Saying No to Product Feedback Requests

Several years ago an entrepreneur was evaluating marketing automation software and asked me about Pardot. After a web demo and several calls with a sales rep, he ultimately chose a competitor’s product. Upon selection, he reached out to me to see if I wanted to do a 30 minute phone call so he could tell me why he chose the other product and provide feedback. I politely declined his request over email and passed on doing the call. He was put off when I declined what he viewed as a favor.¬†Here are a few reasons why I said no to product feedback:

  • He wasn’t our normal buyer profile
  • Our product management and engineering teams had their plates full and were doing great work
  • Product feedback channels were open and healthy
  • My time was better spent elsewhere

It’s hard to say ‘no’ to someone that’s clearly trying to help you, yet it’s the right thing to do. You have to say ‘no’ to most things to be able to say ‘yes’ to the important things.

What else? What are your thoughts on saying ‘no’ to product feedback requests?

4 thoughts on “Saying No to Product Feedback Requests

  1. Great post David. This takes guts and an organizational culture strong enough to support this notion. It certainly seems to have paid off for you!

    In a previous post you mentioned resisting the request to white-label your product. How did you come to that decision?

    Hope all is well,
    -dr-

  2. David,

    Glad I started to follow your blog, very informative and insightful. I agree that perhaps you should not have collected the feedback, but would argue that someone within product might have benefited from it.

    I agree that saying ‘no’ is critical to focusing on the items to say ‘yes’ to. And from a time management standpoint that would make sense. We all struggle with having numerous items in-flight and wanting to focus our time on high value events.

    However, from a perspective of relentlessly improving the product, funneling this person into the existing product feedback mechanism might have yielded some benefit. It’s often different perspectives that allow product people to step back from their own products and see things from a different angle. You could have thanked him for compiling his feedback and requested he deliver his thoughts through the exiting feedback loop. Also, his suggestions might have been minimal and easily allowed you to flex your product into his buyer profile/market segment.

    Best,

    Jeff Anop

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