How to Improve Your B2B Product Management Process

About 20% of products fail to meet the needs of customers. For B2B product managers, this creates a nightmare scenario.

You’re under more pressure to meet launch deadlines, add the right features, and support old features. That’s on top of putting out fires every day.

B2B product management is full of pressures and expectations. If you want to successfully navigate this world, you have to master the product management process.

Fortunately, you’re in the perfect place to learn about becoming a better B2B manager. Keep reading to learn the top product management tips for better B2B sales and product management.

Master Market Positioning

Look at your product portfolio. There’s a good chance that each product has its own vision, positioning, value proposition, and strategy.

Multiply that by the number of products, and you can see why you have to put out so many fires every day.

You’ll want to create a market position for the portfolio that is similar to the vision of the business. Start by asking yourself why the company exists.

Maybe you want small businesses to manage their finances or help them scale. Then come up with supporting messages that convey how each product helps businesses reach that goal.

This also lets you realign your product portfolio. Your current portfolio could be so segmented that your business tries to serve too many market segments.

The product portfolio should only focus on two or three market segments to start with. Once you reach critical mass in these segments, it’s OK to expand into other segments.

Know what you’re really selling

Most B2B companies think of themselves as selling a solution to another company. That’s true, but what they’re really doing is much deeper than that.

B2B product companies sell processes to other businesses.

Think about it this way. You sell a software solution to another business that allows them to work faster and more efficiently.

What does software adaptation require? Change.

It requires them to adopt new processes and procedures. These then get documented.

As you already know, organizational change is not easy.

Since you’re selling more than a software solution, you need to shift your sales focus. You need to get champions within a company to vouch for your solution.

This is usually someone high-up in the company that can influence other stakeholders. Product managers and sales reps should identify the champion within each organization.

The danger of relying on one person to vouch for you is that they can leave or get laid off at any moment. You should develop a close partnership with the champion and someone else who can serve in that role.

Learn the Entire Sales Process

B2B product management is really about serving multiple audiences. Internally, you serve the executive management team, sales, marketing, and customer service teams.

Externally, you serve other businesses. These businesses are made of people. Your job is to balance the needs of the organization with the needs of end-users.

Understanding the sales process from a sales rep’s perspective and the customer’s perspective helps you gain insights into your product.

You learn how it gets used, which features are most popular, which ones you need the most, and how the product gets supported.

This lets you create a product that meets their needs and develop a sales process that makes buying seamless.

The ideal is to create a personalized buying experience. You might think of personalization as critical in B2C sales and not in B2B sales.

Personalization applies to both verticals. After all, businesses are made up of people.

Manage Competing Needs

How does a B2B manager balance the competing needs in the product management process? They design products for end-users.

They also market products to buyers, meaning the decision-makers in the company. They make sure the features and benefits of the product are clear to them.

This design for users and market to businesses approach serves product managers well because they can manage the needs of both.

Map Feature Upgrades

What’s the product roadmap? That’s a question that gets asked by every organization before they buy. They want to know what they’re investing in now and five years from now.

Again, the roadmap needs to address the needs of the organization and the end-user.

Create a product roadmap that allows you and your sales team to take advantage of new feature rollouts. You don’t want to roll out new features often because this puts pressure on the product development team.

It also won’t close sales because potential customers will wait until the new features get rolled out.

Use the Right Metrics for Success

How do B2B product managers define success? They tend to use traditional key performance indicators (KPIs) like churn rate, number of support tickets, and product engagement metrics.

They also rely on SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals.

While both frameworks are helpful for product managers to assess different aspects of product management, there’s another framework that’s gaining traction.

OKRs stand for Objectives and Key Results. This allows you to create goals and tie them to actions that generate the results. Continue reading this guide to learn more about OKRs and how to implement them.

The Top B2B Product Management Tips

B2B product management is a balancing act at its best. At its worst, it’s a chaotic mess that creates stress and anxiety for product managers.

These B2B product management tips shed light on how to balance the needs of end-users, buyers, and your bosses. This guide showed you how to realign your product portfolio so it aligns with the vision of the business.

Visit the home page of this site for more helpful tips to grow your business.

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