Here’s how to create business requirements that help product marketing and sales do a better job of positioning and selling value. First, remember that the reasons you build new products and features are the same exact reasons the market buys them. Zero difference!
Context is the key. It not only gives design and development teams clear and quantifiable value targets, it also makes your value story easier to communicate to the market. The Playbook:
How to Create Business Requirements in 4 Steps
1. Start With a Customer Business Goal
Identify a quantifiable business goal that’s common to target customers across one or more market segments.
- Create quarterly sales forecasts that more accurately reflect what will close.
2. Determine the Strategic Importance of the Business Goal
It’s just a good practice to remind your target customers WHY something is important. You never know where their heads are!
- Credibility with investors, shareholders, financial analysts, industry analysts, etc. is critical to the reputation of the company, its leadership and financial future.
3. Identify the Obstacles & Consequences
Be sure to keep this part to the procedural obstacles and consequences, not the “lack of a system or tool” to handle it.
- Salespeople are forecasting deals to close when they don’t know all of the decision-makers or extenuating circumstances that can result in a loss.
- Salespeople damage their individual credibility. Executives are forced to routinely explain missed forecasts to the board and financial community which also damages their credibility, the company’s stock price, future funding, etc.
4. What Are Target Customers Doing to Eliminate the Obstacles?
It’s important to understand industry best practices here and what customers are thinking before you build or position a solution.
- Requiring salespeople to use social media (e.g., LinkedIn) and other resources to identify additional stakeholders that are impacted by the buying decision.
- Build relationships with those stakeholders, understand their goals and priorities so that salespeople have complete visibility into the decision-making process and the agendas of key influencers.
The four points above represent the value story in context of your target customers/prospects. It’s the part of your value story that gives you instant credibility. The products and features that eliminate the obstacles are the perfect proof points that close the loop.
Here’s the other really important thing to keep in mind. When you’re learning how to create business requirements, DON’T start with the business problem. Always start with the business goal of the customer so that the problems/obstacles have clear context, i.e., why does anyone care about this problem?
The Last Mile of the Story
If you need to build the products or features to create the solution, there is another level of detail that goes into defining the user scenarios (user stories) and the product requirements. These user scenarios and features also get repurposed to become your product demos with the above business dialogue as the front end of the story.
If you want to implement this technique at scale (across product management, product marketing and sales), contact us for a personalized workshop or enroll your team in Product Management University On-Demand.
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