The 3-Body Problem of Product-Field Alignment

Jarod Greene Avatar photo

If you’re like me, the “3 Body Problem” has you in an absolute chokehold. 

To date, it’s the second most-watched series on Netflix, having garnered the attention of millions, and unlocked a new fear of nanofibers.

While the series is new, the Three-Body Problem is not. It’s a concept from physics that describes a situation where three objects (usually celestial bodies like stars, planets, or moons) are all moving under the influence of each other’s gravity. 

In simpler terms, the Three-Body Problem is like trying to predict the movements of three dancers on a crowded dance floor, where each dancer’s movements are influenced by the others. It’s difficult to foresee exactly where each dancer will be because they’re all interacting and affecting each other’s paths. Solving the problem is challenging because the interactions between the three objects can lead to unpredictable and chaotic behavior. 

In B2B tech, we’ve been living a different Three-Body Problem. Just as celestial bodies interact in complex ways, so too do the three key players in B2B sales: the product team, the sales team, and the customers. Balancing the needs, expectations, and objectives of each party is akin to solving a cosmic puzzle. 

The Product Team: Architects of Innovation

The product team is responsible for crafting solutions that meet the evolving needs of the market. Much like celestial bodies shaping the fabric of the universe, product teams shape the landscape of the B2B industry. Product teams must contend with the gravitational pull of both the sales team and the customers. They must balance the pursuit of innovation with the practical realities of market demand. Creating a product that satisfies customer needs while aligning with the sales team’s strategies is no small feat.

The Sales Team: Navigators of Relationships

The sales team serves as the navigators, steering the course of relationships between the product team and the customers. Much like celestial bodies influencing each other’s trajectories, the sales team plays a pivotal role in shaping the interactions between product offerings and customer needs. The sales team must act as conduits, translating the value proposition crafted by the product team into tangible benefits for the customer. They must understand the nuances of both the product and the customer landscape, guiding prospects along the buyer’s journey with skill and finesse. To effectively navigate this complex dynamic, sales teams must forge strong relationships with both the product team and the customers – advocating on behalf of the customer, but understanding the product team’s constraints. 

The Customer: The Center of Gravity

The customers are the focal point around which product teams and sales teams orbit. Understanding and anticipating customer needs is paramount, as their decisions ultimately drive the success or failure of the venture.

Customers are not static entities; their needs, preferences, and priorities are in a constant state of flux. To effectively navigate the Three-Body Problem, B2B organizations must adopt a customer-centric approach. This entails actively listening to customer feedback, anticipating future needs, and delivering solutions that exceed expectations.

The Solution

In the realm of physics, the Three-Body Problem has never been solved.

In the realm of B2B tech, not solving the problem is not an option. 

Despite their best efforts, spreadsheet-driven approaches that attempt to manage and coral multiple lists , supported by ad-hoc collaboration and the occasional fire drill have not helped organizations drive product and go-to-market success. 

And while the challenges of sales and product alignment aren’t new, with the rise of GenAI, it is becoming more difficult to deliver against customer needs and expectations. Vivun customers have a new way to manage the Three-Body Problem, where they find harmony in complexity. 

Vivun customers are using GenAI to act as an army of technical experts who collect and make sense of all of the feedback sales delivers to the product team. For them, that means working from a single, continuously evolving list of feature requests (not 16) and  putting GenAI to work to develop a customer-centric roadmap (not teams of teams). 

In doing so, they are fostering collaboration, communication, and empathy, they’re giving organizations the ability to navigate the dynamic interplay between product teams, sales teams, and customers. 

Embracing agility, iteration, and a relentless focus on customer value are essential for success in the ever-evolving landscape of B2B sales, and in embracing the challenges posed by the Three-Body Problem, organizations can unlock new opportunities for innovation, growth, and mutual success.

To see how Vivun aligns product and sales teams, click here.

Jarod Greene Avatar photo April 16, 2024