Nowadays, almost every business is running successful campaigns using a customized CRM solution. Customer relationship management systems have been paramount in helping to manage customer information, work sales funnels and organize by timeframes, projects, or features. While mainly used by the sales department, product managers are also relying on the data to build better products. How does this tie into the role of a product manager and how do they use the available features?
Let’s start with the PM job. As we mentioned in an earlier article, What Does A Product Manager Do? Product managers “lead the strategic side of a product from the development to deployment. They collaborate with leaders in business from sales to marketing to operations to development.”
CRM helps support customer communication and product development.
How do product managers use CRM software?
When it comes to strategy, one of the most powerful tools used company-wide can be employed by a product manager to learn about customers and validate features. Whether it’s Salesforce, SugarCRM or another system. Product managers use this information as an indicator of what features customers want, and then decide what to develop.
Product managers use CRM for:
The sales team works on the ground directly with each client on an intimate level and track conversations inside CRM. They will hear a lot of the pains or delights of your customers and what they are asking for to improve the product. By monitoring those communications, product managers can assess the value of a particular feature request across your customer base.
By tracking the actions and conversations of your customer base, the direction of an individual feature will become very clear, and you’ll be able to develop a strategic roadmap. On top of this, you’ll be able to present the product by building your story in a way that shows your understanding of the market and your clients. Managing customer feedback can fast track product initiatives.
CRM is also used to segment customers and track what features are most important to each segment. The primary goal here is to fully understand users and be able to manifest that understanding into building great products. In many cases, this requires customer segmentation. For example, global companies need to know and be able to detect the importance of individual features within different markets such as the U.S., China, and Europe. CRM allows you to segment based region, age group, likes, and dislikes, etc.. and be able to address each customer persona.
By combining qualitative data from CRM, customer interviews and multiple other sources, product managers can leverage it to support user stories, and validate features. It also helps identify which customers will contribute to validating certain features and decide the best way to move forward in product development. Creating powerful user stories could determine whether or not a feature is included in the roadmap, and whenever a PM can utilize additional information, it brings them closer to the perfect product.
There are many strategies and ways to implement CRM software into product development, and it varies across companies and teams. And the system being used depends on the needs and goals of the company.
Meet one of our lead instructors, Alok Nandan, Director of Product Management at Salesforce: