December 15

Working With Sales — Avoiding Conflict & Finding Shared Goals

Product Management and Sales: from conflict to harmony. Since product managers and account managers usually have different compensation plans, there can often be a natural conflict — that of thinking in the long term about the health of a product versus appeasing a single customer who is ready to pay big money for its delivery. Eric Krock tells us that, in order to tackle this problem, the CEO — who both parties report to — has to be explicit in how they want their workers to manage these situations. But both parties can also start supporting one another better, which ultimately will result in an increased understanding of shared goals and a better relationship in general.

PM 101: working with sales. It should come as no surprise that salespeople have one singular goal — to sell. As we’ve seen, this can cause conflicts. However, there is one question that a product manager can ask themselves to help craft the right pitch for your methods — “How will this help [the sales person] close more deals?”. Through this lens, the Clever PM explains, we can better understand the motivations in sales and more effectively communicate why you approach product development the way you do. “Work with sales, not against them”.

Sales v. Product Management: why can’t we all just get along. So how do we get along? Let’s start by being mutually respectful — the salesperson is the lifeblood of a company but couldn’t do anything without someone building sellable products. Then recognize where you can work together, such as in the communication with customers, sharing of competitive information and the defining of roadmaps, amongst other things described by Peter S. Buchanan.



Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


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