130 episodes

Brought to you by Nils Davis, this podcast will help you become a better product manager, marketer, innovator, or entrepreneur. With thought provoking and action-oriented content - this podcast tackles problems ranging from finding and validating market problems, to creating innovative solutions, to taking those solutions to market. Simply put, it will help you move your skills - and your products - to the next level.

The Secrets of Product Management Podcast by Nils Davis Nils Davis

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

Brought to you by Nils Davis, this podcast will help you become a better product manager, marketer, innovator, or entrepreneur. With thought provoking and action-oriented content - this podcast tackles problems ranging from finding and validating market problems, to creating innovative solutions, to taking those solutions to market. Simply put, it will help you move your skills - and your products - to the next level.

    127 – A Repeatable Sales Process – And Why You Don’t Have One

    127 – A Repeatable Sales Process – And Why You Don’t Have One

    The goal is a repeatable sales process, but…

    One of the goals of a relatively early stage company is to establish some sales and marketing traction. This is often called “a repeatable sales model.” Which means that a trained sales person – trained on how to market and sell your product – can successfully sell the product to qualified prospects.

    Sounds simple. But… lots of companies struggle. Why?

    In my experience, there are five main reasons. (My experience is mostly from enterprise software, so the reasons your company may have challenges with a repeatable sales model might be different.)

    Five reasons:



    * Marketing doesn’t select for the ideal customer, and reject non-ideal customers.

    * Sales does poor discovery and qualification.

    * Bad objection handling.

    * Demos are focused on feature/function instead of the prospect’s problems.

    * Overall poor use of customer stories.



    In this episode I share a concept I use and talk about a lot.

    The Minimum Viable Product Knowledge (MVPK)

    (I’m sorry for the clumsy name. Maybe I’ll come up with a better one.)

    There are six components to the MVPK:



    * The value proposition

    * The targeted segment, the segment of the people who have the problem, you solve with your product

    * Some information about discovery, and qualifying questions

    * Objection handling information.

    * Customer success stories to support all these items.

    * And I often talk about a bonus item – the demo.



    MVPK template

    I don’t actually have the template ready. But if you go to this link you can get on the mailing list for the template when it’s ready in early 2023.

    Related podcast episodes and articles



    * The Product Management – Product Marketing Interface episode.

    * Sales Not Making Quota? It’s Probably Your Fault episode.



     

    New! The Secrets of Product Management Community

    I’ve started up a new community where we can come together to talk more about all things product. Go to secretsofpm.com/community to check it out!

    I’m building this community, with help from Deedee Olsen at Clever.fm (who’s a product manager herself) to give you and me and the rest of the listeners a place to connect and talk and learn about the key ingredients that make for a successful and fulfilling product management career.

    And that means all the kinds of things I cover on the podcast:





    * How to create great products and take them to market

    * How to manage your own career

    * Working with others in your organization

    * Getting through and over creative blocks… and so much more.



    The community will feature forums, workshops, documents and training guides, live events, and opportunities to give back to our communities.

    And you can participate in the podcast itself by leaving me questions and comments via the voice memo tool. Your message might even be featured in the podcast!

    As the community grows we’ll be adding more and more ways to engage. Right now a great place to start is the icebreaker discussion thread. If you check it out you can see my answer to the question as the first entry. I’d love to hear from you.

    The goal is a repeatable sales process, but…

    • 20 min
    126: The Value Inequality – Part 2 – Rerun

    126: The Value Inequality – Part 2 – Rerun

    The Value Inequality is about Risk vs Price vs Value

    This is the second of two episodes (here’s part one) centered around what I call the Value Inequality. It’s a way of thinking about your customer’s perception of risk versus cost and value of your product.

    This episode is a bit wider ranging than the last episode. I start out talking about some of the basics of product management: finding and validating market problems, with some ideas for how to make sure there’s a need for you to build a solution.

    I segue into using the value inequality to help when selling your product. I focus on how to use the ideas in the value inequality to drive your ability to sell more and close more sales.

    Then I talk about using the same ideas to pitch new product proposals to your executive team for approval and funding.

