How A Startup Uses Innovation Technology (Part 2)

How A Startup Uses Innovation Technology (Part 2)

Kindling was born to address a need — a growing group of designers and technologists were finding it difficult to keep track of ideas and the discussions around these ideas. We were trying to address the problems that were emerging as we scaled the business. We didn’t have a way to centralize ideas, to manage the feedback from our customers, to communicate with our remote employees, or a non “gut” way of determining what development items should take priority over others. Email was failing us (click here to learn more about a free program designed exclusively for Startups).

Kindling owes its success not just to selling our software, but also to using it. This post is an introspective on how we at Kindling use our own product (or dogfooding, in context of software). From Product Management to Development to Sales & Marketing, we all find benefits from being connected to the center of our business — ideas.

Part 2 – Sales
The first part of this series was an interview with CEO and Product Lead on how he and the Kindling Product Team use Kindling to help shape the product roadmap. Part 2 is an interview with our Strategic Account Executive, on how the Sales Team uses Kindling to share market information with the other teams at Kindling and add a sales perspective to product feature discussions. Sitting on the front lines, what the Sales team learns first hand is what the market wants, what industries are buying, and what our competition is doing. The information our team learns from our conversations is critical to every department in the company. Whether it helps to craft our Marketing messaging or whether it helps Product understand what functionality we need, the information the sales team gathers is invaluable. We all benefit from having a place where they can share their knowledge with the rest of the company.

Q: How often do you use Kindling? Twice a week? Once a day? Once an hour?
A: I read Kindling very frequently. I find myself using Kindling when I see interesting things in my email notifications. Sometimes I check if I’m curious about the features that are getting the most buzz in Kindling. I might go into the category about features and look at what people are saying most. I usually put in my own ideas in binges – I’ll put a bunch of ideas in at once and then follow them as they progress.

Q: What is the primary way your team uses Kindling?
A: When I see different product features being discussed in Kindling, sometimes adding comments from a Sales perspective is useful. The developers may not be as connected to a particular need or use case, and often adding in some market information provides context or validation for the ideas being discussed. Also, it’s helpful when Sales puts information into Kindling about conversations that we’ve had with prospects. Often we’ll talk to prospects who say, “Gee, it would be great if we could do this…” so Kindling is a nice place to put that. It’s a great way to make it possible to address the feedback we’re hearing from prospects.

Q: Discuss any proud wins you’ve had from using Kindling.
A: I am a strong advocate of using Kindling, and I’ve seen several of the ideas I shared move forward. For example, I put an idea in Kindling that we should track how many people view each Idea or Post, and add that information to the data shown at the bottom of the idea. This idea was approved and ultimately became a feature in Kindling. Another idea that has come through the use of Kindling that I’m proud of is the creation of our “Customers and Market” category. As a team, we use this category to share use cases from our existing customers, knowledge about our competition, and ways to improve how we position our offerings. As a company, we discuss information about market trends and ways to better service our customers. It’s rewarding to know we can solve any number of business challenges, regardless of industry or firm size. Everyone in the company enjoys hearing our success stories.

Q: What have you learned from other teams in the company from using Kindling?
A: A general theme, from my perspective without having a development background, it seems sometimes that certain changes are trivial from a development perspective and some are complicated…often my assessment of how much work something will require is inaccurate. When I see the developers chiming in about the underlying architecture and the difficulty of a piece of work, I gain insight as to what’s possible, what’s scalable and what challenging things come up.

Q: How has Kindling helped you feel connected to the company as a whole?
A: I love when the customer stories come up. One recent example is for an account that I closed and Head of Services was managing. I was so excited to see her post an update that the customer having a positive experience, and that everyone there is really happy and that the rollout there is going great. It gave me extra context to use for future conversations I have with prospects.

Q: Any final thoughts?
A: I really like the transparency aspect of Kindling . I feel much more connected to the company when I can see what’s going on in different departments. I like feeling like I know what’s going on around me and Kindling facilitates that.