A few of my client have recently asked "How do I get Sales more involved with our Product Roadmap process"? I've always taken the view it's imperative to involve your Sales team, they are your eyes and ears and have the pulse of customers, prospects and the market. I then give them an outline that's Simple and Common Sense. I like when you can turn complex situations and processes into simple, straightforward direction that people immediately say "I get it" and can then execute it. Here's the outline I share:
-Get direct feedback from your Sales team on their view of our Products in the Market. They have the most contact and should be your “eyes and ears”
-Involving Sales creates increased alignment between them and the rest of the company
-Creates additional sales accountability for the product and their bookings goals if they are part of improving it and by extension improving the Company results
1. Create a quick question guide the Product/Marketing can give to the sales team.
a. What are the things that are working with your Product for customers and Prospects today? Please bullet these things
b. What are the things that are not working with your Product for customers and Prospects today? Please bullet these things
c. If you had 1 strategic thing the Product team could improve your Product with what would that be?
d. If we created that Product Improvement how much additional bookings do you think this would produce?
e. Give the team 2-3 weeks to get responses back. Involve sales management to insure their answers are timely and well thought through
2. Combine all the feedback into a Score sheet to evaluate the responses, consistency of their product improvement asks and get direct clarification from the sales reps if there are questions on their feedback. You should see some pattern of consistency in their asks.
3. Validate the feedback with the Sales Management team to insure they are aligned with their teams feedback and then get them to force rank the top 3 Product Improvements from their perspective and how much additional bookings will result from this
4. Discuss this feedback with Client Management, Product and Technology to have them weigh in on the feedback.
a. Is there agreement in what needs to be built
b. How difficult and timely are the Product Improvements the Sales team has asked so we can fit into the Product Roadmap timeline
c. Sales Bookings Input will be helpful as well to the prioritization process. Ie What is the “bang for the buck” in each new Product add
5. Marketing gets independent feedback on What’s Working/Not/Improvement from some Select Existing Client Interviews, as well as, Select Prospect Interviews
6. Keep Sales Management in the loop on what improvements have been chosen, when they will be delivered and how you’d like that communicated to the individual Sales team members
7. Repeat this process once per quarter
a. Keeps alignment with Sales
b. Keeps a process for continuous feedback into the company from the Sales “eyes and ears”
c. Gives comfort to rest of the management team that we are all Product aligned