A company’s sales department is its front liner. They deal with customers and users on a daily basis, gets in touch with the marketing team and has a strong grasp on user challenges, market needs, and business competitors. Meanwhile, the product manager is tasked with the development of a product, from backlogs and UX to the overall supervision of the engineering team.
With these day-to-day dealings, the sales team discovers holes in the product or inconsistencies in features. You learn about upcoming trends and competitor strategies. It is important to keep product management updated with your findings so they can align the product development with current trends and user demands. However, the sales team leader and product manager often have a discordant relationship. How then, do you relay problems with the product and consumer information to the product manager without coming off as imposing and further damaging the already vulnerable relationship?
Regardless of title or position in the sales team, or how high up you are in the corporate ladder, it is important to arm yourself with these three things before facing the product manager and his or her team.
Know the Product Inside and Out
Always bear in mind that the product manager has memorized all the features of the product, and so should you. When you present a solution to product management, make sure that the feature you are asking for is not something that is already there.
Do research that can back up your data about the features that clients or users may want. Know your solution — you owe it to the whole team, the company, and the customers that you represent.
Have the Answers to All the W’s Ready
When presenting holes and problems in the product, make sure that you can answer all the questions — what, where, when, and most importantly, why. What impact can this particular feature bring to your clients? When is it needed or what is the particular time frame? Is this feature necessary for global clients or just the local users? Why is this specification important to users?
When the product management team understands the reasons behind a particular problem or feature request, it is easier for them to update the product and find technical solutions on how to achieve the revision necessary.
So, make sure to cover all the “W’s” and let the product management team worry about the ‘how”.
Back Your Findings with Data
You don’t need to attend product management training to know that product managers are often technical people. Have data or evidence to support your findings before presenting them to the product manager. Again, make sure you are familiar with it and you are well-read into the topic.
Despite the fragile relationship between sales and product management, it is important for the two teams to stay aligned.