In the previous instalment in this series, I talked about how a conversation with one of our clients led to a lightbulb moment about how organizations could become more data-driven. Ultimately, this led us to build the product now known as DueDil DataWorks.
So this post must be the story of how, in a matter of weeks, we triumphantly built and launched a product that cleans a CRM at the flick of a switch and is beloved the world over? Not quite. As with any new product, the path to a successful launch is full of ups, downs, triumphs and disappointments.
What we learned from that process though was incredibly valuable, and it helped us think beyond the launch of a new product and towards a new approach to solving our clients’ problems.
Where it all began
Our client, a fast-growing VC-backed B2B SaaS provider, was in need of high quality company information to help them build out their go-to-market strategy. The big obstacle was the state of their existing CRM -- a database full of duplicates and manual errors. The challenge was set: help the client solve this problem and they’d be in a place to automate and enrich their customer information with our API.
Armed with a list of their CRM data fields, our team set about building the algorithms we needed to match their data to ours, removing duplicates and enriching the records. The project (although limited in scope) was a success! But at the same time it emphasized how crucial the cleaning step was in the broader process of gaining the client’s trust on the way to turning their CRM into a strategic asset.
Finding a way to scale
This initial project raised two key questions. First, how do we scale this solution across hundreds of different clients, some with huge (and scary) CRMs. And second, how do we ensure that enrichment process is the foundation of a new way of working rather than a one-off.
Traditional solutions involved sending off data to a professional services team who, in theory, de-duped it, cleaned it and sent it back weeks later. Not only can this process be costly and time-consuming, it’s also frustratingly inflexible and not fit for an age when everyone is more concerned about information security and data privacy. Spring cleaning once every few years just doesn’t cut it in a world where your competitive landscape is constantly changing and you need insights in real-time.
We believed that creating a self-serve solution built atop the existing DueDil infrastructure would answer both questions. By putting our clients in control, we could empower them to re-examine their market as quickly and as frequently as they needed, using our matching technology to power their go-to-market insights.
Shining a spotlight
By October 2018 we had built a prototype and made the decision to launch it with great fanfare at our very own customer conference ‘Spotlight.’ In the weeks that followed the event, we arranged a series of live demonstrations with clients to show them our new beta product.
And that’s where the pain started.
Each of the demos had issues with reliability and user experience, and although we were confident in the concept we didn’t want to launch a product that couldn’t deliver on our promise. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, especially as we’d given the product such an auspicious debut, but it was the right one.
Speaking to the experts
We decided to reset and went back to our original source of inspiration -- our clients. We conducted a series of interviews with sales and marketing operations professionals to get a clearer understanding of their needs, not just at the data level but at the workflow level. This helped us understand how they dealt with the limitations of their current CRM environment and what they’d want it to look like if they could wave a magic wand.
We took all of this feedback on-board as we continued to develop DataWorks into 2019, nearly a year after the initial unveiling. Rather than attempt a perfect launch of an imperfect product, we doubled down on creating an approach and a solution that would set our clients up for success and we’d be proud of.
In the final part of this series I’ll talk about how we structured the DataWorks beta to tighten the product to our clients’ needs, as well as the value early adopters got from using DataWorks to turn their CRM into a strategic asset.