A big part of product management is collecting requirements and feedback from stakeholders.
Who are your stakeholders?
Perhaps you’ve been managing your product for a long time and haven’t evaluated your ‘stakeholder list’ in a while, or maybe you’re at a new job and aren’t sure which stakeholders to consider.
Here are 7 stakeholders you should talk to when gathering product requirements and feedback.
1 - Users
Every product management blog, every product management conference, every product management meet-up proselytizes how important it is for product managers to talk to users.
And yet, if we’re honest, we often build products without asking our partners and end-users exactly what problems they’re trying to solve.
I often hear companies lobby to build a new product because it’s what they need, not necessarily what their users need.
Talk to your users. Dear God, please talk to users. If you have a list, hit them up by phone or email. You can also find them in Facebook groups. Read Amazon reviews. Find blog posts where your product is mentioned.
I’ve even written a blog post on quick ways to get in touch with users.
Seriously, do this. Today. Not later. Later is too late.
2 - Biz Dev
If you’re having a hard time getting in touch with end-users, biz dev is second best. Biz dev has contact with partners,. customers, and often end-users as well
Your biz dev friends often have unique insight, and they also know the industry well. Ask them for feedback when building your roadmap. They might even have use cases you haven’t even considered.
3 - Customer Service
I recently spent a day listening to customer service calls for my product. (We may have also gotten side-tracked and talked Game of Thrones for about an hour as well…)
Wow, this was eye-opening; I heard directly from customers what issues they’re having , and it was not what I expected. It really made me realize how many assumptions product people unconsciously make on a day-to-day basis.
Don’t just do it once, either. Keep in touch with a couple customer service peeps, either by Slack or email. Ping them for feedback. “Have you gotten any calls about the buy button today? We’ve noticed sales are down.” They’ll be thrilled.
4 - BI/ Analytics/ User Data teams
When I worked as an Ecommerce director, our buyers often ignored merchandise return data. And yet, this data was sooooo important because it tells the business what product(s) customers were unhappy with, and therefore returning, on a regular basis. The buyers were not in tune with user data.
Do you know who is intimately in tune with user data? Your data peeps. They look at user data all day long (and then some). They make really cool reports. They are querying stuff you probably don’t even think about. You should have a relationship with them, so you can get the inside scoop!
5 - Product Marketing
I know this one is kinda obvious, but it’s still important. Product marketing is an important stakeholder.
Not only does product marketing typically do user research, but they also have marketing data (and are usually familiar with it). For example: What messaging is and is not resonating with users? Ads featuring which products are most successful on social media channels? What demographic data do they have on users that are clicking on ads and posts?
Talk to your product marketing people to get answers to these questions and more.
6 - Competitors’ Users
Join their Facebook groups and have conversations with their users. Why not? The goal isn’t necessarily to steal away your competitors’ customers, but to understand their users’ jobs-to-be-done.
Stalk competitor user reviews. You may see some problems their users are having that you’re able to solve. Leverage that information to improve your product.
7 - Other Product Managers
If you don’t already have relationships with other product managers within your org or company, you should. Get their advice when building a roadmap; perhaps there is some cross-promotion opportunities between your two products.
Every product manager brings a different perspective, and even if you don’t agree with all of them, it’s important to listen.