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Building for Customer Value: Why and How Demandbase Uses Alpha/Beta Releases

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November 3, 2022

3 mins read

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Building for Customer Value: Why and How Demandbase Uses Alpha/Beta Releases

Demandbase’s approach to product development starts and ends with delivering customer value. As an R&D organization, we wake up every day thinking about how we can improve the lives of our customers and help them achieve their business goals. So when we examine our processes for building products, we use the lens of customer value to determine the best approach. We believe that constant iteration drives improvement so we have a bias for shipping products early and often so that we can get feedback from real usage and iterate quickly alongside our customers. Here’s a peek at how we do alpha and beta releases at Demandbase. 

Our Approach to Alpha Releases

The beginning of every alpha starts with using Demandbase using Demandbase. We are deeply committed to being customer zero for everything that we build. This ensures that we identify issues early and builds out empathy for our customers. We then expand our alpha by inviting companies who represent a broad cross-section of our customers, from large enterprises to emerging growth companies, who collectively encompass the use cases of the product or feature. We use this alpha to identify and rectify less-than-ideal user experiences, insufficient functionality, and technical limitations.    

This allows our customers to be design partners who have direct influence in everything that we build and ensures that we stay aligned to creating customer value. We strive to be transparent in our product plans and requirements and how things work so that our customers never have to suffer from a lack of visibility.   

Moving to Beta

When we’ve validated with our customers that an alpha release exceeds our expectation for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and doesn’t have any critical issues, we graduate it to a beta release. We think about beta as production-ready software that we still want to iterate on alongside our customers. There may still be non-critical bugs, but generally speaking we think of beta as delivering meaningful value for our customers. Within our beta framework, we sometimes choose to make a beta closed (only available to a limited number of customers) because we want to iterate and take feedback in a more controlled manner.  Ultimately, every beta has an open phase where we are focused on getting as many customers as possible to use the product/feature. This is meant to widen our feedback aperture to the broadest possible extent with a continued focus on iterating.  

As Chief Product Officer,  I’m  inspired by how Google kept Gmail in beta for five years despite having 15 millions users! As an R&D organization, we are fully subscribed to this philosophy of continual improvement and we embrace it with open arms at Demandbase. So a product being in ‘beta’ doesn’t mean it isn’t great. In fact, it’s the contrary – it must be great to enter that phase at all. Instead, being in beta means that we still see so much possible iteration to come.  

What This Means to You

Product management at Demandbase always starts with customer understanding and customer empathy. The best way for us to foster this is by working together with our customers from the earliest phases of product conceptualization and development. 

As a Demandbase customer, we hope this is music to your ears. It means you’re part of a true partnership with us, where making you successful is  our chief concern. It also means that we’ll continue innovating as quickly and robustly as possible because we’re working in concert with you from the earliest stages. 

To our customers, I invite you to reach out to your account team and get involved with our current and future alphas and betas. We relish your feedback and love working with you to solve the most impactful problems in B2B go-to-market. 

Not a customer yet, but interested in seeing what Demandbase is all about? Sign up for an on-demand demo here.  

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Brewster Stanislaw

Chief Product Officer, Demandbase

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