How to Communicate Product Updates to Stakeholders

How To Communicate Product Updates to Stakeholders

Have you ever finished building a significant product update only to feel anxious about how your users will react? You’re confident they will love the new features, but improper communication of changes always poses a risk of backlash. What if power users complain on Twitter? Will your launch live up to expectations after months of development?

As the product manager handing off to marketing, it’s your job to ensure a smooth rollout. But how do you coordinate all the moving pieces to make every update successful? Which stakeholders need updates, when should they be notified, and what’s the best way to engage without confusing or irritating customers? One misstep could undermine months of work.

Introducing changes, from new features to pricing alterations, is crucial for driving engagement and revenue. But it also requires careful planning to gain buy-in instead of backlash. In this guide, we’ll demystify the process of updating stakeholders on product changes. 

What Is Product Update?

Product updates are changes companies make to their products over time. The goal is to enhance the product based on continuous feedback from customers. Updates can range from smaller fixes and tweaks to bigger new additions or redesigns.

Some common things companies focus on improving through updates include features, functionality, performance, and bug fixes

By listening to what customers say they like and don’t like, companies work to address issues and make requested changes. It helps ensure the product keeps meeting evolving needs.

Updates also allow companies to take advantage of new technologies. As software and capabilities advance, updates integrate these improvements. Customers then benefit from a better experience with each new version. 

Overall, regular product updates allow companies to prove their commitment to customers by keeping things fresh and optimized over the long run.

Understand the Importance of Product Updates

Product updates are essential for keeping things fresh and meeting customer needs. Some of the top reasons companies release updates include:

  • Staying relevant over time. Updates keep a product on users’ minds and generate interest. It can drive more engagement and attract new customers.
  • Improving the user experience. Updates address issues, incorporate feedback, and add new features or capabilities. It enhances the product’s value and utility for users over the long run.
  • Enhancing security. Many updates aim to pat vulnerabilities and strengthen defenses against evolving cyber threats. It builds trust by ensuring users’ sensitive data and information remain protected.
  • Avoiding major redesigns. Small, incremental updates through software can often resolve problems without requiring extensive reworks that take the product offline for long periods.
  • Supporting customer retention. By listening and responding to user needs with updates, companies foster loyalty and give customers less reason to switch to alternatives. It supports ongoing monetization and business growth.
  • Saving costs. Product updates performed remotely save companies the expensive process of issuing hardware recalls and repairs. It keeps the customer experience and business operations as seamless as possible.

Overall, regular updates demonstrate an ongoing commitment to customers. They help ensure the product keeps pace with changing needs and stays a valuable part of people’s lives over the long run. It’s a wise investment for any company that truly serves its users.

Steps To Communicate Product Updates to Stakeholders

  1. Prepare a Clear and Concise Announcement
  2. Utilize Multiple Communication Channels
  3. Highlight the Value Proposition
  4. Facilitate Two-Way Communication
  5. Follow Up and Measure Success

1. Prepare a Clear and Concise Announcement

Imagine you’re a SaaS company like HubSpot Or ActiveCampaign, rolling out a new feature that lets users personalize email campaigns based on individual customer data. To effectively communicate this update, your first and most crucial step is crafting a clear and concise announcement.

Think of it like a press release for your product. Here’s what you need to focus on:

1. Start with a clear and concise headline:

Instead of “Introducing ABC’s Email Personalization Engine v2.0,” try “Craft Emails That Convert: Personalization Powerhouse Now Available.” This approach immediately grabs attention and tells readers exactly what the update is about.

2. Highlight the key changes and benefits:

Don’t overload your audience with technical details. Instead, focus on the most impactful changes and how they benefit users. For example, you could say, “The new personalization engine allows you to segment your audience based on specific behavior, send dynamic content, and boost engagement rates.”

3. Use simple language:

Avoid technical jargon and complex sentences. The goal is to make the announcement easily understandable by everyone, from marketing managers to CEOs. Opt for clear, concise sentences and avoid technical terms unless necessary and explained clearly.

