When a company operates in a niche market with a small product offering it has as many advantages as it does challenges. Imagine then a very narrow field for use of a specific solution and only two products on offer. Clients will rarely purchase the cheaper option unless budget constraints dictate. This then leads to no potential upgrade path and also means the price difference between the two is limited – you simply can’t charge double for an upgraded version.
Having sold their higher-level solution to multiple customers – some competing against other buyers – we had to develop an upgrade path and open up the lower product to prospective buyers too. This required a two-tier approach to the solution offer.
First, we developed a product below our base offering. It lacked some of the functionality of the original base product and had limited flexibility in how it was implemented with restrictions on the amount of data it would process (still huge) and only some integrations. Some of the higher value product data fields were also jettisoned. This provided a lower entry point and a path for upgrades. The reduction in product data fields meant also there was an upgrade project requiring additional data work in the implementation.
Having developed a lower-level product, we could now push up the price of our previously base product and also our higher-level product.
At the top end we developed a solution with significant additional functionality. Over the next year 50% of the coding work would go into the new product. This meant a reduction in new functionality deployment for existing customers. By way of compensation, they would be given access to the new product at a discount when it went live and also great financial benefits in operational support. In addition, they had a ‘seat at the table’ to influence the new solution through the creating of a Steering Committee.
In the space of twelve months the solution offering went from two products to four. Revenues increased significantly with new customers buying the (now) second tier product and also customers migrating along the curve to higher value products.
Product development is key for any organisation. Matching it to customer demands and identifying potential new customers is key in matching what you build to what they want and what they will one day want.