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Welcome to another Innovation Thursdays potluck! As always, we bring on members of our community to present their lives business cases and challenges. In the spirit of a potluck, our guest comes in with their business case, and we give them pabaon in the form of ideas, insights, and solutions to take home. In this potluck, Jeremy Obial of Xiklab Digital came on to discuss his breakthrough for launching a SaaS product that aims to be an all-around app service for employees. We mainly focused on targeting Xiklab’s primary stakeholder and getting deeper into the pains, needs, and wants of that stakeholder. Jeremy came out of this potluck session with a better understanding on how to tap into the challenges that an HR leader is going through, because selling the product to an HR head can hopefully turn into selling to the top brass. This again is the power of our 100H Launchpad Hurdles – targeting specific hurdles allows you to identify the issues that you need to address by providing more clarity and focus on the whats, the hows, and the whys that are relevant in reaching your next level breakthrough. Think about your own business case, think about the struggles you and your team are having, and see which of these hurdles best apply to you. No matter how challenging your own business cases may be and even if you might not know what to do, these hurdles can steer you in the right direction.
Xiklab is a digital marketing agency that handles digital marketing campaigns for different clients in different industries. Within XikLab, we have XikLab ventures, which is a business unit that creates startup products. For my case today, I will be discussing one of my startup products. I’m working right now on getting my first SaaS (Software as a Service) product off the ground. A SaaS is a way of breaking down software to make it accessible to customers. We have been planning and developing this product for over a year now, but the pandemic disrupted our plans and our launch has been delayed this quarter or first quarter next year. We’re working on getting the first 20 paying customers to use our SaaS platform.
The platform is related to employee engagement, advocacy, and e-learning. It’s an employee app for all things a company would need in terms sustaining and cultivating the relationship between the company and the employees. It’s an enterprise product targeting businesses that will be charged per employee per month.
We treat it as 3 distinct modules;
1) Employee Advocacy helps companies run an advocacy program to help employees become ambassadors of products or company culture.
2) Employee Engagement is a set of features that help HR build a culture. It is designed to help with engagement metrics.
3) Employee E-learning: we wanted to create a democratized e-learning program that is accessible to SMEs in developing markets.
One of our hurdles is that we have to determine precisely who our target company is. We are learning more as we meet with more companies and present the product. We’ve learned that it appeals to SMEs but they have to have a certain degree of appreciation of employee engagement. If it’s not something that HR wants to do then the app loses its relevance. However employee e-learning is more acceptable to organizations of all sizes. A lot of businesses have acknowledged the need to upscale the e-learning of employees during this pandemic. Right now we’re trying to get companies to join the beta program and we’re targeting different companies of different sizes and industries to get a better understanding of how they use the platform.
For the most part of this year, we presented the product to as many people as possible. I wanted to test which parts of the platform resonated with them. I tested the approval flow in order to determine who would be a decision maker for an organization, who is using this platform, and how they’d use it. We’ve gradually added changes based on the feedback that we’ve gotten.
The very first target audience I tested was marketing teams. We wanted a solution that helped companies leverage their employees for marketing, but everytime ‘employee’ is mentioned, HR is pulled in. The marketing teams still felt the need to bring in HR for a decision. That’s a stumbling block because I discovered dynamics in a company that I’ve overlooked. For example, the SaaS product is designed for and beneficial to the marketing person but actually all of the work goes to the HR. It’s HR who has to figure out the rewards, who’s going to pay for who, and whose budget is going to be used. This makes the decision making process a little more complicated because two groups have to agree. So we expanded the app to cater to the needs of HR as well. We haven’t tried it with CEOs yet but we really want to do a top down approach because only someone with vision can appreciate the value our product can offer to their company.
Digging deeper into your stakeholders gives you more specific answers to who they are. It gives clarity when you see the bigger picture of who your stakeholder is and what you are trying to solve as well.
You rarely solve problems that are your own, so it’s vital that you challenge yourself to go deep and get personal with your stakeholders. Aim for a level of clarity of the problem that allows you to easily solve it impactfully.
In retelling the story of the stakeholder, I felt their pain as if they were my own. The picture of who this stakeholder is was clear in my head and it felt like I was in their shoes, navigating the life that they are living at that very moment.
Getting down and dirty, diving into the nitty-gritty details, to a point where we can see our stakeholder under a microscope, would always be worth the drag. It reminded me of a slingshot. The pullback is so worth the time and effort to achieve higher trajectory and faster speed.
I wonder why focusing on the product or solution always comes first or before focusing on the customers and their pains, needs, and wants.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
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