Working More Effectively With Sales

There is much written about the tension between Product Management and Sales. The tension exists because Sales are driven (and pushed) to reach aggressive targets and may sometimes close a sale at any cost. This is counter intuitive to Product Management.Product Management is driven by value and profitability who have difficulties justifying changes to the product to meet individual customer needs.

As a Product Management consultant who is required to ‘sell’ consulting services, I have an appreciation for sales people. Its a mighty difficult job!

Here’s a few tips to work more effectively with Sales:

  1. Share our knowledge of the customer and the market so that they too can appreciate our perspective and why we’ve chosen to offer some features over others.
  2. Educate Sales about the value of our products to the target market(s) as well as the cost and the margin of the product to minimize discounting.
  3. Take off our blinkers and overcome some of our personal pride for the product(s) we manage. Understand and communicate the competitive gaps or faults of our products to the Sales team.
    This arms the Sales team with information so that they can mitigate customer objections during their sales pitch.
  4. Understand the sales process and respond with some sense of urgency and a helpful attitude when Sales require support from us.
  5. Ask the Sales team for the wealth of customer dialogues they’ve had, customer trends they’ve seen and their thoughts about what resonates with customers. (Of course use with caution!)
  6. Align the Strategic Sales Plan with the Product Roadmap so that we are selling the right set of features to right customer.
  7. Treat Sales as an internal customer and understand their needs so that we can improve the buying process.
  8. Appreciate the difficulty of selling. It takes a lot of energy and confidence to keep going.

There is much more that can be written about this. Please feel free to add to the comments….