Prospects who approach us, first look for a certain sense of comfort in having a vision level conversation and a team that can vividly visualize their product in the first meeting.
Product thinkers in a services company?
Because you’re building someone else’s product.
Because in a technology services company, more often than not, your customer is a product manager or a business owner on the other side, looking for peers who can grasp their vision and shape their solution, than ‘vendors’ who would just provide coding services.
I have seen this in my experience at Codewave; prospects who approach us, first look for a certain sense of comfort in having a vision level conversation and a team that can vividly visualize their product in the first meeting. Once they have that comfort, they assess the other things – the how, the how long and the how much.
You’ve got to have more than just your past (portfolio) to convince businesses to work with you.
I’ve had a prospect even ask us – “What you’ve done for a hundred other companies, doesn’t guarantee that ours could be a success too.” That guy, needed to experience the peer comfort more than our pitch and that in my view, requires a fundamentally different way of looking at marketing and sales.
A traditional sales executive, trying to close a project deal would miss the whole point. A product thinker, would focus on having a conversation to understand the customer’s product vision and illustrate synergy to move things together.
There is a world of difference in both these approaches (the intent).
Benefits of having product thinkers in a technology services company:
1. Customers love it when they don’t have to explain everything
2. Your visual designers have deep context, to shape their work (beyond the specs)
3. Product thinkers start with why, make your development team see the whole picture
4. Attention to detail (to purpose), happens at every step during product development
5. You make deeper connections with businesses you’re working with
Today, most technology services companies, may not hire candidates with the word “product” in their profiles for business, marketing and sales responsibilities, most probably because their JDs would not have the word “product” in them.
In reality, the qualities that seem to truly grow technology services business are:
1. An ability to look at what the person on the other side is envisioning, understanding the why
2. An ability to visualize the end user of your customer’s product, the technology experience the product would bring and the business benefits
3. An ability to demonstrate your team’s capability to build the product, in alignment with the customer’s vision throughout the engagement
That pushes me to think, should product thinkers look for opportunities only in product companies?
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1. How do you develop product thinking?
Product thinking can be developed by understanding the customer’s needs and pain points, identifying opportunities and creating a vision for the product that addresses those needs. Adopting a customer-centric approach, regularly gathering and analyzing feedback, and iterating based on that feedback. Also, understanding the market, researching competitors, and keeping an eye on industry trends, practicing techniques such as lean product development and jobs-to-be-done framework and regularly involving users in the product development process through user research, usability testing, and customer development interviews.
2. What are the 3 main phases of product/service management?
The three main phases of product/service management are:
- Development: This phase involves creating a new product or service, including research and development, prototyping, and testing.
- Launching: This phase involves introducing the product or service to the market, including marketing, advertising, and sales efforts.
- Post-Launch: This phase involves managing the product or service once it is in the market, including ongoing marketing, customer support, and product improvements.
3. How can I practice product thinking?
Practicing product thinking involves considering the needs and wants of users when developing a product or service. One way to do this is by conducting user research to gain insight into their behavior, pain points, and goals. This can be done through surveys, interviews, and usability testing. Additionally, it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and advancements in technology to ensure the product or service is innovative and competitive. Regularly gathering and incorporating feedback from users can also help inform the development and iteration of the product. Above all, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve with your product.
4. What are the common challenges faced by product teams?
Product teams often face challenges such as defining the product vision, aligning on product strategy, balancing short-term priorities with long-term goals, and effectively gathering and analyzing customer feedback. One common challenge is “analysis paralysis”, where teams get bogged down in data and fail to make decisions. Another challenge is “feature creep”, where teams add too many features to a product, diluting its core value. To overcome these challenges, product teams can adopt an iterative approach and prioritize features based on customer needs, using techniques such as “lean product development” and “jobs to be done” framework. Additionally, they can establish clear decision-making processes and make sure to involve customers in the product development process, through practices such as user research, usability testing, and customer development interviews.