Careers at Vision Critical
Vision Critical’s mission is to provide continuous customer intelligence to power companies with the collective wisdom of the people that matter to them.
After Andrew Reid attended film school, he worked with various interactive firms. His experience made him realize that the research industry was not up-to-date when it came to technology. Therefore in 2000 he founded Vision Critical, a provider of a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that enables firms to build secure, engaged communities of customers.
The company’s main solutions included Insight Communities (online communities where firms could obtain feedback from customers and other stakeholders), IdeaHub (a co-creation tool that collected ideas for new product development and innovation from customers and other stakeholders), and Voice of Market (a provider of general population panels and public opinion polls).
The potential of Vision Critical’s offerings enabled it to raise significant money from investors. Its successes included raising $3 million from Wellington Capital in 2006, $20 million from OMERS Ventures in 2012, and $16 million from Georgian Partners in 2014. In 2011 it established its 500th Insight Community, and by 2012 it had $80 million in annual revenues and over 650 clients.
Benefits at Vision Critical
Business model of Vision Critical
Vision Critical has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer groups. The company targets its offerings at firms of all industries and sizes.
Vision Critical offers three primary value propositions: convenience, performance, and brand/status.
The company offers convenience by making life simpler for customers. Its solution provides ongoing, real-time customer intelligence and feedback, up-to-the-minute competitive profiles, and a single view of individual customers across the business. It also operates a maintenance schedule through which it makes improvements on its products every two weeks.
The company demonstrates strong performance through tangible results. Specific positive outcomes for its clients include the following:
- Cathay Pacific Airways used Vision Critical’s solution to launch an Insight Community with 5,000 members in just two weeks, a number that doubled within two years with an 87% retention rate
- Alliant Energy used Vision Critical’s solution to change its pricing and marketing strategy, resulting in an increase in customer satisfaction by 15 points and in Net Promoter Score by 88%
- Westfield used Vision Critical’s solution to start an Insight Community with over 1,000 employees, resulting in feedback that led to an 87% employee engagement rate
- Wolverine Worldwide used Vision Critical’s solution to launch an Insight Community with 20,000 customers, resulting in the successful testing and screening of over 1,000 new footwear styles
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It has several prominent clients, including Kimberly-Clark, ESPN, Yahoo, Intuit, Kaiser Permanente, and Barnes and Noble. It has also won may honors, including the following:
- The Best Companies “One to Watch” award
- Ranking on Canada’s Branham300 list
- Recognition as one of British Columbia’s Top Employers by Canada’s Top 100 Employers
- Recognition as one of the “Fastest-Growing Companies in B.C.” by Business in Vancouver
- A Silver Award in the CASE Circle of Excellence Competition
Vision Critical’s main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offerings through its website, social media pages, and participation in industry events such as summits and conferences.
Vision Critical’s customer relationship is primarily of personal assistance nature. The company assists customers in the following ways:
- Support Services – The company provides phone, e-mail, and live chat support on a 24x5 basis.
- Professional Services – The company assists clients with planning and setup for their Insight Communities, helps them create an authentic member experience so their communities are a reliable source of customer intelligence, and provide research customized to clients’ industries.
Despite this orientation, there is a self-service component. The company operates Vision Critical Academy, a collaborative learning environment on its website through which clients can learn about its products through guides and videos. Its website also features a “Resources” section that includes useful tools such as white papers, reports, eBooks, infographics, quizzes, webinars, and videos.
Vision Critical’s business model entails maintaining and updating its platform for customers.
Vision Critical maintains the following types of partnerships:
- Referral Partners – The company works with firms that promote its offerings to new customers and refers them, earning a referral fee if it results in a sale
- Services Partners – The company works with firms that implement its solutions for its clients and provide related services
- Value-Added Resellers – The company works with firms that sell its offerings to new customers and receive a preferred reseller discount to earn margin on transactions
- Technology Partners – The company works with firms that connect to its customer intelligence platform or integrate its solutions into their platforms, with the end goal of creating enhanced solutions that can be considered for co-selling and co-marketing
Partners receive benefits such as training, marketing support, and margin sharing.
Vision Critical’s main resource is its proprietary software platform.
It depends on human resources in the form of engineers that maintain and update the platform, sales employees that sell it, consultants that provide advisory services, and customer service personnel that provide support.
Lastly, as a startup it has relied on funding, raising $41.4 million from seven investors as of July 2014.
Vision Critical has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service. Its biggest cost driver is likely cost of services, a variable expense.
Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and customer support/operations, both fixed costs.
Vision Critical has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the sale of subscriptions to its platform to customers.
info: Scott previously spent 12 years at Synovate, where he served as Head of Global Client Relationships, Head of the Research Reinvented Initiative, CEO of its Global Motoresearch practice, and CEO of Synovate North America.
info: Donna earned a Master’s degree in Business at the University of Toronto. She previously held leadership positions at several technology firms, with roles including CFO of Varicent and CEO and CFO of Nexient Learning.
info: Tyler previously served as Senior Vice President of Vision Critical, as Director of The Active Network, as Founder and VP of Sales/Marketing at IronPoint Technology, and as VP of Business Development & Partnerships at NTS Internet Solutions.
info: Divesh earned a degree in Finance from Simon Fraser University. He previously served as CEO and Chairman of coincidenceLabs and held executive positions at Taleo Corporation, Pivotal Corporation, and ScribbleLive.
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