Episode 37
Guest: Heikki Pulli

Sales Love Product

Dec 8 / Petra Färm
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Sales Love Product
On today’s webinar we had the opportunity to talk product sales with the Head of Sales at OpusCapita – Heikki Pulli.

You have experience working as Sales in companies with and without product management. What would you say are the main differences?

Without product management Sales is more knowledgeable, which is a good thing.

However, in the end it will mean there are a lot of customized solutions, projects. Lacking documentation, scaling - not working properly either.

With product management you very easily end up in mini-bus way of selling - when sales is approaching a customer they fill a mini-bus with experts, product management, executives, you name it.

How to setup the Sales team for success?

Clear market need! Evidence that there are customers that will buy it.

It needs to have clear description, clear price list, need to be profitable for the company, need to be in line with the company strategy. The Sales people feel proud when they sell products that are in line with the strategy.

A product fulfilling all of those requirements create loads of positivism and optimise in the air. And it is in line with product management duties. this is the reason why there is product management.

What can product management expect from Sales?

Sales need to share market information, share what's happening with the customers, what is the feedback, what is the success rate. What works, what doesn't work? Sales is a communication function in the front line.

In many organizations, Sales is not so structured, they don't do follow-up with product management. Sales need to be led from the product side. They need to be involved in the product management follow-ups.

Value selling compared to product selling

Value selling is a great idea, when you can link your product to values at the customer side. In practice though I have seen that this can led to the wrong kind of assumptions, and actions. Sales becomes more general, and not so product oriented. Lately I've been thinking that the classified product sales should be glorified as well. It should be a basic requirement on Sales. That is the only way to get your company to the Value side. You need the foundation before you can start selling value to your customer. It requires a certain sort of personality where you can understand the customer's business and how the product can help.

How to get Sales to love products and how to please the Sales?

Of course, not just one direction, should be bi-directional. Sales should have their own responsibility. And they should have a certain level of competence. Product management need to keep training and informing Sales continuously, keep Sales up to date with new features and functions. There need to be a total visibility what is happen in the product. You need to know the limit and rights when you work in Sales.

In some sense this is actually one of the things I loved about the Sales, that they will find you, you don't need to hunt them.

Yes, for me this is very similar to the mini-bus Sales. That when sales are not secure enough in the job they are doing, they want to bring product management with them.

Different types of salespersons;

· The relationship builder

· The reactive problem solver

· The hard worker

· The lone wolf

· The challenger

Key thing to identify, what kind of persons do you have in the sales department. There are different types of products and different types of salespersons.

Roadmaps - product management don't dare to put things there cause then sales will sell it

The roadmap is the responsibility of the product management. Should not contain any bullshit. Nothing that is not coming or with too many dependencies.

Commitment from the Sales side as well. This feature is fulfilling the business case, there will be a market need towards this feature. The business case has to be there always.

Selling a migration journey

How are you communicating the migration? Is it just an end-of-life story, which is negative. We try to use a market change angle. For example, changes in legislation plus new value that we can bring to our customers. The story is important. Motivation for the customers. Many things need to be handled case-by-case. Motivation is going to be different so Sales need to step into the customer's shoes.