This will be the shortest chapter in the book. It is very definitely the job of the company you work for to provide you with Product information. Unfortunately this job is often done very badly, so in this chapter I will provide some tools and techniques to analyse products to create the sales messages you need.
Why do you need these tools and techniques? In most companies I have worked for the people within the company that have written the Product Release information for the salespeople have either been the engineers that made the product, or the marketing people responsible for product management. Engineers usually provide volumes of highly accurate data that is only understood by other engineers. Product Marketing can usually do a better job of taking that data and turning it into sales messages, but usually I find two issues with their launch material; first they tend to only have narrow contact with existing customers (if at all) and secondly they sit down the corridor from legal who make sure that all the product release information is embedded in legally defensible verbiage. (It is probably an urban myth, but I am sure that there is a microwave manufacturer somewhere that is going to put a warning in their User Manual that states a microwave is not appropriate for drying the hair of pet poodles!).
So what does a salesperson need to know about a product?
I would categorise what needs to be known as:-
- Value Proposition