Episode 37: Sales Love Product w/Heikki Pulli
8 December, 2020 / Host: PETRA FÄRM
The Importance of Product Management in Setting Up the Sales Team for Success
Sales and product management are two sides of the same coin, and Heikki Pulli, Head of Sales at OpusCapita, understands this better than anyone else. During his time as a product manager, Heikki was heavily involved in supporting sales and meeting customers, which gave him a unique perspective on the sales process. Heikki joined us on this episode to share his insights on how product management can set up the sales team for success.
In this article, we'll take a deep dive into Heikki's thoughts on the relationship between product management and sales, and how product managers can ensure that their products are aligned with the company's strategy. We'll also explore Heikki's experience working in organizations with and without a product management function, and how this affects the sales team.
The Importance of Alignment
For Heikki, the key to a successful sales team is alignment between the product and the company's strategy. If there is a clear market need and evidence that the product will sell, and the product is in line with the company's strategy, then the sales team will feel proud of what they are selling. This creates a positive atmosphere and gives the sales team a sense of optimism.
However, product managers often work with products that are not completely aligned with the company's strategy, which can make it challenging to get sales to show interest. In these cases, Heikki suggests engaging sales on less strategic projects. This way, the sales team can still feel like they are making a valuable contribution to the company, and it gives product managers an opportunity to showcase the value of their products.
The Challenges of Working in Organizations Without Product Management
Heikki has worked in both small and medium-sized software companies, some of which did not have a product management function. He notes that while sales in these organizations were forced to take ownership of the product, which could be a positive thing, it also led to a lot of customization and scaling challenges. Sales would require technical support from the professional services side, which essentially created a semi-product owner role.
Heikki coined the term "minibus sale" to describe the sales process in these types of organizations. It involved bringing a group of people with different expertise to the customer, each one responsible for a different aspect of the product. This approach is not efficient, does not scale well, and the competence stays only in the product management side.
The Benefits of Product Management
On the other hand, Heikki has also worked in organizations with a product management function. In these organizations, the product documentation, pricing, descriptions, and sales pitch were readily available for the sales team. However, this could sometimes lead to an inefficient way of selling since it would require several people to be involved in a single sale. Heikki emphasizes that it's crucial to strike a balance between having the necessary documentation and ensuring that the sales process is efficient.
Heikki's experience highlights the importance of having a product management function in organizations. Product management helps ensure that the product is in line with the company's strategy, and it provides the necessary documentation for the sales team to sell efficiently.
The Role of Product Management in Preparing the Sales Team
Product management has a crucial role in preparing the sales team for success. According to Heikki, product management should ensure that the necessary documentation, such as the sales pitch, pricing, and descriptions, are readily available for the sales team. The product management team should also work closely with the sales team to understand the customer's pain points and requirements.
In addition, product management should ensure that the product is in line with the company's strategy. This gives the sales team a sense of pride in what they are selling, which creates a positive atmosphere and optimism.
Heikki emphasizes that the product management team should also work closely with the sales team to help them understand the product's key features and how it solves customer problems. This helps sales team members become product experts and deliver better customer experiences.
- Alignment between the product and the company's strategy is crucial for a successful sales team.
- Having a product management function can help ensure that the product is in line with the company's strategy and provide the necessary documentation for the sales team to sell efficiently.
- Product management plays a crucial role in preparing the sales team for success, including providing necessary documentation and working closely with the sales team to understand the customer's pain points and requirements.
Speaking of the importance of product management in preparing the sales team for success, it's worth mentioning The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program. This program is designed to help experienced product managers develop the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles and drive the success of their products. With a curriculum based on real-world experiences and best practices, this program can help product managers ensure that their products are aligned with the company's strategy and the market's needs, setting their sales team up for success.
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