It’s hard to figure out which data to present to your stakeholders. It’s even harder when you’re sharing the results from your Customer Validation (CV) tests, which return lots of valuable product information and customer insights. A background in research or data analysis is immensely helpful, but it’s no silver bullet for conveying the most pertinent information for every stakeholder situation. That’s why so many CV professionals end up sending all their results to all of their stakeholders — leaving many of those stakeholders swimming in a sea of too much feedback.
I’m sorry, too much feedback? What?
It might seem unbelievable that department heads, executives, and company leaders wouldn’t want to see every last drop of customer-validated insights that drive product improvements and increase satisfaction. But you know firsthand — from slogging through a long email from your boss to reviewing health insurance details during open enrollment — that information overload is not a force for good.
Believe it or not, it is possible to sabotage your hard work by sharing too much feedback with your stakeholders — especially when that feedback doesn’t resonate with their current departmental priorities.
Some of the signs that your stakeholders aren’t absorbing and using your CV results the way you expect them to are:
- You’re finding it difficult to get buy-in.
- You’re not seeing much traction on issues or ideas your results brought up.
- Your stakeholders aren’t discussing their needs with you.
- Executives and department leaders don’t seem interested in your reports.
- No one’s talking about your program or ideas for future tests.
No news isn’t always good news. The continuous nature of product development and increasing technological diversity means ongoing customer testing is more vital than ever. The bad news is that if no one is following up on your results, they may not be absorbing the data you’re giving them — or seeing the value it provides to their own priorities in a practical way.
The good news is that there are some simple, concrete steps you can take to help them out.
1. Talk to your stakeholders
The most effective way to know what you’re stakeholders are looking for is to ask them. Depending on the structure of your organization, this might be easier said than done. When you’re scoping your next test, try to get 30 minutes to an hour with your key stakeholders. If it’s too difficult to get them all in the same room, hop on the phone or email them to ask about their priorities.
If you can’t get anything out of them, there’s always research. Even a general overview of roles or departments should give you some idea of what that particular stakeholder cares about and what they might respond to. For example, you know your engineering team will be looking for issues to fix, and ideas to implement. The UX team, on the other hand, will be more interested in your testers’ sentiments, reported behaviors, and attitudes about certain product areas.
2. Organize and prioritize your data
Don’t fall prey to information overload yourself. By organizing and prioritizing your incoming feedback, you’re better equipped to identify your most impactful results. Tools like the Centercode Platform track feedback popularity automatically. If you don’t have a Customer Validation tool, start by simply tallying how often an issue or idea came up among testers.
Training your testers to use individual channels for issues, ideas, and praise streamlines your feedback triage process, giving you more time to analyze the results.
3. Individualize reports for stakeholders using their priorities
With a firm understanding of what your stakeholders care about and a prioritized list of your most impactful issues, ideas, and praise, you can connect your stakeholders to product and customer insights that align directly with their concerns. Make it as easy for them as possible. Whether you’re automating your custom reports or grouping your findings into stakeholder-specific tabs in a spreadsheet, honing your stakeholders’ focus on what’s relevant to them makes its value more visible and tangible.
Take a look at how today’s industry leaders are earning buy-in from their stakeholders and their organizations at large in this on-demand webinar, 4 Unique Approaches to Rallying Stakeholder Buy-In for Your Beta Tests.