Advisor Case Study: Too Many Outcomes

Rajesh Nerlikar April 5 2021

The following is adapted from Build What Matters.

Right before I joined HelloWallet as a Senior Product Manager, the company pivoted from a B2C business model to a B2B2C model, selling our financial wellness products to large companies as an employee benefit. As a part of this transition, I started joining sales calls with our buyers: HR leaders. Of course, the sales team wanted to focus those calls on moving the deal forward, so after I did a product demo, I usually only had time to ask the prospect one question. After some trial and error, I landed on a question that provided the most insight:

If you were to pilot this product with a few employees, what metric would you use to decide whether to expand the benefit to all employees when we come to you at the end of the pilot?

The wide range of answers I heard surprised me:

  • Reduce employee stress and absences related to personal finances by helping them build emergency savings and pay down debt
  • Increase retirement readiness to create upward mobility at the company (it’s hard to get promoted when a bunch of executives can’t afford to retire)
  • Lower healthcare costs by helping employees understand why a high-deductible health plan was a good option

As I thought about these different answers, I realized that the products we would need to build to deliver on each success metric individually would be drastically different from one another. We had competitors whose products were focused on just one of these outcomes. It was hard to design and build a product that could deliver well on all of them simultaneously, and we also had to match these outcomes to what the employees wanted as their financial goals. For example, most workers don’t even think about retirement savings because they’re struggling to pay the bills every month.

By talking to prospects, we were able to understand the types of outcomes they expected. From there, we focused on a few outcomes and ensured that sales, marketing, and product were aligned so we were targeting the right buyer and ensuring the product could deliver on the outcomes the buyer expected.

Want to revisit your product KPIs and choose ones that represent the key outcomes your customers and users care about? Click here to get our Key Outcome Pyramid worksheet to walk you through the process of doing so. 

Written by Rajesh Nerlikar

Rajesh is a co-founder of Prodify and Principal Product Advisor / Coach. He is currently the VP of Product at Regrow. Prior to that, he was the Director of Workplace Products at Morningstar, a Senior PM at HelloWallet (which was acquired by Morningstar) and a PM at Opower (which went public in 2014).

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