Solving the prioritization puzzle – a case study with Hudl

How Hudl reduced feature bloat by focusing on the progress of its most profitable customers, resulting in 5x growth.

About Hudl

Hudl is a pioneer in performance analysis technology. They help more than 200,000 teams in 40+ global sports prepare for and stay ahead of the competition. 

Every product, feature and tool is designed with one purpose in mind: to ensure coaches and athletes make every moment count.

The challenge

Hudl’s platform, initially focused on supporting football, would help players and coaches to learn from games, save time and ultimately “win”. 

After some success within this market, the company moved into servicing new sports. Each sport was seen as a different market for the company to pursue. 

But as they grew, so did the level of complexity in helping support its customer base. Inefficiencies occurred in the sales process, and features were never used by paying customers. 

Feature sprawl was a big challenge as was the need to find a process and structure the team could use to think about and prioritize features in a systematic way.

Project information

Industry: Sports Performance Software
Company Size: 2000+ employees
Use Case: Develop Product Capability
Website: Hudl

We were working on a bunch of features, but then I asked myself how do we tie all this together?

Kyle Murphy, Hudl

Our approach.

Hudl realized there was a missed opportunity at stake: to help customers quickly experience the full value of its platform. Their previous approach to customer research was focused on gathering micro-anecdotes about different aspects of the product. This, however, lacked the ability to help them see the bigger picture and dig into the reason why customers were doing what they were doing.

We had a good microscope but no 10,000 foot view type research going on.

They partnered with The Re-Wired Group to help understand the ‘why’ behind their customer actions. By doing so, they were able to increase the success of product launches in new markets by developing features that mattered. 

Bob Moesta, Greg Engle, and the team ran interviews across multiple types of programs, focusing on core audiences in local communities, high schools and colleges. From this research, a number of patterns emerged, with an emphasis on saving time for coaches and players. 

Four new jobs were identified. The first two, which focused on supporting new coaches and establishing experienced coaches within their roles, were ‘jobs’ already being doubled down on. The third job was centered around parent volunteers. 

Then a fourth job emerged: Athletic Directors and the progress they needed to make was a completely new opportunity for Hudl. 

This last job illuminated an additional opportunity to accelerate the company’s growth. Whereas Hudl had been primarily sold to coaches in the past, the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) work helped identify this new customer. And whilst Hudl continued to sell to coaches, this process of reframing who their customer was meant they were able to serve an additional segment with a related but different set of needs from coaches.  

The approach employed by The Re-Wired Group focused on demand-side selling.

Demand-side selling is understanding what progress people want to make, and what they are willing to pay to make that progress. Hudl’s products were merely part of their solution. The Re-Wired Group showed them it was really about creating pull for your product by focusing on helping the customer.

Demand-side selling starts with the struggling moment. It’s the theory that people buy when they have a struggling moment and think, “maybe, I can do better.”

Jobs helped us to decide how to prioritize. Product managers were able to understand whether something matters to the customer versus something that doesn’t. It becomes less of a huge prioritization puzzle

Kyle Murphy, VP Design

The results

Average contract values with colleges and schools increased by 5x

New product development orientated around struggling moments, reducing feature sprawl

New positioning developed, from “helping coaches” to “powering sports”

After applying JTBD, Hudl grew almost 5x by focusing on the demand-side

The impact.

I remember thinking as we began to see interview results and see some of the patterns,  I was like… woah, you can actually build whole businesses and whole new products around this research

Kyle Murphy, VP Design

By focusing on the job of supporting Athletics Directors, Hudl’s teams were given a focus – a struggling moment. This unlocked new positioning which had an tremendous impact on their growth. This then accelerated Hudl’s path to capturing maximum wallet share while identifying new revenue streams from existing customers. 

New product development was orientated around the struggling moments for Athletic Directors.
– Each sport required different requirements, different camera angles and high quality footage. With this renewed focus around the progress customers wanted to make, product teams came together to develop and build new cameras to help customers live stream and create better video. Good bye, feature sprawl. 

New positioning was developed around the Athletic Directors’ struggling moment.
– It also opened up a new set of opportunities around engaging parents and fans, which saved time on the operational side of running sports programs. This involved centering marketing and sales teams around demand, unifying the teams and providing clear strategy and direction, not to mention new ways to package its products. 

The sales process was streamlined.
– Before, high schools would have multiple points of contact within Hudl depending on the sport. Now, customers are supported by one sales person who looks after the region, who’ll enlist the support from sports specialists when needed. 

Every change Hudl made was centered towards flipping the lens. This involved looking at the progress the customer wanted to make, not internal features and resources and capability. 

Today, 200,000 teams globally use Hudl’s software to build their programs and be as good as they can be.

This new lens has changed our perspective on expansion opportunities as well – focused on new ways to serve the athletic department/director.

It also helped us to decrease churn: retention hit and continues to be in the high 90s as a result of this strategy

Courtney Rodgers, Hudl

Next steps.

Stop building products for the sake of it. Learn how to reduce feature bloat and focus on the progress your profitable customers want to make.