faster.
Step 4: Planning to address the shortcomings
It has to be a quick, competent, and prompt process; else your product might lose the fizz. It can be done in the following ways.
– Making strategies for minimizing the harm to the customer relationship.
– Sending the details of severe flaws to the senior management so that timely steps can be taken to address the issues. This will minimize the harm.
– Pre-determining the possible market underperformance of the product and making adjustments.
– Even if the customers are satisfied with the product, try to push them to get fruitful feedback for attaining perfection in the next model or version.
Step 5: Find out your Product-Market Fit
Preparing a Product-Market Fit report can also give actionable insights to optimize the post-launch strategies. To check the product-market fit, you will need the following:
Customer satisfaction data
Customers’ understanding of the unique value proposition of your product in the market. How many of them understand why your product is unique and different from your competitors?
How likely are the customers of your competitors to try your product after learning about its benefits?
How likely is the user-generated content to influence those who are yet to make their mind for buying your product?
How many new users have your product won by building the positive image with the initial buyers and through their feedback and testimonials?
Besides these, you’ll need many other metrics for correct decision-making.
Comparative data around the cost of acquisition, adoption, and conversion of leads into customers.
Customer lifetime value: CLV the most important calculation you can make if you are into SaaS. It helps in re-orienting marketing and development tasks according to the broader strategy of the organization. Keeping a smaller set of loyal customers happy could be more profitable than acquiring new ones and losing them in a short time.
Churn Rate: This gives you an idea of the proportion of customers you are losing. To reduce it, you’ll have to keep a wider variety of users happy. You would not want to do it if acquiring and trying new users is cheaper than keeping everyone satisfied.
Promoter Score: It’s about the number or proportion of users recommending your product to others. This can be measured either from the total or against the number of users making no contribution to expanding your market.
Step 6: Gathering User Generated Content
Positive reviews, testimonials, and feedback are a dividend for the hard-work gone into product design and launch. These can be in the form of raw data, videos, audio or text. These dividends have to be re-invested. Pump them into your marketing strategy. Let the world know how your product is performing in the initial stages.
There’s nothing better than the prospective customers getting to know about it in the words of those who have already fallen in love with it. User-generated content is amongst the top digital marketing content strategies for 2021. It’s original, diverse, carries passion, honesty, and impeccable power to attract.
Step 7: Strike the Right Balance between In-bound and Out-bound Marketing Efforts
Many managers ignore balancing the in-bound and outbound marketing if the product is doing well. They don’t realize that post-launch product management is not just about the current product. It’s equally as much about the future coming model/version of the similar product, other products, and the brand overall. Here are a few examples of adjustments you can make:
Case 1: There are serious issues worth addressing: They may be hindering the market performance. Buyers could be getting doubtful about your product. Push the positive reviews and feedback into the outbound channels. Try to divert or slow the purchase path from in-bound channels until the next batch arrives.
Case 2: Huge inflow of positive feedback, and inbound traffic. Use this opportunity to build relationships. Start planning for the future without losing sight of the present. Try to build a strategy to promote the brand overall. Announce schemes to clear underperforming products.
Case 3: Everything seems in balance. This situation can be used to focus on the competitors and the external market. With timely improvisations and adjustments in emphasis on inbound/outbound efforts, you can try to gain a competitive advantage by eating into the rival product’s market.
Step 8: Customer Retention Strategy
After a few rounds of Product Performance Reports, you will have a fair idea of how the product is performing. Before planning ahead, make sure to draw a strategy to ensure customer retention.
If the product carries the scope of the repeated purchase, inaugurate offers.
Lay emphasis on converting the first-time buyers into loyal customers through loyalty marketing efforts. Design discount offers, reward-points schemes, etc.
Step 9: Drawing the In-market Product Life Cycle for Better Decision Making
In-market Product Life Cycle curve is graphed around:
Profit and revenue
Percentage of sales from the existing stock
Bookings and orders placed
A freshly launched product would give a rising curve. The declining curve means that the product is losing popularity. A flat curve calls for extra marketing efforts. It allows a dynamic picture of how the product is actually doing in the market. Sometimes it can provide seasonal insights as well, besides the quarterly performance reviews. Overall, it hastens smart post-launch product management decision making.
Step 10: Create the Financial Scorecard
For whatever actions and improvements the post-launch campaigns call for, funds are needed. Every company allocates funds for R&D, Marketing, Sales, and Management, etc. much before the launch. However, as the actual performance of the product unfolds, these funds have to be relocated. It depends upon the immediate measures decided and the adjustments in the long-term strategy in the product life cycle.
The post-launch Financial Scorecard should include weekly, monthly, and quarterly analysis of gross profit, profit percentage, sales figures, post-launch marketing campaign related statistics etc. Variance from planned outcomes, performance insights, customer data, and key business indicators, allow extracting the future opportunity plans.
We are sure that with these steps you will not be in dark, and drive your products towards great in-market performance. Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below. We will get back to you with the answers soon.
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