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by John Mansour | 04.27.2012

The words “strategy” and “strategic” are draped all over most B2B product management job descriptions like a cheap suit.  But many organizations don’t realize the consequences of hiring product managers with skills, talents and experience to be strategic, setting expectations accordingly, and then placing them in situations that require nearly 100% focus on execution.  It’s a reality for many product managers and it’s as counterproductive for organizations as it is for the individuals.

On the bright side, the fix is relatively simple.  The key is to recognize the difference between hiring a team of “strategic product managers” and structuring a product management team that’s a strategic asset to the organization.
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by John Mansour | 03.22.2012

The most powerful value propositions in sales and marketing are derived from clear concise business requirements in product management.  If organizations employ business practices that establish a direct connection between the two, they’ll receive exponentially greater benefits by first solving bigger problems than the competition, and then making it easier for marketing and sales teams to articulate that value in a language anyone can understand.  Growth awaits!

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by John Mansour | 02.18.2012

If you want your product team to be the top advisor to senior executives, you have to think like an executive.  Consider the various situations executives find themselves in and the types of information that make them stronger executives.  Then make it a routine practice to brief your executives accordingly.  Do it well and watch your product team’s influence skyrocket.

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by John Mansour | 01.24.2012

There is a gaping hole that exists between corporate financial goals and the constantly growing slate of product initiatives.  When that gap exists, every market opportunity and every product idea seems like a good one.  It’s a path of distraction that’s stifling the growth of many organizations.

Product management and product marketing teams collectively own the responsibility for closing the “strategy gap.” Through no fault of their own, few teams are structured to do so.  It’s time for a new class of product manager, a new structure for product teams and a new gauge for measuring success.  Traditional Product Management is growing up!

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by John Mansour | 12.19.2011

Most B2B companies want their sales people calling higher in the organization because direct access to executives can wire deals in their favor and shorten sales cycles.  But why do many companies find it so difficult to get executive access?  It has a lot more to do with your value propositions than you think, and the remedy starts with Product Marketing.

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by John Mansour | 11.17.2011

The strategic value of most product strategies is worth questioning. Do they offer so much measurable benefit to customers that your company’s market position will advance significantly?  If not, your product strategies are probably a “nice-to-have” in today’s business climate.

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by John Mansour | 10.27.2011

Why should I buy from you?  Whether verbalized or not, most buyers want an explicit answer to this question and not just during the sales process.  Most providers answer with product features and service capabilities but never really answer the question. It’s a major disconnect that can cost you in both the short and long term if your competitive strategy rests entirely on your products.

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by John Mansour | 09.28.2011

A strong brand builds credibility that influences and motivates people to buy your products and services. It’s also a measuring stick the market uses to evaluate your performance.  If you don’t define your brand, the market defines it for you and the result can easily become the biggest impediment to your success.

In B2B product and service organizations the same concepts apply to product management and product marketing teams for the same reasons.  Consider colleagues in engineering, marketing communications, sales and the executive team to be the market.

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by John Mansour | 08.18.2011

It boils down to differentiation...not just the marketing and messaging variety but adding product capabilities specific to key vertical markets that deliver exponentially more value than generic one-size-fits-all offerings.

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by John Mansour | 07.22.2011

When it comes to prioritizing key product investments, the root of all evil lies in the fact that everyone has a different view of “the market.”  Each perspective translates into a different agenda and a different set of priorities.  Any rationalization of those priorities is temporary, only to be undermined by the next great opportunity or perceived urgency.  It’s one of the biggest hurdles to growth in every product company.

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