    In both cases – selling, and internal pitching – a lot of the challenge is around reducing risk, both perceived and real. So, I talk quite a bit about techniques for reducing risk.

    Content Note

    This is the audio of a Facebook Live presentations I did earlier this year. There are a few references to things you can see on the screen (in particular a formula for the Value Inequality).

    You can see the formula below.

    The Value Inequality

    The “formula” itself is:



    V >> P + R + C + O



    This reads as

    “The value the customer gets needs to be much greater than the cost of the product (P), plus the perceived risk (R), the change management cost (C), and the opportunity cost (O).”

    I have an article on the blog about the Value Inequality: https://secretpmhandbook.com/value-inequality-real-meaning-customer-value/

    Links and more information

    Innovation options:



    * innovation-options.com

    * dbinetti.com (David Binetti’s site)

    * Our podcast episodes with David Binetti (part 1, part 2)



    Like, comment, share, rate

    If you liked this podcast episode, please rate and review it in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

    And I encourage you to share it with your friends who can use tips on product management, marketing, innovation, sales, and persuasion – and who of us can’t get better at those things?

    Reach out to me

    You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon (maybe). Feel free to send me a connection request on LinkedIn. Be sure to mention you listen to the podcast!

     

    The Value Inequality is about Risk vs Price vs Value

    This is the second of two episodes (here’s part one) centered around what I call the Value Inequality. It’s a way of thinking about your customer’s perception of risk versus cost and value of your product.

    This episode is a bit wider ranging than the last episode. I start out talking about some of the basics of product management: finding and validating market problems, with some ideas for how to make sure there’s a need for you to build a solution.

    I segue into using the value inequality to help when selling your product.

    • 40 min
    125: The Value Inequality – Part 1 (Rerun)

    125: The Value Inequality – Part 1 (Rerun)

    The Value Inequality is the reason your juicer is in your closet

    This episode is about a new way of thinking about pricing, value, and the customer’s perception of risk. I call it the Value Inequality. It’s powerful, and it applies everywhere, including juicers, as well as enterprise software.

    Of course, the first rule of pricing is:

    Your product must cost less than the problem costs the customer. No customer will pay more to solve a problem than the problem is costing them.

    Corollary: If your product doesn’t solve a problem the customer needs to solve, it cannot be successful.

    But the customer has other concerns, not just about the price of your product:



    * Your product represents a big risk to them. Does your solution solve their problem? It looks like it does, but until they put it into production, they won’t know for sure. That risk makes your product worth less, until they are confident it solves their problem.

    * Your product represents a big change management cost. Their current solution or lack of solution to the business problem is costly. Your product may completely solve that business problem. But the cost of moving from their legacy solution to your solution will be significant. In some cases the cost of putting a new solution in place can outweigh the benefits of the new solution, irrespective of its price.

    * Your product represents an opportunity cost. The business problem you solve is not their only business problem. By buying your solution they won’t be able to buy a solution to some other business problem.



    The Value Inequality

    If you put all these customer concerns together into kind of some math, you get the following inequality:

    V > P + R + M + C

    The customer will only buy your solution if:

    The value (V) the customer gets from your solution is greater than the price (P) of the solution plus the risk factor (R) that the solution will or will not work plus the cost of migrating (M) to your solution plus the opportunity cost (C) of not using that money to solve some other problem.

    This is called the “Value Inequality.”

    To buy your solution, the value the customer gets (solving the business problem) must be greater than all these costs combined.

    And to make your sales easier, strive to ensure the value the customer gets from your solution is much greater than the price of the solution. (In math terms:

    V >> P + R + M + C

    Links and articles mentioned in the podcast



    * The LinkedIn post about juicers I read at the top of the episode

    * I have an article on the blog about the Value Inequality.

    * My YouTube channel.



    Like, comment, share, rate

    If you liked this podcast episode, please rate and review it in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

    And I encourage you to share it with your friends who can use tips on product management, marketing, innovation, sales, and persuasion – and who of us can’t get better at those things?

    Reach out to me

    You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon (maybe). Feel free to send me a connection request on LinkedIn. Be sure to mention you listen to the podcast!

