How to Say 'No' Without Getting Fired (part 2)

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Product marketing managers struggle to say ‘no’ to requests they know are frivolous. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the status quo than make waves. Admit it: you (and your team) work on stupid stuff that you know is a waste of time and resources (believe me, you're not alone). In Part 1 of How to Say 'No' Without Getting Fired I discussed the importance of understanding the goals that matter most to the CEO and translating it into what you do as a product marketing manager. But even if you have a clear understanding of the business goals, a limited understanding of your buyers would not prepare you to say ‘no’.

Companies don’t buy products

Companies don't buy products, people do. That was sage advice to me early in my career and it still applies today. So if companies don't buy products and people do, who are these people? How well do you know them? I'm comfortable you could tell me their job titles, but what else? What is their annual salary? How do they get compensated? Who is their boss? What is their personal win? In any market there are patterns. One of the patterns relate to buyers. We call this kind of pattern a Buyer Persona. A Buyer Persona helps you identify a likely buyer in the wild, and how to get inside his head.

Understanding buyers isn't a desk job

Getting a full appreciation and perspective of your buyers requires work; field work. You can't make it up and you can't rely exclusively on your salespeople or the one subject matter expert in the company. Think like an anthropologist. Find time to interact with real potential buyers in the wild. Observe them in their habitat, how they eat, raise their young, and forage for food. Building an understanding of your buyers takes time and it takes perseverance. But the payoff is huge. Saying 'No' is especially empowering when backed by market evidence. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
David Daniels

David Daniels


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