One of the best meetups that I regularly attend is the Product Manager Breakfast that is organized by the wonderful people at UserVoice. Product Manager Breakfast is a relaxed conversation between Product Manager peers. The goal of the meetup is to provide a safe place where PMs can vent, trade tips, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of the role.
This month, the topic was “PM Vs. Salesbro”. This was a highly demanded topic that kept coming up at previous breakfasts. Sales teams are often asking PMs for things in order to close deals. How do you know when to pay attention? What if they are a current customer? What if the customer is guaranteeing you a lot of money?
We talked for a full hour, each PM sharing personal experience and horror stories from the past. We all came to an agreement that product management and sales are both aimed at increasing revenue and achieving the company’s mission. PMs need to get involved with the prospect/customer conversation to validate if a new feature request is a universal need. You can’t be afraid to say no. Savvy product managers realize that their job is to try to please the greatest number of on-strategy customers and prospects as possible given the available resources. If sales fail, then product management is failing.
It’s important to clearly define the product roadmap and mission of the company and to make them known throughout the organization. Share the process of bringing a product to life with your customer/product. Make sure your sales team knows when a new feature would be bumping another potential revenue generating feature.
The opportunity to interact with other PMs in person is priceless. They understand your day to day life and can even provide solutions to challenges that you are blocked on. With that face-to-face sharing in mind, I hope to see you all at the Startup Product Summit SF2!
Editor’s Note: Evan Hamilton, Head of Community at UserVoice and an organizer of the Product Manager Breakfast meetup, spoke at February’s Startup Product Summit. His talk, Everyone’s Customers are Wrong & Their Data is Lying, was a big hit. Check it out for a taste of the kind of awesome talks we’ll have at Summit SF2!
This is a guest post by Brittany Martin, a product marketing manager and recent transplant to the Bay Area from Pittsburgh, PA. Prior to joining us in California, Brittany was a curator of StartupDigest, Pittsburgh. She just began a new gig at ReadyForce, and is thrilled to be on their team and on ours. Follow her @BrittJMartin and read her new blog, San Francisco via Pittsburgh.