How Product Managers Can Collaborate With Sales

You’ve created a great product and now you want to sell it. Your sales organization can definitely help with that, but your relationship with sales has not always been the best. Here are some insights on how to improve the relationship between product and sales so that you can play a beneficial part in the sales process and get your product in your customer’s hands.

How sales and product teams can better work together. Friction in the sales and product partnership is nothing new. Sales teams often express frustration that they’re not more involved in the process of prioritizing what product or feature to work on next. Meanwhile, product teams are often skeptical of requests from sales, citing the fear of becoming a sales-led organization or succumbing to the loudest voice in the room. Conor Dragomanovich believes that with the right tools and mindset, you can find a more perfect union between sales and product – one that’s neither entirely product nor sales-led, but driven by the voice of the customer.

(via @productboard)

The importance of aligning your product and sales teams. The relationship between product and sales teams can vary widely from one organization to the next. In the best-case scenario, the product and sales teams collaborate closely, negotiating current needs with future strategy, and technical viability with ground-breaking ideation. In less ideal situations, the working relationship between product managers and salespeople can be fraught with tension and friction, as each role’s needs are seen as in direct opposition to the other’s. Daniel Ra rejects the notion that sales and product management should be in opposition. Instead, he thinks their partnership can lead to some amazing results and suggests these ways sales and product management can enable each other’s success.

(via @bignerdranch)

Driving sales calls as a product manager. Product managers win when their products are adopted. Therefore, half of the battle is building amazing products, and the other half of the battle is selling amazing products. This principle is especially relevant for B2B products. Clement Kao explains that effective product managers need to understand how to best work with their sales teams, which sometimes means product managers need to drive sales calls.

(via @prodmanagerhq)

Dear Sales, it’s me… your product manager.  “Sales and product management are on the same team, with a common goal: a product that succeeds in the market. But this all-important fact can get lost in the day-to-day tasks and obligations of both departments, and each team can lose sight of the fact that the other is there to help them succeed.” With that in mind, Kirsten Schierholt lets sales teams in on a few things product managers wish they knew. Then she talks with product managers and offers some suggestions on how to improve communication and teamwork with sales reps.

(via @productplan)

How product management can work effectively with sales.  You need sales to sell your product. Sales needs you to make a product they can sell. In order to create an organization that is dynamic and responsive to the market while still generating revenue, the relationship between sales and product management can—and should—be much deeper. Sara Aboulafia shares some tactics for improving your relationship with sales so that they will think you’re their ally and not some brainiac in an ivory tower.

(via @uservoice)

Kent McDonald
kentjmcdonald@gmail.com

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has IT and product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent currently practices his craft for a leading agriscience company and provides just in time resources for product owners and business analysts 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.