A Disjointed Organization

by Annelle Barnett
Annelle Barnett
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on Jul 25 in Social Media 0 Comments

Several years ago, when I started working for one of my previous employers, the company had been around for just over 5 years but for all intents and purposes, it was a startup. I was the first marketing employee and there were no product management employees or any product management function at all.


For a small company, we were very geographically dispersed, not just across the US but also across Europe. This resulted in the entire organization working very much in silos with little communication between teams and departments.


Product releases were known to take up to 3 years as no one was really controlling the process. And, to some extent, releases were based more on what the developers thought would be cool rather than what the buyer actually wanted and was willing to buy.


There was no defined product roadmap and what we did have changed on a whim for no business-driven reason.

No win/loss reports, market research or customer intelligence resulted in us having no method for the prioritization of new

product development decisions or requirements.


After the company operated for several years in this a broken system, we identified that the missing link was Product

Management. So we brought in our first PM employee and with that came buyer personas. The introduction of buyer

personas changed the way our company did business.


For each product or solution, we developed three personas representing each individual in the buying process. Some

personas were more important than others but each played a key role in the decision making process and each typically

had the power to say no and stop the process altogether.


Once we developed these personas, we knew everything there was to know about our buyer so we could develop

products and make decisions based ONLY on what satisfied them.


Marketing and Product Management could work together to create simplified messaging in the buyer’s language that

addressed their problems and how we solve them rather than cramming product information down their throats.


Personas eliminated the debate over value props, vision and messaging because the buyer trumped all internal opinions.

Product roadmaps were developed based on the buyer requirements and marketing now had advanced notice about what
to communicate, to whom and when.


Communication was improved across the entire organization because everyone only spoke in the buyer’s language. And,

though we were geographically dispersed, we all aligned and started driving towards the same goal of satisfying our buyers.


Ultimately, these personas resulted in products that were developed to satisfy the buyer and enabled marketing to show

our customers that we appreciated and identified with their pains through the content we developed…in ways that they

wanted to consume…and that would entice them to buy.

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