Creating your product vision can be difficult when you focus too much on the product. Legendary Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” Apply that same philosophy to B2B products and your product vision will be simple and resonate with everyone.

Here’s the recipe. It’s two parts customer and one part product.

Two Parts Customer

  1. What is the customer ultimately trying to accomplish with the product? Or as many say, why will the customer hire your product?
  2. Why are those (business) goals important to the success of the customer? This is a critical layer that ties the tactical value of your product to something that’s strategic to the customer.

One Part Product

  1. The product part of this recipe really isn’t about the product in literal terms. It should answer the question: “What’s stopping our target customers from meeting their goals? In other words, how will your product help the customer eliminate their biggest obstacles? Instead of articulating visionary features or technologies, articulate visionary business practices that your product will ultimately support.

Take a simple example like a payroll product and apply the above recipe.

The Customers’ Goals

  • What is the customer trying to accomplish?
    • Pay employees on time and pay them everything they’ve earned.
  • Why are those (business) goals important to the success of the customer?
    • Employees get upset when you mess with their money. If it happens too often, they don’t stick around. Bottom line: it hurts employee satisfaction and retention, and the ripple effects are costly on all fronts.

Your Product’s Contribution

  • What’s stopping the customer from accomplishing the above goals?
    • Employees have to record one or more of the following to get paid everything they’ve earned and get it on time.
      • What they do.
      • When they do it.
      • Where they do it.
      • How much time and/or how much work was completed.

As long as employees have to record any or all of the above, there are ample opportunities for errors and omissions that lead to an incorrect and/or late paycheck.

Creating Your Product Vision

Add 2 + 1 and you get a clear and simple product vision that looks something like this.

  • “The ultimate goal of our payroll solution is to make sure employees get paid on time and get paid everything they’re owed without requiring them to record what they do, when, where or how much.”

Here’s what makes a product vision like this so valuable when it comes to managing, marketing and selling your products.

For Product Management & Engineering

  • The customers’ goal remains constant, which keeps your product direction laser-focused.
  • It’s keeps your product priorities focused on removing the customers’ biggest procedural obstacles standing in the way of their goal. As long as your product continues to whittle away those obstacles, you’re delivering quantifiable customer value that’s as beneficial to you as it is to your customers.

For Marketing & Sales

  • You have a single headline/value statement (the product vision a.k.a. the customers’ goals) to lead with. That allows you to communicate and demonstrate the value of current capabilities that get the customer closer to their ultimate goal.

Creating Your Portfolio Vision

Apply the same formula to your entire product/service portfolio and you have the vision statement for your organization! The benefits to product, marketing, sales and client-service functions are exponentially greater when you create a portfolio vision because it ties the tactical value of all products to a common business goal that’s strategic to all customers.

If you want the simple recipe for create the vision for your products and portfolio, contact Proficientz. We make product management, product marketing and sales enablement easier than any of our competition. How? We make it easier for you to understand the business goals of your customers from the top down versus a tactical problem-product focus only.