The sales team: one of the topics about which product managers seem to vent most. The relationship between product management and the sales team can work well, but more often than not it’s a source of frustration for both sides. And if your company is in the business of selling products, it’s in your best interests to fix this problem. Here are three ways companies can build a better sales team.
If you’ve ever attempted to use a business bank account, you’ll probably already know that their customer service is Byzantine and could be more accurately called customer disservice. You’ll probably already know that their online banking services look like they were built by a committee of people who have never used the internet.
You’ll certainly know that if you make a slight cashflow slip, you’ll pay through the nose in fines, yet if the bank makes a ‘slip’ – or in this case, knackers their online business banking for the first two working days of 2016 – you won’t even get an apology to begin with:
@HSBC_UK_Help still unable to access business account. That's one working day now. Hoping for an apology. Not good enough.
— Karen Castle (@Castleishome) January 4, 2016
This is the story of why I’m going to be disappointed with 99% of all airlines for the foreseeable future.
I’m writing about 100 things I’ve learned as a product manager.
Like doing the washing-up, vacuuming under the sofa or cleaning your windows, housekeeping tasks with your product can get neglected because they’re tedious, not as interesting as new features and so on. However, if you’ve ever found yourself eating breakfast cereal out of an oven tray with a serving spoon because every single item of cutlery and crockery is festering in a pile in your sink, it should be apparent there is inherent value in tackling housekeeping tasks bit by bit over time.
Quarter-inch drills or quarter-inch holes?
Despite relying on each other for the success of their products, the Sales and Product teams often have a jarring relationship. This is far from ideal. By looking at where things go wrong we can identify a better way of working with each other. The prizes on offer: shorter sales cycles, more easily achieved targets and customers who are always happy to hear from you.
By failing to grasp the demographics of their customer base, Demon Internet appears to have scored a convincing customer service own-goal with their email upgrade.
I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.
People value something most when they’ve just lost it or come close to doing so. If your product prevents this happening, you need to save your client this ball-ache by helping them remember how much they value what they have now so that they don’t take it for granted.
How much would you invest to prevent a mass customer exodus? Everything Everywhere, the merged T-Mobile / Orange behemoth, was happy to spend £150 per customer to shore up its customer base following the post-merger restructuring.
What did it gain? A reduction in monthly churn from 1.7% to 1.3%, significant given their customers number well into the millions, plus an additional 300,000 customers locked into long-term contracts in place of short-term pre-pay contracts.
I once worked with a chap who managed an online service, which charged by amount of data stored. The service was popular and growing its revenues, however the P&L model assumed that data was stored compressed, when in fact the reverse was true. Thus, the more popular the service became, the more it lost money on running costs…
A few months ago, I co-presented a short speaking slot at this year’s Satmetrix Net Promoter European Conference. I’ve reproduced an excerpt from their official blog of the event for posterity.
You can see the full article in its original form at Satmetrix’s European Conference Blog 2010.