4. Keep it short and sweet:

People are busy, so get to the point quickly. Aim for an announcement that can be easily read and digested in a minute or two.

5. Include visuals:

Adding screenshots, infographics, or even a short video can help explain the update more engagingly. Visuals can also break up the text and make the announcement more visually appealing.

With a well-crafted, headline-grabbing, yet succinct announcement, you set the stage to introduce updates and gain interest effectively. It primes stakeholders to get maximum value while requiring minimal investment upfront. Focusing communications optimally paves the path for successful rollout and adoption of new product capabilities.

2. Utilize Multiple Communication Channels

Now that you have a clear and concise announcement ready, it’s time to spread the word! 

When updating stakeholders on new product features or changes, leveraging various communication channels based on your audience and goals is important. No single channel is enough on its own.

For example, a project management software company rolling out customized templates may first send an introductory email 1-2 weeks prior. This high-level announcement prepares teams for the upcoming change.

Closer to launch, an in-app banner could provide another gentle reminder and direction to documentation. A detailed blog post on launch day walks through how to effectively leverage the new templates. Instructional videos on YouTube further bring the new capabilities to life.

Post-launch, sending a survey through existing project boards gauges feedback directly from where work gets done. Hosting a webinar allows stakeholders to ask specific questions and provide live input influencing future enhancements.

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Chisel Surveys for Seamless Product Feedback

Chisel offers a great Survey tool. The surveys aim to make getting feedback directly from your target customers easy so you can understand how to improve your product and get back to the drawing board faster. The goal is to help you iterate quickly based on real people’s thoughts instead of guessing. You’ll gain valuable insights to make your next version even better.

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Social channels like Twitter foster ongoing conversations to support users and share additional tips over time. Customer communities let peers exchange experiences and best practices.

By leveraging this variety of communication forms, from email to in-product to social and beyond, companies can meet stakeholders wherever they are, introduce changes at staggered intervals, and continue the learning process long after going live. It’s about choosing the right vehicles to inform target audiences through each step of the rollout meaningfully.

3. Highlight the Value Proposition

Rather than simply listing new features or technical specs, focus on how the updates benefit people. Clearly state the problems or pain points you have designed the features to solve. Help stakeholders visualize positive outcomes as a result of the updates.

For example, let’s say you’re a company releasing updates to streamline your onboarding process. In this step, you would emphasize how the updates will save new customers time on setup by automating specific tasks. 

You may share data on the expected reduction in average onboarding hours. For internal teams, call out how the streamlined process frees their capacity to focus on other high-value tasks. And from a business perspective, highlight the impact on new customer acquisition and retention rates over time.

Bring the value proposition to life by making it personal and tangible for stakeholders. Give them a clear sense of what’s in it so they feel invested in the changes. 

Quantifying results helps elevate it beyond vague promises to real benefits they can believe in and get behind. This stage is all about generating enthusiasm and buy-in for the updates.

4. Facilitate Two-Way Communication

While sharing details about improvements and new features is important, true understanding only happens when questions can freely flow both ways. Establishing approaches for stakeholders to offer feedback and get answers ensures they feel heard as valued partners.

Some options are dedicating a support email for queries, assembling a FAQ resource, or hosting informal question-and-answer sessions. Bringing stakeholders together in webinars or forums allows for give-and-take as you explain updates. Participants can see their peers’ perspectives too.

Don’t forget to encourage input directly through user surveys or one-on-one conversations. It shows your eagerness to learn how changes impact real workflows sincerely. Minor tweaks from stakeholder insights may pave the way for major satisfaction gains down the line.

Two-way communication builds the mutual understanding critical for maintaining strong relationships over the long term. By keeping communication lines open in both directions, stakeholders know their roles don’t end after updates roll out – your journey continues together.

Let us say you, as a project management software company, have worked hard to bring your users this significant update. Your new “Task Dependencies” feature will allow them to define relationships between tasks, establish workflow logic, and visualize critical paths like never before.

