The Product Leader’s Cheat Sheet for Alignment: The GTM Leadership Edition

The Product Leader’s Cheat Sheet for Alignment: The GTM Leadership Edition

Product leaders face challenges of all shapes and sizes, but the most common one is setting expectations with cross-functional stakeholders. According to the most recent Product Excellence Report, 48% of product leaders said this was their top challenge. 

One of the reasons stakeholder communication and expectation setting is so tricky is that there’s no single blueprint for getting it right. Each set of stakeholders has their own interests and priorities. To really excel at stakeholder management, you need to develop a deep understanding of each group and how you can best meet their needs.

It’s easy to see how learning to navigate these complex relationships can get pushed to the backburner. For most product leaders, this is just another item on your never-ending to-do list. But neglecting your stakeholders today can lead to much more trouble down the road.

That’s why we’ve put together a series of cheat sheets to help you achieve alignment with each group of stakeholders. In this edition, we’ll explore how you can best work with your go-to-market (GTM) teams — the sales, marketing, and customer success people who help you launch new products and features. 

5 tips for partnering with your GTM leaders

When you achieve alignment with GTM leaders, you create consistent and predictable messaging that’s much more likely to resonate with your customers. GTM leader support ensures prospects and current customers know about the hard work you’re doing, it’s aligned with their needs, and they’re excited to give it a try. 

Here are a few ways to achieve this alignment. 

1. Establish regular communication channels by setting up recurring meetings or check-ins with team leads to stay informed on their needs and to share updates on product developments. 

54% of respondents note that they don’t have an effective system in place for providing customers with status updates about product requests they’ve made in the past. – Product Excellence Report

2. Actively listen and gather feedback by encouraging team leads to provide feedback on product features and enhancements. Use this feedback to guide product development decisions.

42% of product teams said they have a process for capturing customer insights and feedback, but only 12% said they successfully capture insights and feedback from all available sources. Product Excellence Report

3. Collaborate to develop GTM strategies that effectively communicate the value of new products and features to customers and prospects. 

A great GTM strategy relies on user/buyer personas, market understanding, and an understanding of the long term business plan. That’s why it’s critical for Product Managers to work in collaboration with marketing on a GTM strategy.” – Product School

4. Involve customer success in the product development process by inviting leads to participate in ideation and user research sessions to ensure that customer needs are being addressed. This is a process product discovery coach Teresa Torres refers to as “showing your work.”

“As our practice continues to mature, we start to realize there are no right answers — only better and worse ones. Instead of defending right answers, our job is to generate and evaluate options.” Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach

5. Build trust and transparency by regularly communicating about product decisions and roadmaps, and by following through on commitments and delivering on promises.

“The gap between planning and execution of the roadmap is a gap that needs to be filled.” – 2022 Product Excellence survey respondent

When you collaborate with GTM leaders, it’s a win-win for everyone. You’ll help them achieve a clear understanding of the product vision and roadmap, enabling them to build their plans around it and sell the vision — rather than the features — to customers. Providing them with reliable insights into timelines also helps align their expectations with the market. 

Plus, customer success and sales leads must be aware of the ongoing development to effectively communicate it to customers. They also require a platform to voice their opinions and share customer feedback, which needs to be acknowledged and acted upon.

Collaborate well with your GTM teams and you’re creating a virtuous cycle of trust and respect. They trust that you will deliver on your promises while you trust that they’ll provide you with market and customer insights that will ensure your product’s success.

Never fear your next encounter with a stakeholder again. Download the cheat sheet to help you handle every interaction with your GTM leadership team with confidence, or our guide on uniting the business for tips on how to work with other stakeholders. You can also check out the below video for tips on how product can build stronger cross-departmental relationships.

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