Guide FOR PRODUCT SUCCESS: A Partnership of Two Managers and the What and Why of It

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Each person in the partnership has his own reasons for being in the partnership. Sometimes people seek a partner for capital, sometimes for expertise, sometimes for connections. These are not always expressed, yet they remain as an underlying expectation.

partner relationship management (PRM)

If the expectation isn't met, the relationship can become strained. Because each person's expertise, motivation and personality are different, it's important to have this discussion before anything is committed contractually. Because individual needs and expectations may change over time, a clear dissolution or modification plan needs to be in writing also.

Gabe and Rosa had a wholesale distributorship that was limping along.

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Then Gabe became ill and couldn't work for several months. In the interim Rosa had to carry the entire business alone. While she was able to do so, when Gabe came back he didn't have the energy or motivation to pick up his role again. Rosa wasn't prepared to carry it alone long term. Until they sat down together to discuss expectations, each was feeling let down and soon the bad feelings took over. Find out what your partner expects from you in the partnership. Share your expectations as well. Have a plan for when personal or business circumstances or interests change so, when needed, expectations can be readdressed.

Because partners join forces for a variety of reasons and expectations, sometimes the strengths of each individual may be overlooked. The most obvious strengths will probably be recognized; however, underlying strengths, when brought out can often make a big difference in long term motivation, commitment and success. Ted and Rudy's restaurant had reached a plateau after two years in business.

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Ted was in charge of the kitchen, Rudy the business end. With the help of a coach, Rudy realized that one of his personal strengths was his artistic ability and interest. He used his restaurant as a gallery for himself and guest artists. The restaurant frequently received mention in the art media and related calendars.

7 Tips for a Successful Business Partnership

And Ted was inspired to create "artistic" dishes. Bringing out and utilizing the strengths of the individuals within the partnership will add to the motivation, the energy and the odds of long-term success. Make note of your personal strengths and ask your partner to do the same. Then sit together and discuss how you can apply these to the business. In an effort to save money, little things often pile up in areas where partners have neither expertise nor interest. Over time, these can literally sink your business.

Limitations can be in any area: Wherever they are it's important to identify them as early as possible and have a plan to manage them so they don't get out of hand. Amanda and Tracy opened an organic spa where all products used and sold were organic. They also offered private consultations for personal wellness. Business was great, but they didn't know how to manage their cash flow.

They soon found themselves in a cash crunch with debt that was continuing to build.

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The answer, of course, is that they needed support with business and financial management. On suggestion from an advisor they hired a business manager who was able to provide support in their area of weakness. Look at the areas that are problems for you. Chances are these are areas that could benefit from some extra support. If you think you can't afford it You can't afford not to support limitations. These gaps are where the value of the business slips away little by little.

Don't let it happen to your business. The ideal way for partners to approach goals is to start with goals for the company, then each create goals for themselves.

Product Partnerships (pt. 2/2) — Executing a Partnership as a PM

Individual goals should support the company goals. Goals should measure and support expectations. Writing these is especially important for partners. Theresa and Irena were on a good track with their two year old specialty marketing business. They verbally set company goals, but didn't consider what each would be accountable for in reaching these goals.

When they didn't make their goals they blamed each other and things turned ugly. Review and update your company goals together with your partners. Then get each partner to set individual goals that support the company goals in their area of expertise. Put all these in writing and get each to commit to their goals. Then at the end of the period there is no question about who's accountable for what.

As in any type of partnership, disagreements will happen.

How has partner relationship management helped your company?

Handling partnership disagreements effectively is the key to keeping the relationship on an even keel and the partnership in good order. However, there are some general guidelines that can help define the two roles and their distinct responsibilities. The product manager is the person responsible for defining, in detail, the 'why,' 'what' and 'when' of the product that the engineering team will build. The product marketing manager is responsible for clearly communicating the 'why,' 'what' and 'when' to the marketplace. The roles are often considered 'inbound' versus 'outbound' but I do not think that is right.

The product manager must understand customers and the market and the product marketer must understand the product. At the end of the day, both must work together if they are going to build a lovable product. Here are a few of the ways the roles complement one another and bring a combined strength to the product team:. Vision The product manager is responsible for setting a product vision and strategy. Her job is to clearly articulate the business value to the product team so they understand the intent behind the new product or product release.

She owns the strategy behind the product roadmap and must work with engineering to build what matters.

The product marketing manager is responsible for defining the market position within the context of the overall product strategy. This means the product marketing manager should be conducting competitor analysis, market research, and be tight with the sales team to inform the strategic positioning of the product to customers, partners, and market influencers.

Definition The product manager defines the features and requirements necessary to deliver a complete product to market and leads the product team to success. They are responsible for articulating the 'what' and working with engineering to determine the 'when. The product marketing manager is responsible for articulating all of the outbound tasks necessary to clearly explain the benefits of those features and translate them into customer-facing messaging.

He is tasked with giving product demonstrations at trade shows and webinars, delivering presentations to customers and prospects, as well as creating marketing collateral.

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He owns defining the product for market understanding. Go-to-market The product manager is typically seen as the CEO of the product. For the product manager, this means she is responsible for making product decisions and often is the lead resource for the rest of the organization when deep product expertise is required.