Customer design partner programs are a great way for you to get early feedback on your products from potential customers.
A Design Partner Program is an early access program with a prioritization feedback loop. That means you can rapidly implement features for customers who will test them and actively suggest new requirements that they think they would have as a (full) paying customer.
This is different from a Beta or Preview program because you must choose your design partners carefully. You are making a commitment to them, and in return they are committing their time and attention to you.
By starting a Design Partner Program, you can connect with customers who are interested in helping you to design and build your product. In exchange, your customers get early access and the opportunity to help prioritize the features that will be added to the product.
There are several reasons why you should start a Design Partner Program early on.
First, it provides you with valuable feedback on your products. This feedback can help you make necessary changes and improvements, which means you have a battle tested product and feature backlog when you roll out you more publicly.
Second, customer design partner programs help you build relationships with potential customers. These relationships can be beneficial in the long run, as customers may be more likely to do business with startups that they have worked with in the past.
Third, customer design partner programs can help you learn about you customers’ needs and wants. This information can be used to create products that are more in line with what customers want, which can help you stand out from the competition.
Finally, customer design partner programs are a great way to generate publicity. Participating in these programs give you the early customer testimonials and recommendations that will be critical to closing your first real sales.
In this series we will answer why, when and how to start a design partner program and I will share my templates that you can use to propose and close your design partner prospects.