Product Management Tips & Essential Product Manager Tools, Where to Begin in Product Management

December 17, 2009

So you're in a new role as product manager. Where do you begin? The Pragmatic Marketing Framework is excellent but don't try to do it all at once. I would start with the following:

1. Start with the positioning statement. Write a draft. Once you're finished, circulate it among your management. I bet you will find not everyone agrees. If you can get an agreed upon positioning statement it will help everyone understand who the target customer is and why.

2. Take control of the requirements. Somewhere in your company someone (Sales, Development, Support, etc.) is explicitly or implicitly writing requirements. You will want to stem the tide as soon as possible. Hopefully, the positioning will help everyone get a better idea of what's being built. Additionally, you should define some process/document for capturing requirements. Create a form for enhancement ideas and get sales, support, and customers using it. Let all the stakeholders know that they will have a say but you're going to be the owner. Hopefully, you will have the support of your management in this process.

3. Take inventory of your sales collateral and internal sales info. Do you have a good FAQ? Is the outbound collateral all marketing fluff? Sometimes one or two well-written targeted pieces of collateral can help answer most of the questions and reduce time spent in pre-sales support, particularly on the phone. See also Creating Effective Competitive Sales Tools For Your Sales Reps.

4. Try to offload as many of the outbound responsibilities as possible. In my experience, Product Managers are always going to be called on for some pre-sales support, the goal is to minimize it and use it as a process to collect more market problems. Personally, I found spending additional training time with Sales Engineers or Field Consultants is the best way to start this process. The goal is to get them to know as much about the product as you. Once you have done this you can/should become less available to your Sales reps. The result should be that the sales reps will find the SE's know their stuff and are much easier to get hold of than you.



Categories: Roles & Activities

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