The Key to Winning a Product Presentation
When selling your product ideas, don’t be a loser. Plan based on your user.
As a product manager, if you can’t tell your story well, your product won’t sell. Luck may favor sometime but most of the time, you may have to fall in line.
“If you can’t explain it simply,
you don’t understand it well enough”
— Albert Einstein
Question is — how to better plan for a product presentation that would help you realize your aspirations? Answer is very simple — plan based on your users. The goal of this article is to demonstrate that.
As a product manager, we usually sell our ideas to four types of users —
- The core team: These are the product team members who we need to always remember. They are dedicated full time on our product tasks and work on every ask. As a product manager, we share similar goals even though we may have different roles (high goals alignment). We are almost at the same level in the organizational chart (low power difference) and we don’t sit far apart. We are represented in the block ‘1’ of the “Goals Power Matrix” (diagram 1 below).
- Leaders and executives of the core team: They are the bosses of the core team members. They are partially dedicated but need to be fully educated. They define our assignments and so have high goals alignment. However, their organizational powers are much bigger than ours (high power difference). These mighty powers sit in the block ‘2’ of the “Goals Power Matrix” (diagram 1 below)
- Peers in other supporting department/function: They are our peers in other support functions (sales, marketing, legal, compliance, audit and others). Their support is needed to make the product launch ready. They have many other things in their queue and so we need to avoid giving them a last minute to-do. Though our goals alignment is low, our powers are almost similar (low power difference) as they are at the same level in the organizational chart. However, their offices are far apart. To make these gems our friends, we need to visit block ‘3’ of the “Goals Power Matrix” (diagram 1 below).
- Senior leaders of other supporting department/function: They are the leaders of the support functions (sales, marketing, legal, compliance, audit and others). They have very low engagement but their “thumbs up” very much needed for the launch of the product. As a product manager, we have low goals alignment and high-power difference with them. If you need to give them a visit, they live in block ‘4’ of the “Goals Power Matrix” (diagram 1 below).
We know our users now. Let’s discuss how we make them bow.
- “A Lot” with the “Core Team Members”: Goal here is to sell without fear. We need to put a lot into their ear. Give them a lot of details in order to prevail. Inspire them till it fires them. Once they get charge and desire to succeed, our job is mostly done, indeed! Shown in block ‘1’ in the below diagram 2.
- “Brief” with the “Core Team Leaders”: They are the chiefs who already know a lot of things and so we need to be brief. Focus on financial economics with some useful results and metrics. Use them if stuck on a decision that may derail the product vision. Shown in block ‘2’ in the below diagram 2.
- “Convince” the “Other Department Peers”: Our goal is to convince them on the value and priority of the product. No need to overwhelm them with a ton of information. Just steer them with the high-level product navigation. We need to precisely outline the timelines so we stay aligned on when their support would be needed. Look for them in block ‘3’ in the below diagram 2.
- “Defend” with “Other Department Leaders”: Meet with the peers in another department first so they don’t feel ignored (earlier step). They will in turn help us align with their leaders and make it all work fine. If we still get into a situation to meet their leaders, good to defend any question with minimal/optimal explanation. Key is to listen and avoid giving any unclear/lousy answer if not sure. Later engage the core team leaders who can help them align and have them follow the line. They are in block ‘4’ in the below diagram 2.
I call the above framework “‘ABCD of Product Presentations” as they are really the key starting point to plan the contents of our presentation.
A job well begun is a job half done. So, the key is — Don’t be a loser. Act like a straight shooter by building a presentation custom made for your users!