As a friend of mine in business school said to me 20 years ago, “Everyone is always marketing and selling themselves and their work – it is just that most people don’t realize it and suffer as a result!”
One of the biggest mistakes that we see Product Managers and Business Analysts make is that they forget that they have to own and be responsible for marketing their products internally. This is because you can work hard to deliver a great product for your customers (whether external for the product manager or internal for the Business Analyst), but if you don’t make sure that the people inside your company know about your product and are completely behind it, then it may fail anyway.
In the 280 Group’s Optimal Product Process there is a clear phase where you MUST market your products. Many people make the mistake of thinking this just means after launch and only to your customers. However, if you aren’t constantly marketing internally you might not get the support and effort across your company that you will ultimately need.
For product managers you have to get a huge number of groups on your side and excited about what you are doing, including sales, marketing, executives, operations, support and others. Since you have no direct authority over them you will have to rely on being able to influence them. As such it is critical that they understand what your product is all about, why it is important to your company and how it will affect them and allow them to succeed.
For example, you should market to your salespeople so that they understand why they should sell your product, how they can EASILY make money doing so, what tools you have made available to them to make it easy and what the best approach is. You should also be marketing to your sales executives to ensure the sales compensation plan doesn’t penalize your product – salespeople take the path of least resistance to products that make them a lot of money while meeting customer needs. If your product isn’t worth their time then it doesn’t matter how good it is.
For Business Analysts, it is critical that you inform others in your company about the projects you are working on (and the ones you have already delivered) so that they understand the value that you are delivering. If the end users of the products you are creating don’t understand what the benefits of the product are (saving them time, making their jobs easier, etc.) then your work won’t be appreciated. It is especially critical to make sure that management understands the value you are delivering – otherwise you may not get continued funding or support for your efforts.