Customer Teams

The Insight That Led Pendo to Acquire Receptive

Published May 7, 2019
Receptive solves a problem that I’ve personally experienced for many years running product organizations. Once you ship a product, you start getting feedback from users on what they want you to build next.

I had a big a-ha moment last summer when I was visiting a large customer.

As I highlighted the value of combining qualitative data like NPS results with quantitative data like product usage analytics—the part of the presentation that, to me, exemplifies what’s unique about Pendo and what drives the most value for customers—the customer asked a pointed question: “Could you also show what the customer is requesting?”

While the answer was, at the time, no, it sparked the idea to bring this additional data into Pendo. If we could help our customers understand what their users want, alongside what they do, we could provide a 360-degree view of the customer for product and customer success teams. This is something they’ve never had before.

I’m excited to share that we’re adding that data into Pendo. Today, we announced the acquisition of Receptive, a UK startup with the leading product demand intelligence platform. Receptive aligns perfectly with our mission to help improve society’s experiences with software.

Answering the critical question: What should we build next?

Receptive solves a problem that I’ve personally experienced for many years running product organizations. Once you ship a product, you start getting feedback from users on what they want you to build next. When you’re a small company and small product org, you typically keep spreadsheets of feature requests and feedback. But this becomes unruly to maintain once you approach 100 people in your go-to-market organization (all touching customers) and 10 people in your product organization.

All this feedback becomes like a wave crashing down.

And that’s just the feedback that actually makes it to you. There’s often lost signal as feature requests and feedback are shared with various customer-facing organizations, including customer success and support. They need a consistent way to capture this feedback and funnel it back to product teams.

Aligning company and customers on product directions

It’s even harder to facilitate the communication between all these stakeholders. Who do you notify when you schedule or begin working on a new feature? Wouldn’t it be great to tell the customer success manager or even better the customer? What if the sales team was blocked on closing a deal until something ships? Wouldn’t it be powerful to automatically notify the salesperson to reach back out to the customer? This level of insight is crucial to driving sales effectiveness and products that deliver customer delight.

While the use cases for Receptive are compelling alone, the excitement for me is found in the integration with the Pendo platform. Simply choosing the top-voted feature may not produce the ideal business strategy. It’s valuable to contextualize the data. Are the requests coming from heavy users or light users? What do my champions/promoters want? What about my detractors? Product management is a synthesis exercise. You take lots of data and distill it into a backlog of priorities. The more diverse the data, the better the result.

The people part

But that’s just product. At heart, this acquisition is about people. When I first met Hannah and Dan, the co-founders of Receptive, I was attracted to their entrepreneurialism and chemistry. They get it. I saw an opportunity not just to add a great product to our platform, but to inject new entrepreneurial DNA into Pendo’s culture. We were also impressed with the broader team and our ability to grow an engineering presence in Sheffield, UK. Bolstering our presence here will help support our new European sales team based in London.

To scale our culture, we have to continuously diversify our team and bring fresh ideas into the business. I’m looking forward to the impact Hannah, Dan, and the rest of the Receptive team will make across Pendo.

The thesis behind this acquisition is the breakthrough insight found at the intersection of qualitative and quantitative data. But the real breakthrough, for me, is found at the intersection of two companies with a shared passion to make software better for those who depend on it.

To me, that’s everything.