Gain Top Client’s and Prospects’ Perspective
In previous posts you’ve brainstormed your product vision with company thought leaders and made adjustments. Now it’s time to engage a few key players outside your organization.
That process is the focus of this post.
Identify Your Customer Thought Leaders
Every field has a few individuals who are on the cutting edge of industry developments. Your next step in fine-tuning your product vision is to gather these leaders’ ideas. Pull out the customer list you collected earlier in this process. Also check with the sales team and ask who they believe are the industry thought leaders among their customers.
Set Up Meetings With Thought Leaders
Contact the thought leaders and set up individual meetings to go over your ideas. These should be face-to-face meetings whenever possible, and should include lunch when they can. You’ll also want to do the same thing with a smaller number of prospects who are thought leaders.
What a Product Manager Should Cover in These Meetings
During these small meetings, share your objective and ask the attendees where they think the market is headed. Also ask them what they consider their three greatest business challenges and how they are dealing with them. Make sure to take notes you can return to later.
Let the client know that you are attempting to finalize your thoughts on your product’s future direction. Let them know who in your organization pointed you in their direction and the high regard in which your company holds them.
Share the Product Strategy Diagram
Before you show them your product vision diagram, let them know that you want them to challenge your thinking and logic. Once you’ve revealed the plan, reflect on the customer’s reaction.
Did the diagram address their top business concerns? Were they engaged with your vision? Did they ask you how they could get involved? Or, did the vision seem to fall flat with the customer? After a few of these meetings, you’ll begin to have a read on how people are reacting to your plans and the support they will lend.
Back in your office when the meetings are complete, do a gut check. Has your confidence in your plan grown or do you need to make adjustments? In most cases, your rigorous efforts gathering information and developing the plan will allow you to move quickly forward. If so, you will now be ready to start building the business case to justify future investments.
My next post will help you take the next step of flushing out each individual bullet point in your vision, a critical step.