Products that are distributed at scale via go-to-market partnerships are influenced heavily by how partners operate in the market. As a product manager, investing time in building a market-facing view with the help of your external partners is essential for a product-market fit.
Keep in mind that this step does not guarantee product-market fit (products typically live in complex ecosystems and many, many factors influence product-market fit) but simply increases your chances of achieving product-market fit.
Who should you ask for a market-facing view?
Market-facing view is sourced heavily from your go-to-market partners and they have given me the most impactful market insights. The partners can be classified in two broad categories based on the how your product generates revenue for the partner:
How do you draw out market insights?
Now that you have identified who can help you build the market-facing view, a product manager must be able to draw out market insights from these partners which is different from getting product feedback from an end-user. These conversations are best had in person on a regular basis. If you are unable to have an in-person meeting, Skype, Hangouts or even a phone call works as a second option.
For all questions, ask and let the partners speak — give a long pause after the question (even though 10 seconds may seem like an eternity, pause) till the partner has formulated an answer and is ready to share his/her thoughts.
I am listing a few unbiased, open-ended questions that have always worked for me.
Surbhi is a product enthusiast with an obsessive dedication to UX, to build products that delight users, drive performance metrics and drive overall business strategy.