Wikipedia defines a Product Manager’s role as, “investigates, selects and drives the development of products for an organization, performing the activities of product management.” These activities include researching intended demographic, the products offered by the competition and how they fits with the company’s business model.
Product managers are the bridges between the company’s line items, developers and sales and marketing.
The job is both becoming more simple and more arduous at the same time. The advent of Internet and sources of research and communication at one’s fingertips have made the collection of data almost seamless compared to days of yore (a.k.a. 20 years ago). The same efficiencies have made the market that much more fast-moving and prone to shifts.
Elsewhere, the buying process has changed drastically. Buyers come to the table much better informed, less dependent on sales and marketing. The old spectrum and funnel definitions and directions do not apply. In such an environment it behoves any company to use the job function closest to the market and its customers. Who are these mystery people? Why the sales team of course.
This is why it is such a surprise that in an informal survey of my contacts in sales and sales management the grand total number of companies in which there existed a formal process of communication between sales and product management was…. One.
The market is more competitive, products are commoditized, customer demands and appetites are changing and changing more rapidly and alignment is minimal or one-way at best.
Should product management at all companies not have a formal, standardized and consistent standard for using the sales team as the company’s canaries in the mine so to speak?
Sales need product management’s assistance and input. Product management needs input from the individuals who are on the front lines and most exposed to customers.
Does your company have a formal sales-to-product management process?
*Things That Need To Go Away: Product Managers Who Have No Time For Sales