How to Get Knowledge Out of Your Product Manager’s Head and Into the Hands of Sales


Product Dossiers for MarketersWished you could on-board new sales reps more easily? Ever had a green product manager who needs deep product immersion? Here’s a simple tool to help you do both.

Creating a Product Dossier brings the sales team up-to-speed on new products and programs while helping unlock what’s in the product manager’s head

Product Dossiers Sales TrainingIt’s easy to overwhelm a sales team when launching many new products and programs at a rapid pace. The same is true for a new product manager or sales rep that’s unfamiliar with your product lines.

New sales reps need knowledge to gain confidence. Unfortunately, what they are given is a sell sheet or, worse, a 150 slide PowerPoint presentation. “It’s in there,” says marketing vaguely.

Truth is the sales team – especially the new guy – has to know all the details about the product, not just some specs and fluffy words. They need the knowledge that to have confidence to present the product and, more importantly, make the sale.

A Product Dossier can help the sale team drive more sales by:

  1. Providing detailed product, pricing, channel and support information to the field in an easy-to-use format.
  2. Delivering information to the field in a shorter period of time to enable them to start selling quicker.
  3. Improving the productivity of the sales force.
  4. Delivering the business proposition by audience and answers the question “why should I buy?”

A Product Dossier gets the critical marketing insights for a product line out of the product manager’s head and into the hands of the sales team

Product Dossiers TrainingIn other words, we were asking the product management team to take the time and write down all the key details about a product line. We call this document a Product Dossier.

The Product Dossier is for internal use only and always has these key topics in the following order:

  • Product Description
  • Product Performance
  • Application
  • Features and Benefits
  • Packaging
  • Business Proposition to channel
  • Business Proposition to end user
  • Pricing
  • Order/Ship/Bill
  • Stocking Plants
  • Market Description / Market Segmentation
  • Channel Positioning
  • Objectives
  • Competition
  • Sales Tools

The Product Dossier is distributed to the field sales forces by email and should also be posted on the intranet. This tool can also easily become part of the broader set of tools that any new product commercialization process already has.

While the Product Dossier is an internal document, a Program Sell Sheet can be created from it for use by the field as a customer hand out and as a quick read cheat sheet just before a sales call.

Program Sell Sheets are based on the Product Dossier and can be used as a customer product knowledge and training tool

Marketing Communications EffectivenessProgram Sell Sheets are simply edited, formatted and printed versions of the Product Dossier and always contain the following information in the following order:

  • Product Description
  • Product Performance
  • Application
  • Features and Benefits
  • Packaging
  • Business Proposition
  • Order/Ship/Bill
  • Sales Tools

Notice all the internal details are stripped out – it is a generic sell sheet now, but with far richer content. These sell sheets can be now be used as a customer education tool. They are particularly valuable when the customer’s sales team needs product knowledge and training.

Product Dossiers don’t write themselves…they take time and effort to become valuable sales training tools

Product Dossiers KnowledgeDon’t be deceived, this process takes time. It forces the product team to make sure they have all the facts. This process requires deep immersion into the product line – which is why it’s such a great teaching tool for green product managers.

Don’t be so bold as to say you’re going to knock off 20 of these in a short period of time. Maybe you can but the best process is to start with your new products and then roll the process out to the more established product lines.

Be sure to save the finished Product Dossiers electronically. They obviously need to be updated every so often to stay relevant.

By the way, this process works for products, services and programs. The headings are broad enough that they allow you considerable flexibility.

Do you have other great ways of bringing the sales team up-to-speed? Let me know about them!

Good Selling!

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4 thoughts on “How to Get Knowledge Out of Your Product Manager’s Head and Into the Hands of Sales

  1. Pingback: How to get knowledge out of your product manage...

  2. Hey, this is a great post! I will follow your blog now.

    I completely agree about the importance of maintaining the dossier, and I have done exactly the same thing myself with great success. I noticed that other product managers wanting to emulate the success of the dossier started to use mine as a template – but they didn’t enjoy the same level of success. So we looked into why this was happening, and what we could do about it.

    It turns out that they were following the template too strictly, and were including content which had been important for my product, but which wasn’t as appropriate for theirs. They weren’t adapting it to suit their needs, so the account teams were quickly becoming bored with the formulaic approach.

    As soon as we all agreed that the dossier content should be product-specific, it all started to make more sense and the account teams appreciated the dossiers. This customised approach worked really well, with dossiers having their own personalities.

    I have been blogging on product-related matters at http://www.creatinggreatproducts.wordpress.com and there is a post coming next week on a topic closely related to this.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: 8 Steps to Building a Customer-Focused Commercialization Strategy | Channel Instincts

  4. Pingback: Are You Great At Product Development and Lousy At Product Commercialization? | Channel Instincts

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