Why the Sales Guys are Worth More than Their $ales
If you’re a manager of a product building team, then become best friends with the sales team; the success of your product depends on them
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The life of a product manager is spent juggling ideating, designing, and executing the launch of a product. Key to keeping juggling process on track is customer adoption – that is how the market may respond and adopt the product. The success of a product is driven by a number of internal stakeholders from engineering, QA, UX, product marketing and the sales team. The role of a sales team in product management has largely been ignored. But contrary to what people think, the sales team of an organization plays an important role in the life of a successful product manager.
More often than not, we hear people complaining about the sales team’s understanding or them over/under estimating the potential of a product. Truth be told, it is essential for a product manager to build a strong partnership with the sales team and account management teams. Fluent communication between these teams is essential to building the right product. So let’s set the record straight – it’s much, much better to loop in the sales and client service teams in the early stages of building a product.
Partnering with the sales team
The product managers should try selling the product to a few customers themselves. This could be a great way of understanding the sales cycle of an organization. This gives them a better perspective of not only the motivations of the sales team but also of the customer’s expectations.
Spend some time understanding the sales cycle and identifying opportunities; it can help you build a strong ROI led product. Besides, this exercise will also give insight into which features are to be considered for greater adoption of the product, pricing and when to release the product to market.
Sales guys are the people from your company that deal with your customers. That’s why direct interaction with sales reps opens avenues into understanding what excites the customers about the product. This will help the product development team to validate the features of their product. Most importantly, it allows you to understand the pain points the product is trying to solve and whether it is a significant enough proposition.
Currently the onus of translating the product features into value lies with the sales team based on the primary feedback from the market, making them your best partner to qualify and validate the value proposition of the product.
Leverage the feedback the sales team gives and do so at the right time. The sales team is essentially a warehouse of competitive information, market dynamics and industry movements, but they may not record and publish this information. While the focus is largely on the deals, it is important for a product manager to partner with far sighted sales representatives to get the information at the right time about the deals that have been won and lost. A lost deal can be as valuable, if not more, as the ones you have won. On the flip side performing your due diligence and backing up the information with research is essential.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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