In this Predictable B2B Success episode, we delve into the world of the product development process and go-to-market strategy and why it can make or break the success of your B2B product. Our guest today is Karthik Suresh, co-founder of Ignition, an innovative platform that helps marketing and product teams plan, execute, and measure their go-to-market strategies. With a wealth of experience as a product and technology leader, including previous roles at Facebook and Kraft, Karthik is here to share his insights, strategies, and cautionary tales from the front lines of product launches.
In this episode, Karthik reveals the cultural and organizational challenges companies face when it comes to aligning different teams, such as product, marketing, sales, and customer success. He highlights the importance of involving key stakeholders early in the planning phase rather than informing them after the product is shipped. Karthik also uncovers the alarming gaps and misalignments he’s observed between product teams and sales teams, causing confusion, inconsistent messaging, and missed opportunities for revenue growth.
But that’s not all – Karthik and our host, Vinay Koshy, explore the power of purpose-built tools like Ignition in streamlining the launch process, improving communication, and ensuring accountability across teams. Plus, they discuss the impact of remote work and how companies can build trust with customers in the absence of in-person interactions.
Tune in to this episode of Predictable B2B Success for invaluable insights into the world of go-to-market strategy and learn why a solid plan is more critical than ever in today’s competitive B2B landscape.
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About Karthik Suresh
Karthik Suresh is a seasoned product manager with extensive experience in bridging the gap between different teams within companies. One notable experience was during his time at Facebook, where he served as a PM at Facebook Reality Labs. In this role, he played a crucial part in launching various features on the devices, including Oculus referrals.
At Facebook, Karthik witnessed the challenges of coordinating with a large number of stakeholders across different departments, such as product, marketing, legal, and executive teams. The go-to-market plan for the Oculus referrals feature involved a complex Google Sheet with hundreds of tabs, making it difficult to locate important assets. This resulted in issues such as shipping the wrong logo.
Realizing the need for a better solution, Karthik saw an opportunity to streamline the process and create a tool to manage the coordination and communication between teams. He recognized that relying on last-minute war room meetings and checklists was inefficient and chaotic.
Driven by his passion for improving collaboration and efficiency, Karthik is dedicated to finding innovative ways to bring teams together and streamline processes. With his expertise and experience, he is determined to revolutionize how companies manage and execute their go-to-market plans, ensuring smooth and successful product launches.
Mastering Your Product Development Process and Go-to-Market Strategy
In the fast-paced world of B2B success, a well-executed product development process and a robust go-to-market strategy are crucial for companies to thrive. In this blog post, we will delve into the key insights and actionable takeaways from the Predictable B2B Success podcast episode featuring Karthik Suresh. Specifically, we will explore the importance of cultural alignment, stakeholder collaboration, and specialized tools in optimizing the product development process and go-to-market strategy. Let’s dive in!
1. Cultural Alignment for Customer Engagement and Feedback:
Karthik Suresh sheds light on the significance of cultural differences in companies when it comes to customer engagement and feedback. While some organizations prioritize regular customer calls and interactions, others overlook the importance of such engagement. To create a user-driven product development process, it is essential to ingrain a culture of listening to and understanding your customers’ needs and preferences.
Actionable Takeaway: Foster a culture that values and encourages direct customer engagement. Involve product managers, engineers, and other relevant team members in user research, customer calls, and feedback sessions. This will provide invaluable insights and help shape the product development process.
2. Multiple Touch Points for Customer Feedback:
Simply engaging with customers is not enough. Karthik emphasizes the need for multiple touchpoints, such as surveys, feedback forms, and dedicated personnel, to collect, prioritize, and triage customer feedback effectively. This enhances the feedback loop and ensures that customers’ concerns and suggestions are well-documented and considered during the product development process.
Actionable Takeaway: Create a structured system to capture and manage customer feedback. Implement dedicated personnel or teams responsible for aggregating, categorizing, and sharing customer insights with the product development team. This ensures that customer feedback is taken into account in decision-making and product iteration.
3. Bridging the Gap between Product and Sales Teams:
Karthik shares his observation of a gap between product teams and sales teams in many companies. This gap arises due to a lack of proper coordination throughout the product development process. To avoid potential miscommunications and missed opportunities, aligning the vision and goals of both teams is crucial.