Quite understandably, you want their transition to go smoothly and for them to really benefit from this new capability. That’s why you’ve carefully planned how to communicate and provide support.

A dedicated email and forum are in place to address “Task Dependencies” questions. Your product experts will be actively monitoring to respond quickly to any inquiries. Your website offers comprehensive guides and tutorials for self-service learning.

Weekly webinars get scheduled over the next month, where users can see the feature live, pick up best practices, and get individual issues addressed. As always, your support team is also standing by for calls or messages.

After launch, brief surveys will go out to collect feedback on experiences – what’s working well and how things could get improved even more. There’s no input more valuable than understanding how users interact with you daily.

Your highest priority remains the success of your users and assisting with project management challenges. By leveraging these communication methods, you’ll do your part to help ensure “Task Dependencies” reaches its fullest potential and continues delivering value. You look forward to the continued partnership!

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Chisel AI Empowers Product Managers for Rapid Product Discovery and Delivery

Chisel has built the most comprehensive product feedback solution on the market. Through Feedback Portal and Idea Box, Chisel facilitates two-way communication between you and your stakeholders so you can better understand what’s working and how to improve.

Rather than generic surveys, Chisel gives you targeted insights through customized feedback forms. With advanced AI capabilities, Chisel can analyze thousands of responses to surface trends and common themes. It supercharges your ability to act on feedback at scale.

The AI also automatically groups related tickets to save you time. You get a clear picture of top priorities without wading through repetitive reports. With Chisel, you can rest assured that all feedback data stays safely locked down.

Sign up for Chisel’s Free Forever Version here. 

5. Follow Up and Measure Success

So you’ve rolled out your B2B SaaS product update, followed all the communication steps, and perhaps even received some initial feedback. But the journey doesn’t end there. Effective communication involves a continuous loop.

Just as a baker wouldn’t forget about a cake once it’s in the oven, checking in after launching changes is essential.

Following up allows you to gather valuable feedback on how the updates perform and impact users. You can send surveys to collect detailed user input on their experience with the new functionality. 

Hosting focus groups provides a forum for in-depth discussions and insights. Monitoring support tickets reveals any recurring issues. Tracking key metrics affects engagement, adoption rates, and other metrics.

Just as importantly, communicating the results keeps stakeholders informed. Share feedback and data analysis findings, including plans for continual enhancement. Publish blog posts discussing the updates’ impact on supplementing technical documentation. Presenting at industry events spreads learnings to a broader audience.

For example, a sales acceleration platform could follow up after releasing a new feature enabling personalized email campaigns. Sending a survey asks how personalization impacts performance. 

Conducting a focus group provides a qualitative perspective. Analyzing metrics shows if open and click-through rates improved. Publishing a blog case study highlights successful user stories. Presenting at a conference shares strategy and best practices industry-wide.

Remember, maintaining open communication is as vital as the initial rollout. By prioritizing follow-up, you demonstrate commitment to customers and collect invaluable insights for future product refinement. A continuous feedback loop ensures ongoing relevance in the dynamic market.

Key Takeaways

Effectively communicating product updates to stakeholders is critical to successful product management. Stakeholders often face challenges in staying informed about changes, leading to potential misunderstandings and disruptions. 

We’ve explored various strategies to address this issue, emphasizing the importance of clear and transparent communication.

Organizations can enhance their communication processes by adopting a structured approach that includes targeted messaging, tailored channels, and proactive engagement. Regular updates, utilizing a mix of mediums such as emails, presentations, and interactive sessions, ensure that stakeholders are well-informed and engaged.

To further support your efforts in refining stakeholder communication and project management, we encourage you to explore Chisel. 

You’ll find valuable resources and tools designed to streamline communication, foster collaboration, and ultimately drive product success. Remember, an informed and engaged stakeholder is key to navigating the ever-evolving landscape of product updates successfully. Visit Chisel’s homepage for the next step in optimizing your communication strategy.

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