Get a Clear Picture of Where You Stand in the Marketplace
In recent posts I’ve delved into how various resources can help a product manager master the challenge ahead. In today’s post, we’ll look at the value of Company Collateral and Marketing Materials and Win/Loss Analysis Data.
Product Managers Should Get Into the Literature
What kind of information is your marketing team putting out for public consumption? What does it say about who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer? Ask marketing for a full set of the company’s brochures, press releases, papers, case studies, and event promotions. And, don’t overlook your social media presence. Do all these marketplace touches support the story your sales reps are communicating? If not, you need to immediately begin aligning these messages so you tell a consistent story.
Digging Into the Win/Loss Analysis Data
At the end of the sales process, many organizations analyze their victories and defeats. The purpose of this is to adjust course and improve on the next campaign. The results of these analyzes are a goldmine for product managers.
An employee not directly engaged in the sales process should conduct the data analysis. Frequently successful firms call upon a third party outside the organization to conduct the analysis. No matter who conducts it, it is vital that the focus not be a witch hunt to establish fault. Rather the analysis should focus on improving operational effectiveness.
Reflecting on this data, a product manager can gain an understanding of how new customers or prospects perceive your products.
The Right Win/Loss Questions Give Product Managers Great Insights
You can improve the value of win/loss analysis by asking the right questions. Although the exact wording can change, questions like the following bring valuable information to the surface:
- What companies did you consider in your selection process?
- How did our company stack up to the others?
- What did you consider our strengths and weaknesses?
- What were the main strengths and weaknesses of our competitors?
- Can you walk me through your decision making process?
- What were the factors that led to our victory or loss?
- Who was involved in the decision-making process and what were the main selection criteria?
- What could we have done differently to be better? (Ask this whether you won or lost.)
- End with an open-ended question that lets the person being interviewed share final thoughts.
Talk to the person conducting the analysis to get copies of every campaign analysis going forward. Armed with this information, you will have a clear idea of how your product is perceived by prospects and new customers.
Watch for my next post.