Capability Four – Building Product Management Excellence
Communicate openly, often & successfully
Great product managers are typically very effective at getting their product message out across the organization and through to customers. They know that there’s huge value in this.
Put simply, it limits the risk of miss-selling – In truth, if the product manager doesn’t get the product message out to the sales team there’s a huge risk that individual sales teams, with the best of intentions, will position the product in a variety of ways that will lead to expectations being miss-set with customers.
Supporting a team to improve communication skills starts with the value proposition (vp) – can your team, in one paragraph, describe what their product does, which markets it is targeted at, and why that market would have an interest in the product. The capability to do this is fundamental to product communication. In outstanding teams, value proposition testing is a weekly activity “tell me the VP for market X”
Supplementing the value proposition is the elevator pitch (a VP in verbal form “tell me about your product in 30 seconds or less”), the five minute overview ( longer version that picks out the three key benefits), the vision pitch (“Where will your product be in five years’ time and why?”).
Initially, product management leaders should focus on those artefacts being in place, up-to date and credible. Typically, that means including them on the product managers metrics and testing them on a regular basis at team meetings.
Longer term, leaders need to measure the success of communication – find out if the sales team are getting the message by asking them to replay the value proposition for a product. Once the artefacts are in place, encourage the team to use a multi-channel approach – all material being made available on video, audio and well as PowerPoint