2023 Reflections - A Letter from our CEO
Reflecting on 2023
As 2023 came to a close, I led our leadership team to reflect on the transformative journey of the last year. Taking the time to reflect, celebrate, and learn helps us see how much we have grown as well as find opportunities for improvement. Below are some of 2023’s most memorable moments for Vecteris and our reflections — from launching new services to publishing our second book to doing a company-wide daily gratitude challenge in November.
1. Using Customer Feedback to Launch the Vecteris Productize PathwayTM Solution
You hear us say it all the time, talking to customers is a cornerstone of successful Productization. The best products solve our customers’ most urgent and expensive problems. Accordingly, customer feedback has also guided our own decision-making. Before fully launching the Vecteris Productize PathwayTM Solution, we started back in 2021 testing concepts with customers and prospects, reviewing win/loss data, and analyzing past client engagements to see what worked, what was missing, and how to improve.
Through all of that customer feedback and discussion, we created the Vecteris Productize PathwayTM Solution for companies ready to make a visible commitment to productization, developing strong productization capabilities (skills and processes) across their team.
We continued to review the data and found that we were missing a large swath of potential customers, those who were just starting the productization journey. In this phase, they are thinking about what productization means with one person leading the charge and we created an ‘Essentials’ version of the solution to increase our impact and the kinds of companies we can serve.
In 2023, we welcomed new customers like CBRE, Black & Veatch, Euromonitor, Finit, Genesis Solutions, Power Engineers, and Step CG to name a few.
Whether they are just beginning their productization journey or looking to make their product innovation team world-class, our customers all share a commitment to productization as their pathway to growth and sustained customer impact.
2. We published Fearless to help organizations build more product-friendly cultures
In the years since publishing Productize, it became clear how essential building a product-friendly culture is to success. “Product-hostile” cultures and a lack of employees with a product mindset is a real barrier to success for B2B services companies. In the research for Fearless, we found that the cultural attributes that make a services business strong - things like prizing individual expertise and heroics - can kill a productization strategy.
To help companies create a product-friendly culture, we created org structure recommendations, leadership training, hiring playbooks, incentive plans, and so much more. And we are starting a third book, to be released in the first half of 2024, focused on selling and marketing product solutions.
In 2023, we reconfigured our team to support our growth as a product-first organization, investing in Productization Coaching and Customer Success functions. Our Productization Coaches have run products and product teams themselves and understand the challenges that our customers are facing.
When launching new subscription-based offerings like we have, customers need to have more resources devoted to account management or customer success. As part of our commitment to a great customer experience in our new product, Vecteris named JeiLi Merrill as Associate Director of Customer Success. JeiLi leads the charge with our Productization Coaches to support the individualized goals and milestones of each customer.
We also welcomed Jason Boldt to the team as Chief Growth Officer. Jason brings over a decade of experience launching and growing software and information services products, leading teams, and developing strategies. Jason’s primary focus is to drive the growth of our Productize PathwayTM Solutions, our comprehensive advisory and capabilities-building solution for organizations pursuing productization. Much like our customers, Jason’s addition to the team signaled our own commitment to scaling our own company through productization. The whole team was excited to have Jason join and I was continually impressed throughout the year at how able and willing the team has been to innovate and change to respond to our customer needs.
4. Continued focus on product innovation
This year using customer feedback and market data, we made several updates to our offerings. In addition to launching Essentials, we also:
- Created a Knowledge Hub to give members direct access to self-service tools and resources
- Launched our Accelerator, quarterly cohorts that engage both product leaders and a company executive sponsor to launch or improve products faster than ever
- To create more community, we updated our Peer Groups into bi-monthly learning sessions for product team members and quarterly Strategy Sessions specifically for executives
- Began an Expert Series to create a stronger network for our members to connect with developers, AI, legal, sales, and marketing experts.
5. Approaching life and work with Gratitude
In Fearless, we talk about the benefit of using gratitude to shift our thinking from scarcity ("we don't have enough budget/time/skills", "customers don't have enough budget/time/skills") to abundance ("we always find a way," "if it is of value they will want to figure out how to do it"). During November, Eisha led the team in a daily gratitude practice on our team Slack Channel.
What struck me most when reading through the many, many entries from across the month: the number of entries about human connection and its importance in our daily lives.
Entries were about our team members’ greatest supporters--Vecteris advisors, current and past colleagues, our individual partners, parents, nannies, and kiddos, including the furry ones. There were comments about grocery delivery and the ability to make nourishing meals for our families, as well as about the benefits of technology including GenAI, and social media like Substack, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and how those tools allow us all to be creators. The team shared stories about customers who read our content and showed us their dogged-eared copies of Productize and Fearless--you all have no idea how much these conversations make our day! Thank you all.
A few snapshots from our month of gratitude.
We are looking forward to 2024 and continuing to grow in our work with all of you! I would love to hear about your highlights from 2023 and what you are looking forward to in the year ahead.