October 29

How Product Managers Can Work With Sales

The relationship between product management and sales is… complicated. On one hand, salespeople can be a source of endless feature requests and invitations to help out with “just one more demo.” On the other hand, they do have access to potential and existing customers and are witness to several trends that drive your market. While you may be tempted to keep sales at arm’s length, you’re better off working with sales to sell products and gain insights into your customers’ needs.

3 Ways product managers can help sales. To understand how product managers can help sales, Brian Lawley, CEO of 280 Group talked to Dave Dersch, an experienced salesperson with experience at several tech companies. The three ways product managers can help sales include: provide a compelling message and value proposition, helping drive effective lead generation, and maintaining open communication with the sales team.

(via @the280group)

Product managers and sales: The alliance that leads to a better product. If salespeople at your company fail to meet their quotas, they are likely to blame lost deals on missing features. Hearing your product broken down into missing features and lost deals is enough to make any product manager wary of working with sales. The thing is, sales has such good insight into the market, and they know very well what your product’s strengths and weaknesses are. Julia Chen explains why you need to collaborate with sales and how you can approach it in a way that creates better products.

(via @appcues)

What sales want from product managers. There is a natural tension between sales and product managers. Sales won’t sell an existing product without some feature that is nowhere near the roadmap. At the same time, salespeople can get product managers access to companies for customer site visits and other customer research. They can be a source of earlier indications of a new trend forming or an old trend changing. To understand how product management and sales can work better together, Chad McAllister spoke with Ian Moyse. In this podcast episode, the two discuss what sales want from product management and how the two functions can work well together.

(via @ChadMcAllister)

Sales enablement for launching a new product.  You often create new products in response to competitive pressures, gaps in the marketplace, or new technologies that enable greater innovation. Most businesses support the launch of new products with training, demo scripts, pricing, competitive positioning, marketing collateral, and more. That’s all good stuff, but it’s not enough. Tanner Mezel describes some good and bad sales enablement practices for launching a new product.

(via @JustAddDSG)

If your sales process looks like this, you’re blowing deals. As a product manager who is interested in aiding your organization’s sales process, you might find it helpful to know what a good sales process looks like. Buyers are more in the driver’s seat of the sales process than they ever have been so you have to make sure that your buyer’s experience at each touchpoint is seamless and pain-free. Amy Volas explains how to ensure your sales process truly is seamless.

(via @OpenViewVenture)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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