4: Don’t focus on what’s stopping you

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

Product managers can be creatures of habit.  Some habits are good and give us a consistent and diligent approach.   Sometimes, though, we allow ourselves to be constrained by habitual thinking, inhibiting true innovation.

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How to get your sales team selling value instead of discounting

Does your sales team sell your products (like, in exchange for money), or does it give them away as generous sweeteners to guarantee the sale of something else that will hit their targets?  Or to put it in another way, does your sales force truly understand the value of your products and can it articulate the benefits to the customer?

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Why aren’t Sales selling my new product?

There are many reasons why Sales may be holding back on your new product.  As we all know, Salespeople are by nature shy, retiring types, who need constant reassurance.  You need to encourage and nurture them, delicate little flowers that they are.  Or at the very least, restrain the urge to run screaming at them with a baseball bat held aloft.

Here are some of the blatant excuses reasons I’ve found so far:

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“Why the heck should I upgrade?” – 4 things you’re probably missing

You expend a lot of effort getting people to buy your product and they’re happy with it.

Time passes.

You then go back to your satisfied customers and tell them what they have is now mediocre, so they have to move onto your latest and greatest product version.  You see this everywhere, from washing powders to family cars, so it must work for enterprise software, right?  So why are your no-longer-happy customers now chasing you with pitchforks and burning torches?

The Simpsons Angry Mob Fun Run

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Questions you need to be asking

There are many questions that a product manager needs to ask to determine the best course of action or to analyse underlying motivations.  Of them, I use the following three questions most often:

  1. So what?
  2. Why?
  3. What’s stopping us?

So what?

Use this repeatedly to uncover the true benefit of something rather than simply features of the proposition.  For example:

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