Back to resources

How to Spark Sales-Driven Change

Customers
Innovation / Experiment
Leadership
Meetings
Impact
Users

19 January, 2022

Nani Nitinavakorn
Nani Nitinavakorn

Sr Product Owner at Revolut

Nani Nitinavakorn, Sr Product Owner at Revolut, recalls her experience initiating a structural change to optimize her entire company.

Problem

Previously, I worked at a B2B company where salespeople's KPIs were tied to the revenue of each product they sold. As a product owner, we separated ourselves based on the products we sold even though we all fell under the supply organization. For example, if I was selling boost ranking products that increased our customers' place on search engines, another PO would be selling a different feature that would streamline another aspect of our customer's business. The problem was that our customers were buying many products together when they might not need all, because they didn’t understand the whole picture nor did we have a holistic sales approach. With around five POs and ten different products, this challenged the structure and effectiveness of our sales team and company.

Actions taken

When I first joined this organization and tried to make an impact, I focused solely on optimizing my product. I examined the data and surveyed the customers to understand what needs my product was filling. Then, I created a sales presentation that trains the sales team on my product when interacting with customers. I organized user research when I would follow the sales team selling it. Doing so enabled me to see how the sales team sold my product and allowed me to give actionable feedback. When I was testing this system and optimizing it, I realized that every PO was using this same system without having each other in mind.

As I talked with more and more salespeople, I formed a personal connection with many, and we began going to lunch. During these out-of-work meetings, they shared their major sales problem: our customers were doing business with other companies because they felt we were always selling them a product which did not necessarily meet their expectations. The sales team pushed multiple products during each pitch, all from a different PO, unknown to myself. Learning this shocked me, as I understood that certain products were tailored for specific customers and would not be suitable for everyone.

Because of these meetings, I realized that our company pushing multiple products was not the most effective way to sell. For example, customers that were organically ranking in the top searches would not pay for my boost ranking product, but our sales teams were pitching it anyway.

I brought my findings to other PO's in my company, and we concluded that we needed to bring this to leadership to promote change. I created a proposal aimed at C-level executives that detailed a six-month-long experiment. The experiment revolved around an easy data model that would recommend which product a sales team should sell to a customer at a single point in time. My proposal strived to transition our sales model to pitch just the products that each customer needs at a certain point in time, rather than everything. This model was based on the fact that our customers would receive such an impressive return investment. The next time our sales team recommended a product, it was more meaningful to our customers.

Our experiment was relatively low cost and only required two data analysts. Once we obtained the required information, we ran the experiment with one customer before bringing it across our entire platform. The experiment succeeded and is still being used even after I left the company.

Lessons learned

  • The mindset of a PO should be to optimize not for a team, yourself, or a product but for the entire company. Whether or not an initiative is a success, you are moving in the right direction if you keep the whole company in mind.
  • When sparking a significant change in your organization, you need both bottom-up and top-down support. To create a substantial initiative, you may need to push yourself 120% before gaining the acceptance and understanding of leadership. Once on the same page, alignment is key to a successful outcome.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Leaving Room to Say Things Suck — Leadership Lessons from “Ted Lasso”

17 August

A major sign of trust, comfortability, and vulnerability is for someone you lead to be able to say something sucks.

Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
John Hartley

John Hartley

Senior Engineering Manager at Curology

How to Maintain Happiness: The Underrated Aspect of Creating Team Dynamic

2 August

Jonathan Ducharme, Engineering Manager at AlleyCorp Nord, encourages the importance of a workplace environment that cultivates mental wellness.

Personal Growth
Company Culture
Leadership
Internal Communication
Psychological Safety
Jonathan Ducharme

Jonathan Ducharme

Engineering Manager at AlleyCorp Nord

Scaling a Team in Two Parts: The Product and Manager

2 August

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti, Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart, walks through his experience scaling a team, product and his skills as a leader.

Managing Expectations
Product
Scaling Team
Leadership
Meetings
Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart

Congratulations you're an Engineering Manager! Now What?

29 July

Congratulations, you have just been promoted to an engineering management role. Once you are done celebrating the promotion you have worked hard to earn you might start to ask yourself, now what do I do?

Leadership
New Manager
AJ St. Aubin

AJ St. Aubin

Director Software Engineering at The RepTrak Company

Leading A (Distributed) Team? Foster "Above the Line" Behaviors.

12 July

No online tool will address your team's ability to connect, collaborate, and deliver results if the individuals don't bring the right mindset to work.

Changing A Company
Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Ownership
Ram Singh

Ram Singh

CTO at REAL Engagement & Loyalty