    The Value Inequality is the reason your juicer is in your closet

    • 26 min
    124: Unconventional Perspectives on Product Roadmaps

    124: Unconventional Perspectives on Product Roadmaps

    Product Roadmaps – can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em

    Facts about roadmaps



    * They are predicting the future



    * As Neils Bohr said, “Prediction is hard, especially about the future.”





    * A roadmap is interpreted as a commitment



    * This is a cognitive bias of your audience

    * You must manage it





    * The audience doesn’t really want to know what you are working on anyway



    * They want to know any of a bunch of other things

    * They think that learning what you are working on will give them that







    In this episode I share some perspectives about product roadmaps that, while true, are unconventional.

    Putting the ideas in this episode into practice



    * Recognize that roadmaps aren’t for communication, they are for persuasion and influence



    * So you need to use your tools for persuasion and influence tools, like storytelling, pacing, putting yourself in the audience’s shoes





    * Understand that your biggest constituency is your audience’s subconscious, not their rational brain

    * Keep in mind what they need from you, not what you have to tell them

    * Don’t be a completist. It’s easy to be that way, but it’s a mistake, because no one cares



    * And your audience’s brains are resisting new information anyway.

    * Instead, tell stories about the selected items you’re sharing.







    Product Management Grad School

    I have room for up to two new clients for my Product Manager Grad School starting in December or January.

    Every day you’re faced with challenges that test your confidence, your product management skills, and your problem solving and persuasion abilities

    My PM Grad School program is a combination of 1) an individualized training curriculum tailored to your needs and 2) one-on-one coaching.

    Clients say:



    * ”It’s tactical, pragmatic skills that I can start using right away,”

    * “You taught me overarching, key methods, and frameworks that I can apply to virtually every aspect of product management. In particular, storytelling became a powerful skill set.”

    * And “I became a lot more confident – and felt like ‘This isn’t so scary!’”



    Confidence, skill building, frameworks and mental models – you get all of it in the PM Grad School program.

    Reach out to me for more info about the program at pmgradschool@nilsdavis.com or on LinkedIn.

    Product Roadmaps – can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em

    Facts about roadmaps



    * They are predicting the future



    * As Neils Bohr said, “Prediction is hard, especially about the future.”





    * A roadmap is interpreted as a commitment



    * This is a cognitive bias of your audience

    * You must manage it





    * The audience doesn’t really want to know what you are working on anyway



    * They want to know any of a bunch of other things

    * They think that learning what you are working on will give them that







    In this episode I share some perspectives about product roadmaps that, while true, are unconventional.

    Putting the ideas in this episode into practice



    * Recognize that roadmaps aren’t for communication, they are for persuasion and influence



    * So you need to use your tools for persuasion and influence tools, like storytelling, pacing, putting yourself in the audience’s shoes





    * Understand that your biggest constituency is your audience’s subconscious,

    • 16 min
    123: Value Proposition Considered Problematic?

    123: Value Proposition Considered Problematic?

    Is the Value Proposition problematic?

    Shreyas Doshi wrote in a post on LinkedIn a few months ago:

    In product management, it is easy to BS yourself (and others) when framing a proposal in terms of “Value Proposition”. Any proposal with the right business speak can be made to sound compelling that way. This happens all the time, in nearly every company. It is much harder to BS yourself (and others) when you are forced to frame a proposal in terms of “Customer Motivation”.

    If you’ve listened to the podcast much, you know that I am a BIG FAN of the value proposition. I have written about the value prop, I’ve had podcast episodes about it. So, naturally, I had some thoughts. And in this episode, I share them.

    Fundamentally, the value prop serves two major purposes:



    * It’s a litmus test for your ability to articulate “the value” of your product – the important problem it solves, the marekt segment for whom you solve it, and why your solution is their best choice amongst all the alternatives.

    * If it’s good, it serves as a North Star for all your go-to-market efforts (as well as much of your development effort as well, to be honest).



