Equipping your colleagues in the sales and marketing departments with product knowledge may be one of the smartest things you can do to ensure your products performance shows the results you’ve been aiming for.
Here are some ideas on how you can structure your product knowledge into usable information for the sales and marketing department:
Target Customer and Target Consumer Definition
In most cases your customer (buyer) is also the consumer (user), for example when the product is bought for personal use. Products created for business use may have a specific customer (Technology Officer) but different consumers (employees). Identifying and describing these two groups of people are important, particularly if the person buying the product is different from the people using your product. In this situation, the key messages and sales approach used to sell and market to each the buyer and the user would ideally be different. To help the sales and marketing team identify with your target customer or consumer, you can provide buyer and user personas.
For other ways to make use of personas, click here.
Summarise your market problems, your solutions, features and benefits on an easy to read reference chart.
- Problem – Describe market problem the customer is facing.
- Solution – Describe the solution applied to solve the problem.
- Features - Whether conceptual or modular, describe the component(s) built into the product which provides the solution.
- Benefit – Describe the benefit the customer will realise from the feature
Provide the USP and Value Propositions
Take control of your product’s core messaging by clearly stating your product’s USP and their value propositions. Support your statements with facts and let the marketing and sales teams convert them into key messages and pitches.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your product apart from the competitor’s product and most importantly, how it sets your product apart. Make sure your ‘how’ is based on supporting data.
Your value propositions are implicit promises that your product delivers to the customer and can be defined in three kinds:
- Resultant – the benefits the customer receives (ex. status, savings)
- Relative – the value (benefits relative to cost) the customer receives
- Common relative – the ratio between the number of features to cost (ex. more features for same cost)
The USP and the value propositions are best defined by the Product Manager, who possess knowledge of their target markets requirements and how they have been translated into product features and benefits.
These can also be considered the product’s brand values – single word descriptions that best describe the product to your customer and what you would like them to remember when they think about your product. Sales axioms should also be supported by research or facts that back up why the axiom holds true. For example, if your product is “reliable” – clearly describe what it is about the product makes it reliable.
Providing your sales and marketing departments with product knowledge will help them communicate and reflect the full value of your product to your customers.