Every CEO will start their year with a well-defined strategic plan. A critical component of this plan is a sound Product Strategy. Do you have the right people to manage your Product Strategy?

Your answer will dictate your ability to make your number. To help develop an effective strategy, download SBI’s detailed 2014 Research Report. Not only do you need the right product, you need the right leaders. The 2014 Research Report will help you assess the readiness of your overall strategy.

 

 

What is a Corporate Strategy?

It is an operating plan that will motivate the right behavior in your leaders. The objectives of a well-formed strategy are arranged into a sequential hierarchy (see image). So the changes you make at the top will flow down throughout your company. Your Product Strategy will dictate the strategies aligned below it. Who leads it, therefore, is of the utmost importance.

 

strategic_hierarchy

What is a Product Strategy?

Next to your corporate strategy, it’s the most critical piece of your strategic plan. Your Product Strategy is an operating plan for your Product team. It dictates how to invest and enable the development and launch of your products.

 

What will the Product Strategy Produce?

It will launch the solutions your target market segments will find valuable. Your buyers will purchase and use your product to solve their market problems. A proper strategy will give you an edge over your competition.

 

What is a Good Product Leader?

Having the right Product leader will have a ripple effect throughout your organization. This is due to Product’s relatively high place in your strategic hierarchy. Identify the right leader on these four guiding principles.

 

1. Start with the Market Problems. Your Product leader must always obtain direct feedback from your customers. This means picking up the phone and actually interviewing key customers. They must understand every challenge these customers face. Once a quarter, you should be briefed on the latest key insights. Market leadership starts with understanding your customers

 

2. Be Focused. Your corporate strategy will outline your target market segments. It will also define your key differentiators. A world-class Product leader will innovate within these focused areas. Innovation without focus can become a costly distraction.
3. Build Outcomes. State-of-the-art solutions are only good if they fulfill the outcomes your customers want. As such, your Product team should avoid developing “feature sets.” They should develop outcomes. The features will take care of themselves as a means to an end

 

4. Partner with Sales. An effective go-to-market plan relies on Sales and Marketing (No kidding). But traditionally, Product and Sales don’t always get along. So remove the tension and get them to work together. By doing this, you will achieve two things. First, Product will have direct access to customer insights through Sales. This will positively influence how your solutions are developed. Second, Sales will completely understand how to position your solutions to the Buyers. As the “last mile” of your go-to-market plan, Sales must deliver the best message.

 

Get Started

To start the year, align your Product Strategy with your strategic plan. Then confirm that you have the right leadership in place to manage that strategy. Download SBI’s 2014 Research Report to get started.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Bernoske

Go-to Market Innovator
Learn more about Dan Bernoske >

Prior to SBI, Dan held business development, sales, and product management leadership positions at several start-up companies, developing Apple iOS platforms and E-Commerce-based social networks. Most notably, Dan was co-founder of Video Lantern, an online video advertising sales and operations firm. He is Six Sigma certified from GE.

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