    The value proposition for your product is one of the four main components of the Minimum Viable Product Knowledge. That’s the information you must provide to marketing and sales if you want them to be successful in finding and closing customers for your product.

    Articles and books mentioned in the episode and some related links



    * Crossing The Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore. The Value Proposition template I suggest is from this book.

    * My article on the importance of being able to articulate your product’s value proposition.

    * My (very simple) spreadsheet where you can model out the impact on revenues of getting higher quality leads into your funnel, even if they are more expensive. (Copy the Google sheet to your own Google drive to make changes.)



    I’d love to hear from you

    As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback on this episode.

    Have you struggled with value propositions? Do you feel they are helpful or a hindrance?

    What other topics should I cover in the podcast?

    Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or drop me a line directly at nils@nilsdavis.com, or on LinkedIn or Twitter.

     

    Is the Value Proposition problematic?

    Shreyas Doshi wrote in a post on LinkedIn a few months ago:

    In product management, it is easy to BS yourself (and others) when framing a proposal in terms of “Value Proposition”. Any proposal with the right business speak can be made to sound compelling that way. This happens all the time,

    • 14 min
    122: You Can’t Test Quality In

    122: You Can’t Test Quality In

    You Can’t Test Quality In

    In this episode, some thoughts about quality:



    * Two different ways of thinking about quality and its flipside, waste

    * Fit for purpose vs lack of defects

    * Mura, Muda, and Mira – the 3Ms of Japanese industrial engineering – waste (mura), inconsistency (muda), and overburden (mira)



    Links



    * Shigeo Shingo



    * A very thin bio on Wikipedia

    * The Sayings of Shigeo Shingo. This book may be out of print, so it’s not cheap! But you can rent the Kindle version, or maybe you can find it in a library.

    * A list of short quotes from Shingo.





    * Pokayoke: Improving Product Quality By Preventing Defects 



    * 20 examples of poka yoke in regular life

    * More examples and some theory of poka yoke







    Subscribe and comment

    Please subscribe to The Secrets of Product Management on your podcast system of choice. And consider giving me a review on iTunes or “starring” the episode on your player. Subscriptions and ratings help other product managers and product people find the podcast, and makes me a little happier as well. I might even read your review in an upcoming episode.

    If you have comments, questions, or complaints about this episode or the podcast, please leave a comment down below and I’ll get back to you immediately. I respond to every comment and question.

     

    You Can’t Test Quality In

    In this episode, some thoughts about quality:



    * Two different ways of thinking about quality and its flipside, waste

    * Fit for purpose vs lack of defects

    * Mura, Muda, and Mira – the 3Ms of Japanese industrial engineering – waste (mura), inconsistency (muda), and overburden (mira)



    Links



    * Shigeo Shingo



    * A very thin bio on Wikipedia

    * The Sayings of Shigeo Shingo. This book may be out of print, so it’s not cheap! But you can rent the Kindle version, or maybe you can find it in a library.

    * A list of short quotes from Shingo.





    * Pokayoke: Improving Product Quality By Preventing Defects 



    * 20 examples of poka yoke in regular life

    * More examples and some theory of poka yoke







    Subscribe and comment

    Please subscribe to The Secrets of Product Management on your podcast system of choice. And consider giving me a review on iTunes or “starring” the episode on your player. Subscriptions and ratings help other product managers and product people find the podcast, and makes me a little happier as well. I might even read your review in an upcoming episode.

    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Idea lady ,

Insightful!

Appreciate the insights to necessary skills, how to ‘fine tune’ the ones you have, (sometimes just from looking at it from another angle). Focused on outcomes and ‘what you can do today’, it offers you the chance to experiment with a small facet of product management per episode.

Kodis ,

Great for Product managers

Was recently turned onto this show by a colleague. I really enjoyed the recent episodes about “The Smart Sales Method” and the episodes talking about storytelling. Great stuff!

GraceHolKri ,

Nils brings new ideas to things you already think about

If you are a Product manager - in operations - a seller or EVEN in storytelling as many are looking to gain and garner experience in telling your story, your products story, your clients story etc - you will learn here on this podcast apart from simply learning how to do or show up in your role better.

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