Updated: Mar 21
Product Mangers, please know the difference. A customer visit is different from accompanying a salesperson on a sales call. A customer visit creates an opportunity to gather the voice of the customer (VoC), not to sell them anything.
If you want to be a BAD product manager, use customer visits as an opportunity to sell your product. You have the attention of a key person for at least 30 minutes so why not try and promote your offerings? Why not help the sales person close the deal, or upsell them on newer items? You are responsible for the product generating revenue so this is a good chance to do this right? After all, who knows the product better than you and the customers will be amazed at how much you know and share.
If you want to be a GOOD product manager, use customer visits as an opportunity to learn and understand your customer. Learning your customers needs, wants, pain points, desires, and long-term goals provides value that will last longer than the lifecycle of the existing product. It provides the ability to innovate and create a pipeline of products they will want to buy.
When a VoC visit is done right, the focus of the conversation will be on the customer, not your products, not your competitors’ products, and not on a new product you are about to release. The visit is all about them. These VoC visits should be done alone because having sales reps with you will inhibit the customer from engaging openly and honestly. When travelling with your sales reps make sure to be clear on which visits are sales calls and which are VoC customer visits.
If you find your customer visits are often around a new product release, then you are using them as a sales call. A good VoC process will engage the customer throughout the product development process…not just at the end.
The results of a clear customer visit will provide long-term understanding of what the customers like and dislike about products, what underlying problems exist, where they feel changes could be made, and discover how your products are actually being used. These will provide greater revenue generation in the long run than making every visit about closing a sales deal.