How to Get Customer Feedback From Colleagues
Product management thrives on being able to get customer feedback from all kinds of sources, especially customers. So it’s important to create feedback channels through customer-facing teams, which can capture all the user insight that filters through those sales and support conversations.
The problem is that these other teams are really busy with their own tasks, focused on hitting their own quotas and goals, particularly Sales. It’s a challenge to make space for internal feedback to Product – but it’s possible!
Similar to my post about product feedback from Customer Support, here I’ll explore the challenges of getting input from the Sales team and how to create a two-way collaboration that benefits both sides.
Understand the other side
Let’s start off with some empathy, shall we?
Often, from Product’s perspective, it seems like Sales just doesn’t see the value in how to get customer feedback. This might be the case. Maybe they don’t think it’s their place, or they don’t think it’s their job. Which is fair! They do have a point.
As a product person, I wondered why other teams wouldn’t take the time to tell us all the stuff they were hearing from customers. It can be frustrating. But in my roles since, I often think to myself, “When am I supposed to do this? They want me to send a bug report or fill a form in a certain way. I haven’t got time for that!”
It’s difficult to find the time and motivation to provide feedback to another team – especially when it doesn’t seem core to your role, and when your pay doesn’t depend on it.
Consider how your sales team is compensated. They’re often paid by commission, which means their income isn’t guaranteed like yours. If they want to make the amount of money they’re expecting and have planned for, then they better hustle – and stay focused. Keeping differences like this in mind will help as you build a better relationship with the sales team.
So, with that said, we want to do two things:
- 1. Encourage sales colleagues to see the value in sharing their feedback.
- 2. Make it super, super easy for them to do so.
How to encourage Sales to add customer feedback
It’s in their best interest, too!
Explain to Sales how providing customer feedback is in their own best interest. If they’re constantly hearing the same objection, or trying to clarify the same confusion, or whatever the potential customers keep repeating – maybe a tweak in the product would solve it. Passing on that information to Product could save time and energy, allowing them to close more deals.
This is a classic case of putting in a bit more effort now to receive a payoff in the longrun.
Reciprocity between sales and product
When it comes to the app or the tool, the product team knows what they’re talking about. That’s why they’re so valuable to have on hand for sales calls and demos! The product team’s knowledge will enrich those conversations and help close the sale.
Explain how this goes both ways! Sales needs to be there for Product in return. The sales team knows what they’re talking about when it comes to customer objections and user feedback. Passing along this information will enrich the product team’s knowledge, strategy, and decision-making.
It’s a collaboration. It’s about working together, and it’s got to be two-sided.
Now, if there’s an issue with how to actually provide the feedback, Sales and Product should discuss a process that works for both sides. On that note…
How to get customer feedback from Sales
This is probably the most important tip on how to get customer feedback: make it frictionless! For any of the above efforts to be successful, you need to make the process as convenient as possible. Here are a couple ideas on how to do that.
Provide a template
Templates reduce cognitive load. If you provide a template for bug reports or other customer feedback, then the salesperson just fills in the blanks and submits it. They know exactly what information you need, and you don’t need to chase them up (i.e. annoy them) for pertinent details. That’s a win-win for both sides.
This is similar to writing user stories, where we recommend choosing one specific story format.
Collect feedback directly in CRMs
One great thing about standar sales processes today is that when sales reps have a call with a customer, they’re logging it in a CRM. These call notes can be written manually or automatically through a transcription service. But the point is: there’s already logging of customer insights and feedback going on! We just need to get it to the right place.
Benefits of a Sales-Product feedback pipeline
Putting a feedback process in place, and making it seamless, does take some work upfront. But the result of getting customer feedback will benefit everyone on all sides of the product.
- It saves time for Sales in the short term (no one will follow up with questions or ask them to resubmit with different information) and the long term (those questions and objections disappear because the product is better!)
- The product team receives feedback right away – and the evidence they need to act on it! – without needing to follow up or cause friction with other teams. This is another timesaver.
- Sales feels listened to, Product feels supported. And ultimately, the customers gain from a business that collaborates and continuously innovates on a great product.