Managing Sales

One of the more interesting discussions that I had at USV product summit was about managing sales that involved product managers from Stack Exchange, SoundCloud, CloudFlare, and myself. It wasn't actual management of sales people that we've been discussing, but how should a product manager interact with sales, how should he or she inform sales about new features, how to garner sales' feedback, how to deal with 'specials', and how to prevent sales from selling what product cannot deliver.

Each of these topics deserves a special blog post so I plan to do a whole series of posts on this subject. But maybe the most important takeaway from our discussion is that your company shouldn't be just a best place for  engineers to work, but also the best place for sales people to be. If the sales people feel like second rate citizens compared to product and engineering people, if sales people don't have the confidence in the product they are selling, if the product doesn't fit the market, the sales people cannot really be successful in their mission to interface companies in their needs and offerings. And if sales people aren't successful, their commissions suffer. And that's something sales people really care about.