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Product Marketing and the Sales Process

by Trish Bertuzzi on Thu, May 01, 2008

What follows are some helpful tips on how to, or how not to, use a Product Marketing/Management executive as part of the sales process.  This is a guest post written by someone who recently read Tales from A Gatekeeper.  I found it informative and funny and wanted to share! - Trish Bertuzzi

I am a Product Manager. I recently ran across the Sales Tips: Tales from a Gatekeeper post on this blog and thought I would address the Inside Sales Experts Blog community of Sales Executives & Sales Managers.

What follows are based on my experiences and impressions as a Product Manager for software sales companies. Comments are welcome! I would also love to hear what we Product Managers can improve upon.

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  • DO NOT use me as the next step in the sales process. 
    Does the sales process really run: get lead -> call lead -> confirm pulse -> throw Product Manager against wall -> see if it sticks?

  • DO NOT introduce me on a call and drop this classic lazy sales guys line:
    "Great Bob, thanks for taking the time. Chris has some questions he would like to ask you." I do, but they center more around why I waste my time on calls with you - "Mr. 60% of quota"!

  • DO have some perspective. 
    I understand that your perception about your most recent deal (win or loss) is your reality. But I have a Product to manage. The fact that Prospect A did not buy from you last week, does not drive my roadmap. You losing a single deal to a competitor I have never heard of does not make a fully researched and polished competitive analysis my new #1 priority. I appreciate that you are in the fray every day, but my job is to take a step back and think strategically.

  • DO share your experiences with me. 
    I need Sales to share G2 with me (customer feedback, objections, competitive tidbits, price sensitivity, feedback on product benefits) to be successful.  If you lose to a competitor we have identified in our space, let me know. If you gain traction in a certain vertical, share that with me. I want the product and you as a sales person to be successful. I want to be listening to the market as much as possible. Be another set of eyes and ears on the street for me and I will back you up. At quarter end, I will be there for you and your prospects.

  • DO NOT over commit. 
    Remember that training where you were "sure" you heard that new killer feature was generally available TODAY? Really?!?! I was there. In fact I was the one giving it. Nice try though. 
    Also, you cannot trot me out in front of your key account and expect me to back up your promises, over-commitments and straight-up BS. I want to win as well, but there is this guy - he is a my VP and he frowns upon bamboozling an account into buying from us.

And finally....

  • DO try to understand what I do here. 
    Think of me as the GM for the Product. I don't make the product, but I care about why, how and when it is made. I don't sell the product, but I want to make sure the value, positioning, messaging and pricing are spot on. I don't support the product, but I demand that it delivers and that our customers love us.

Thank you for listening.  Happy Selling.

Topics: inside sales management, sales process, inside sales tips

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