It doesn’t matter if your product is a success, but if you don’t have good salespeople to sell your product, then you won’t be a product manager very long. You aren’t running the sales team, and in fact, you probably aren’t even part of it. However, the success of your product depends on how that department handles your product, so you need to start managing your salespeople.
Walking a cautious line
You may be thinking, “All right, now I can go in there and tell them how my product should be sold!” Let me tell you, don’t.
Salespeople are very different from product managers. This means that there’s always the chance of conflict between us. Our motivations differ (your product may not be the only product they have to sell). Our timelines differ (you think about the next version of your product while they think about the end of the current quarter).
Your sales team already has a boss. They don’t need another. You have an interest in your salespeople’s success selling your product. This means you will need to be creative.
These are the Three Keys to Increasing Sales and Selling More of Your Product
You will need to learn how to communicate with your sales team without trying to dictate their work.
Access to your company’s sales tracking software is the first step. You should have access to this application in every company. If you ask the right people, you should be able as a product manager to get it. Once you have access, you can track the sales of your product by salesperson, region, time period, and possibly even country.
You might be tempted, after looking at the sales figures for your product’s product, to run off to sales to show off your new knowledge and tell them what is wrong with selling your product.
Sales tracking applications only have partial data. This is something you need to understand. Sometimes the story they tell is incorrect. If there is a downward trend in sales of your product, it might be worth scheduling lunch with a salesperson to discover the truth (you only pay for lunch!).
Sales Metrics: How Important Are They?
Sales metrics are the next thing you need to manage your sales team. It is possible for sales teams to decide their product goals without your input. Many factors can affect things, including market conditions and weather patterns. Your product is unique. Only you can have the factors that impact it. These factors are unique, and you need to collaborate with them to determine the sales metrics for products.
Make sure you take the time to determine the metrics that will impact your product’s sales. Then, share these with your sales team. You must make sure they are aware of the metrics that will affect how they do their jobs.
Coaching with hands-on experience
How did your sales team learn about your product, and how did they communicate with you? You could have launched a vast product, handed out product brochures to your sales team, and told them to go sell it. You can only imagine the success you could achieve from this.
You will need to make sure that you have a coaching program in place for your sales team as part of your product manager’s responsibility. It is essential to set the tone for these coaching sessions. It is not your job to be part of the sales team, so it is essential to avoid sounding like you are trying to teach them “how to sell.”
Instead, you will need to be supportive and recognize the sales team’s challenges. You are not a sales coach but a source of market and product information.
What Does All This Mean For You?
You are the product manager and CEO of your product. You are responsible for ensuring that salespeople sell your product well as part of your role as CEO.
Even if you are not in the sales department, you must manage the sales team responsible for selling your product. This is where the trick lies: motivate your sales team to sell more products without being condescending.
Three keys can open the door to your message for sales: the company’s tracking system, sales metrics, and the coaching you offer. These keys will give you additional insight into your sales process and help you make your product more successful.