First, Understand Product Management.
‘Product Management’ is still a relatively new concept in the software world, and the role itself can be wildly different from one organization to the next. To keep things simple, think of a product manager as a bridge. A bridge between our users and our team, so that we build products that work for our specific audience.
At TRIBUS, the role requires us to obsess over three main things: business goals, user experience and software. I’ll dive deeper into how we build great products in later posts, but let’s start by focusing on how to build a product driven team.
Understand the goals of the business.
TRIBUS’ business model is to provide software that makes the day-to-day operations of our client’s business simpler. That means that in order to effectively understand our business goals, we must also immerse ourselves in the business goals of our clients.
We’re not trying to provide some cookie cutter solution that’s a fit for everyone right out of the box, so I start by asking a lot of questions. What market area do they cover, what is their sales focus, what are the benefits and pain points of their current technology? What is their recruitment strategy, what gets agents excited to work there and what makes their company unique? Who are the players involved – do they have single agents and teams, luxury/commercial divisions, sales managers, assistants, e-leads teams, etc.? Maybe that sounds like overkill, but I promise all of it matters.
I’ve been in the industry long enough to become familiar with the core list of brokerage needs, and I’ve also been in the industry long enough to know that no two companies will describe their ideal CRM exactly the same way. So how can we create the best CRM for every client while still maintaining a stable ‘core’ product?
Our answer is to not only accept the fact that every brokerage is unique, but to actually embrace it;
and then build extremely flexible products
that feel custom tailored for each client.
Live and breathe UX.
We’ve covered who our clients are, so now let’s talk about our users. We categorize our users in groups: brokerage staff, agents and leads. All of these users are important and we consider all of their needs equally, because they trigger a chain reaction.
If the person visiting the website is raving about how simple it is to use and how great their listings look, they’re going to come back again and again which makes the agents happy. When agents see how easy it is to customize their website and prioritize their daily to-dos in the CRM, it’s going to increase their productivity which makes the staff at the brokerage happy. Ultimately all of this empowers the brokerage to function at it’s best. It probably goes without saying, but when that cycle is running as we’ve designed it to, we’re also pretty happy ourselves.
At TRIBUS we focus on user engagement with our products, not just usage statistics.
We strive to provide tools that people are delighted to use day in and day out, which means that user experience extends far beyond the software itself. Our goal is to make every step of interacting with our products so seamless, that even on-boarding and asking for help can be found effortlessly inside the system.
Remain well versed in your tech stack.
Hopefully it’s obvious that in order to manage products effectively, you have to be pretty tech savvy. This doesn’t mean that you have to go become a software developer, but understanding how your products are built is the only way that you can make the best decisions for their future.
If this article has the inner geek in you intrigued, then follow along as I take you through more of our product journey in upcoming posts.