Getting familiar with all the company resources that are available to you is so important. Doing so can quickly give you background you need to begin making a bigger difference in your company’s success. In my last post I discussed the value to be gained by delving into market research. This week we are going to explore the value to be found hidden in your customer list.
How a Product Manager Can Benefit from the Customer List
Nothing will give you a better overview of exactly who your company is selling to than a study of the customer list. It can speak volumes about your company and your product. Looking at it overall, you can get a sense of whether your company is primarily selling to major accounts or meeting the needs of lot of standalone organizations. You’ll also find out whether you are selling primarily to executives or to end users. A little digging will reveal whether your products are being sold in conjunction with other products or services to create a robust solution to a challenge facing customers. The more you can find out about who you are selling to and why they are buying, the better your understanding will be.
Get Help from Finance for Even More Value
To really ramp up your knowledge of your customers and products, ask the Finance department for a descending dollar volume list of your active customers. Even more useful is a list that includes customers who have become inactive and ceased to use your product.
As you look at the portion of the list that is active customers, look for patterns that reveal such information. What do the the top 20% of customers have in common? Find out if there are resellers of your product on the list or is it primarily made up of end users. Armed with the information you’ve gathered meet with sales, professional services and customer services teams to gain their perspective.
Product Managers Should Also Take a Look at the Inactive Customer List
What characteristics do clients who have become inactive share? Is there a pattern in the reasons they became inactive or does it appear random? Taking time to chat with some of these inactive customers will give you greater insight into your product. It will also point to what you need to do to improve future iterations.
The customer list considered in conjunction with information you’ve gained from the sales team can help you identify thought-leading customers. Thought leaders can share valuable insights that will help improve your product. When you are ready to start calling on customers, the customer list report can also help you spend your time advantageously.
In the next post, we’ll review the value a product manager can gain through a review of customer presentations. With study of each resource recommended, you will become a more able and valuable product manager.