Actionable Takeaway: Involve sales and marketing leaders from the inception of the product development process. They can provide valuable market insights, help prioritize features, and align messaging with target customers. Establish regular communication channels and collaborative sessions between product, marketing, and sales teams.
4. Solid Go-to-Market Strategy: Launch with Purpose:
Launching a product successfully requires a well-defined go-to-market (GTM) strategy. The mindset of “build an amazing product and users will come” is a fallacy. Karthik stresses the importance of a structured GTM plan that encompasses identifying target audiences, researching competitors and the market, messaging, positioning, pricing, packaging, and channel mix.
Actionable Takeaway: Invest time and resources into developing a comprehensive GTM strategy. Involve marketing and product marketing teams early in the product roadmap planning phase. This ensures the product is effectively positioned in the market and reaches its intended audience. Prioritize resources for aligning messaging, positioning, pricing, and packaging across all teams involved in the launch.
5. Automate and Streamline Launch Processes with Purpose-Built Tools:
Generic project management tools may not be sufficient for managing the strategic aspects of a product launch. Karthik discusses the challenges faced at Facebook Reality Labs, where a large number of stakeholders were involved in the go-to-market process. The lack of a proper tool caused confusion and mistakes, resulting in suboptimal outcomes.
Actionable Takeaway: Consider using purpose-built tools like Ignition to streamline and automate your go-to-market process. These specialized tools can adjust dependencies and tasks automatically, track progress, centralize information, and generate go-to-market plans using AI. Utilizing such tools will enhance coordination, save time, and reduce errors in your launch process.
6. Remote Work and Building Customer Trust:
With the shift towards remote work, establishing and maintaining customer trust has become even more crucial. Karthik highlights the challenges of building trust solely through phone calls and emails, emphasizing the need for consistent communication, meeting commitments, and delivering on promises.
Actionable Takeaway: Maintain regular and meaningful communication with customers through various channels. Be reliable and consistent in delivering on promises. Leverage technology to facilitate video meetings whenever possible, as face-to-face interactions help build stronger relationships.
Mastering the product development process and go-to-market strategy is vital for B2B success. By fostering a culture of customer engagement, implementing multiple touchpoints for feedback, bridging the gap between product and sales teams, and having a solid go-to-market strategy, companies can position themselves for growth. Additionally, employing purpose-built tools like Ignition can streamline and automate launch processes, ensuring better outcomes. Finally, consistent communication and building trust remain crucial elements for success in the new remote work era.
Remember, a successful product launch is not just a checklist—it requires alignment, collaboration, and a strategic mindset. Implementing the actionable takeaways discussed in this blog post will help you navigate the complexities of product development and go-to-market strategy, ultimately driving predictable B2B success.
Some areas we explore in this episode include:
- Cultural differences in customer engagement and feedback
- Importance of ingraining a user-driven product development process in company culture
- Fostering a culture of involving PMs and engineers in user research
- Creating multiple touchpoints for customer feedback
- Assigning dedicated personnel to prioritize and triage customer feedback
- The gap between product teams and sales teams
- Challenges of a complicated go-to-market process
- Importance of investing in a solid go-to-market strategy and product development process
- Involving marketing teams and product marketing teams in the road map planning phase
- Benefits of using specialized tools like Ignition for launch planning and execution
- And much, much more.
Listen to the episode
Related links and resources
- Check out Ignition
- Learn from Nelly Yusupova – The Essential 10 New Product Development Stages for Successful Projects
- Learn more from Indus Khaitan – Mastering Tech Spend Reduction with Quolum’s Indus Khaitan: Embracing Curiosity and Persistence in Problem-Solving and Product Direction
- Discover more from Matt Young – Product Feedback Strategy: How to Better Manage Products to Drive Growth
- Learn from Ian Robinson – Custom Software Development Process: How to Fuel Success And Growth
- Check out the article – 20+ Powerful Marketing Strategies You Should Copy to Grow Your Company Fast
- Learn from Cary Richards – How to Drive Growth With a Product Bundling Strategy
- Check out the article – Rob Walling on How to Create Your First Software Product (Even if You Can’t Code!)
- Learn more from Casey Sullivan – How to Leverage a Product-Led Growth Strategy to Boost Your Results
Connect with Karthik
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