How much customer “capital” have you earned?

As a software product manager, there is nothing more valuable than having concrete information about the market – customers, competitors, partners – all folks that influence the “external” world outside your office building. No one inside your office is buying your product, but then why do we make a lot of product decisions depending on “I think it should be this …“?Customer capital

Here is what contributes to your customer “capital”:

1) Number of customer visits you have made to your customer locations to understand their business problems, how they use your products and their unmet needs that are not solved by ANY product (not just your own).

2) If travel budget is tight (like now), the number of phone conversations you have had with customers to understand the above.

3) You are on top of what customers are talking about online – discussion forums (your own or other), blogs etc.

I want to emphasize the word “customer” – one who has bought or is likely to buy your product. I want to specifically exclude analysts or such pundits who will falsely claim that they know the current customer problems and where the market is headed.

When you have earned enough customer “capital” and you are confident about the data you have collected, spend it. Share it with your “internal world” (your office) – educate them, make them aware that you are talking to real people who will buy your product. This will quickly stop future decision making based on “I think it should be this …”?.

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “How much customer “capital” have you earned?”

  1. Awesome Mr.Shenoy! well said 🙂 Nothing like being in a good position to have good customer capital on your side and the beauty lies in the fact that you share it with your team and that installs the CONFIDENCE in them about you being a GOOD PM 🙂

  2. Good points in here Gopal, especially about who the customer is. We could all do with remembering that one

  3. Good post. Often what Product Managers forget is that they are really trying to solve customer problems, not get product evaluations. Talking with customers, going online, etc. are all great ways to collect data on the roots of your customer’s issues.

    Product evaluations can be collected separately.

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    The Accidental PM Blog
    “Learn How Product Managers Can Be Successful And Get The Respect That They Deserve”

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