Imagine a classical Mexican standoff between the Sales and Product manager where both are relentless about their strategy. Yes, this is a very common scenario in any company but a peaceful outcome, maybe, is quite uncommon. Having said this, setting a constructive dialogue between the two sides can be a game changer for the company. Some simple steps can help resolve:
Understand each other’s role
Both Sales and Product teams are focused towards their individual role/goals but the friction comes when the Sales Manager demands something which is equally compelling as Product Manager’s long term product vision. Sales people are well engaged with many customers and have real time feedback which helps them gather important insights about the product. The Product team on the other hand has a better visibility of stability, scalability and robustness that can make or break the product. Since both functions are of equal importance they should try to achieve goals by understanding each other’s perspective, keeping in view company’s short & long term objectives.
Being a Sales Manager you have access to direct insights from the customers whereas the Product Manager is dependent on such valuable insights to carry out improvements in the product. Product manager should be invited to participate in occasional customer calls where they will get a direct knowledge about customer’s pain point. On other hand, Sales manager can be apprised of the trending and best practices on product development.
Define your commitment to customers
Product Manager and Sales Manager have to mutually decide upon the things they can say to the customers and the things they can’t. If both the functions are on different page and are portraying different versions of their product then it will show company’s image in a bad light. This will not only allow the competition to take advantage of the situation but will also divert customer’s attention towards competition.
Study the competition mutually
This could be the one thing which unites both Sales and Product sides together and that is to strategize against the competition. Sales team is usually very active in collecting information and is good at using them to their advantage. The Product team can somehow incentivize the collection of important information for the sales team and thus Product team can use it to complement in evolving the roadmap of the product.
Any Product manager’s success is defined by how successfully the product was launched and was received by the customer. Meanwhile, the Sales manager is evaluated on his quarterly and annual performance.
While a Sales and Product team can have their healthy dose of differences but in the long run, having a Product Engineering team with a considerable experience plays a vital role. They posses the understanding of the legacy behind product development and a keen eye to spot the trending features in the market.
Ace’s Product Engineering team always participates in such important decisions for their clients for the product success.