Your product management maturity scale refers to the manner in which your organization approaches the planning, development, marketing and sales of its products and services. It’s defined by the extent to which your solutions mirror the business of your target customers. The stronger the alignment, the higher your score.
Assessing Your Product Management Maturity Scale From 1-3
- You’re a product company if your target customers are defined by the least common denominator. “…any company that has employees” or “…organizations that have an IT department.” If your target is this broad, your maturity score is 1!
- You’re a solutions company if your target customers are defined in terms of a business discipline – sales operations, treasury management, risk management, human resources, etc. Solution companies generally name their offerings according to the discipline they target – Acme Risk Management, Acme Sales Operations, etc. If your products and services reflect this approach, your maturity score is 2!
- You’re an industry solutions company if your target customers are first defined by an industry segment such as retail, healthcare, local government or sub-segments within a specific industry such as physician practices. When combined with a business discipline – risk management solutions for healthcare – you’re a full-fledged industry solutions company with a solution maturity score of 3!
Relevance and Some General Rules of Thumb:
- You can succeed as a product company (score of 1) when you’re one of the first to market in a new category with high demand. As more competition enters the market, the more you need to specialize.
- If you’re creating a new product category and trying to create demand, an industry solutions focus should be your starting point due to the highest relevance factor.
- Sales teams should sell to any customer that’s a good fit regardless of target markets. But they should do it with the understanding that resources won’t be diverted when those customers have unique needs that aren’t relevant to the organization’s strategic target markets.
What’s your solution maturity score today? What should it be when you consider the competitive landscape of your product or service category?