The main challenge of building a product roadmap is prioritizing tasks as your ideas and customer requests pile up.
Existing customers threaten to churn if you don't add new features quickly. Potential customers need additional features to become paying customers. Your competition is still working on new features, and you can't lag. You need to learn how to create a better product roadmap.
What is a Product Roadmap?
A product roadmap is a structured plan on how to develop your product.
It consists of:
- the list of new features to implement
- the list of upcoming upgrades
- the timeline of what is built in a week, month, quarter, or a year.
The primary purpose of a product roadmap is to show users (and your team members) your product development plans and what they can expect from you in the future.
Market trends are constantly changing, and something seen as a nice-to-have today can quickly become a must-have tomorrow (a simple example: support of mobile devices by analytical tools).
As you see, there's so much to take into account when building a product roadmap. Making a mistake in planning features implementation can have a catastrophic influence on your company's growth. In some cases – it can even make your business disappear from the market.
What can help you prioritize new features to implement is the feedback from customers and website visitors. Let's take a look at how to build a better product roadmap.
How Customer Feedback Help Build Better Product Roadmaps
Product teams often make product decisions based on only a few answers. It's a mistake we're all prone to making. It's not uncommon to push a particular decision considering product development only because a few customers made a feature request.
It sounds like a reasonable choice, right? Where's the mistake? The problem is not taking into account all existing and potential customers.
The fact that customers communicate a need for a feature does not mean the feature is the most vital one for the future of your business.
A lack of a difference may make 50 customers churn and look for a more suitable alternative without saying a word.
In such a scenario, would you still say that basing your product decisions on any piece of feedback is a good move? In order to make good product development decisions, you should take into account user feedback from more sources than only angry customers.
To evaluate your app, run a survey across multiple channels. This product testing survey template will help you do it in an efficient manner:
How to Prioritize Decisions Creating a Product Roadmap
As already mentioned, setting priorities is key. But how to do it?
Look at the potential outcome of decisions regarding the product roadmap. Should you prioritize a new feature that will help you potentially acquire 50 new users, or one that will help you upgrade 30 current customers from basic to more expensive subscriptions?
The key is their lifetime value. Also, bear in mind that the fact that people say they would buy a subscription if you add a feature or two doesn't necessarily mean they will do it.
Existing users are a different story, however. For them, a lack of a particular feature can be a real pain, and they will be happy to upgrade as soon as you add it.
With revenue in mind, don't forget about your vision. Focusing on urgent tasks only can blur your vision of a product, which can be dangerous in the long run.
A simple way to avoid it is to plan the time, resources, and the spend. For example: Devoting 30% of the time to building your long-term vision and the rest to introducing new features that will help you maintain and acquire new customers now.
How to Get Feedback for Your Product Roadmap
Collecting feedback from customers is easy – you can talk to them using chat, email, send surveys or even call them – it's up to you what you choose. If you choose the right product feedback software that is easy to implement, you can start collecting product feedback in minutes.
As far as surveys are concerned, here are the digital touchpoints that are most effective for collecting significant numbers of insights.
Here's an example of a simple question that can be displayed on the visited webpage:
'Are we missing any features?'
And, if 'yes', a follow-up question:
'What features are we missing?'
To make the survey even more actionable, you can collect email addresses to be able to contact people once you implement the requested features.
TIP: Collect feedback on pricing or features pages from registered users only. Otherwise, you'll end up with many answers suggesting adding features you already offer.
To test your pricing, use the pricing feedback survey template:
Mobile App Surveys
If, for instance, you own a food delivery app, you might catch a user right after he or she dealt with an obstacle or asked about a handy feature that would skyrocket your product.
Like with website surveys, when sending mobile surveys, follow up on missing features requests. Nevertheless, remember that your mobile device respondents won't have the convenience of a keyboard to write long answers or answer many open-ended questions.
Feel free to check out this product-market fit survey template by Survicate you can easily embed in your app:
Another option worth considering is using email surveys to get feedback from all existing customers. It's a great way to reach the users who haven't interacted with your product since you've launched your website and mobile app questionnaires.
As in previous cases, ask your email respondents what features they would like to see built next to or their main challenge in using your product.
Answers will show you what to focus on. Plus, if you integrate your surveys with your marketing automation tools like Intercom, HubSpot or ActiveCampaign, you can see answers on profiles or customers so you can reach out to them with more questions about requested features or get back to them when you add features they need.
You can also run a link survey, which lets you paste your survey to a whole plethora of other marketing and communication tools.
Product Roadmap Survey Question Examples
Let's take a quick recap.
We've just reviewed how you can reach your audience to collect responses quickly. What other questions, apart from those mentioned above general Yes/No inquiry, are worth asking?
If your customer success team provided you with a list of feature requests from customers (not leads!), then you'll likely want to verify which of them are indeed on popular demand and which are isolated cases.
You'll also want to make sure that you prioritize features in the roadmap not only because they're most popular but also because they're requested by avid users who are likely to upgrade.
Remember – lifetime value of customers over gambling for potential leads with new product features.
Here are some survey question examples:
- 'How often do you use our product?' followed by:
- 'Which features do you use the most?'
- 'Which features or product changes would you like to see the most?'
TIP: It is best to ask these questions in an open-ended format so that you're not suggesting any answers by displaying a list. Otherwise, your respondents might upvote features that are more of a nice-to-have, and not critically-needed, list.
Building a product roadmap is worth the effort only if you share it. If defined on the basis of thorough customer feedback, it can do real wonders for your entire organization.
Just think of it:
The product team has no doubts about what to focus on. And, sales reps use it as an argument to explain to potential customers why building a specific custom feature is not possible soon.
What is more, if you know a specific feature, such as integration with an external partner, is on its way and anticipated by many customers, you'll already be able to collect emails for early access!
Now, let's look at those leads. Being presented with a product roadmap, potential customers will be able to make a more informed choice while choosing a provider. Please think of the positive influence it will have on lowering churn rates.
Last but not least, your support team will also appreciate it – when people are familiar with the roadmap before signing up, they will have fewer requests and questions about new features.
Convinced? Give Survicate a go and see how hassle-free collecting user feedback can be.