Consider the elevator pitch for the product you sell. You probably begin by painting a picture of a common problem for your ideal customer then explain how the product and its features solve said problem. No matter where you work on the product, you understand customer pain points and know how the product fixes them. You’re able to make choices based on this shared knowledge.
This collection of shared information is your product knowledge. It encases everything you know and communicate about a product, from its features to its ideal user. Good product knowledge engages curious customers as well as carves out a space for your product in the marketplace.
So, how can you use product knowledge to boost your product’s visibility and market narrative? Let’s take a look.
What is product knowledge?
Product knowledge includes everything about a product that explains its value and purpose. There are a few main goals of implementing this information:
- Engage prospective customers and pique their interest, setting them on a path toward making an informed purchase.
- Make education decisions about product updates, branding, and messaging.
- Keep current customers engaged and continue making adjustments to fit their changing needs
- Adjust with the ever-shifting marketplace to ensure the product always has a reliable foothold
Each team may use this knowledge a little differently, but the central goal is to understand the product, its ideal customers, and where it lives in the marketplace. Transparency is key here. Well-rounded product knowledge includes awareness of product flaws and potential solutions.
In summary, product knowledge is the cohesive (often collective) knowledge of a product.
Why is product knowledge important?
1. Builds sales and brand authority
Those who understand their product can speak about their brand with clarity and authority. Product knowledge also contributes to industry reputation—you could be the first company that comes to mind when a prospect thinks of the problem your product solves! If you can make a compelling narrative around a product, deliver on your product’s promises, and offer a strong customer experience, you’ll be rewarded with strong sales and brand authority.
2. Gives you the tools to communicate effectively
With a wealth of product knowledge at your fingertips, you can effectively communicate product-related information anytime, anywhere. This includes during a prospect discovery session or scoping an internal marketing campaign. Company-wide knowledge management systems give everyone access to this information, allowing product knowledge to be stored and shared company wide.
3. Increases conversions and sales
Knowledge of product metrics, conversion rates, and competitors will give you a strategic advantage in marketplace positioning. This data is a functional part of your overall product knowledge as it informs decisions on marketing strategies and offers insight into areas of opportunity. You can use it as concrete information to support product initiatives and be competitive in your industry.
4. Exceeds customer expectations
You don’t want to just inform a prospective customer–you want to make a lasting impression. Let them get to know your product as a brand to make a personal connection. You can use your product knowledge as it relates to customer needs and competitors to show customers how they are getting a unique product by adopting yours and the support they’ll receive from your company.
5. Guides the implementation of new features
Products and services are changing frequently. To keep up with the market and customer demand, your company is most likely always looking to improve and adjust. This often means the creation and rolling out of new features. Working these features into your overall product knowledge can help current customers have a smooth transition into using them.
6. Creates a positive product support experience
The better you understand your product, the better you can support customers on their product journey. Creates a welcoming environment for prospects to adopt your product and seamlessly merge it into their existing workflow. A product is more than just its features and benefits–it is also the people and teams behind the scenes who are there to make a customer’s experience comfortable and smooth.
Types of product knowledge
Customer knowledge relates to the wants and needs of the product’s ideal customer. User personas that you regularly work with when orienting your product development help info this area of product knowledge.
Understanding the brand, positioning, and vision will help form the backbone of product knowledge. It guides how you speak about the product and the message you’re trying to leave with customers.
Industry trends are crucial knowledge across all teams, so make sure it’s shared far and wide. You should work to position your product in the marketplace and make informed decisions for how to improve based on this knowledge.
4. Customer experience
Having customer experience knowledge on hand means you can make educated decisions about your target audience and adjust to their evolving needs. Use this information to see the quality of your customer support skyrocket and leave a lasting impression on each prospect.
Knowledge of the competitive landscape is must-have information. To know where your product fits in the market, you must first have a good understanding of how the market’s other key players and their offerings stack up against yours.
Think about your ideal customer’s entire library of tools and where your product fits in. Integrations are an easy way to make sure your product plays nicely with a customer’s existing tech stack.
There is no one-size-fits-all product. For a product to be effective, there needs to be some level of customization available for customers. Your general product knowledge needs to include the scope of this customization.
8. Mission and values
Your company’s mission and values, and how they relate to the product are a large segment of your product knowledge. The product should reflect company values and demonstrate its mission.
Your product knowledge solves customer problems to ensure they have a good and memorable experience. Quality troubleshooting for customers lends to their overall perception of your company and product as one they can rely on.
10. Complementary or sequential products
Complementary products support the main product, but have little value on their own. They work as a way to enhance overall product experience. Knowledge of these assets can increase general user satisfaction.
How can teams use product knowledge differently?
Product-led teams capture several aspects of general product knowledge in their work. They’re most likely thinking about integrations and customization aspects as well as customer needs and wants from the product. Product teams ask themselves what modifications to make to the product so it aligns with an evolving marketplace and continues to meet customers where they already work.
Product knowledge is the all-encompassing way to pitch a product. It highlights the features, benefits, and addresses setbacks that customers may have questions about. This knowledge supports sales teams as they discuss the product. The brand, narrative, mission, and values all come into play as a member of the sales team is explaining the benefits a prospect will see when using the product.
Customer-facing teams are often the first interaction prospects have with your company. This means that the knowledge these teams have needs to be relevant and up to date. Set your sales team up for success by providing them with real-time feature knowledge without asking them to navigate away from their workflow.
Customer and technical support teams
Customer support and product support work together to create a quality customer experience. How customer and technical support teams engage with customers is based on their product knowledge. These are teams that understand how to best teach and inform on the product. They also understand customer pain points and wants, so they can successfully address these aspects and meet customer needs.
Branding, marketing, values, and mission statements all inform how marketing teams communicate about their product to prospects and current customers. The competitive landscape and marketplace are taken into consideration as marketing teams assess their product in relation to the other products available to customers. Marketing teams use their product knowledge to relay the product’s narrative to customers and prospects.
Stakeholders require background product knowledge before diving into a project. The exact knowledge will vary based on the project, but stakeholders will generally use company goals and mission statements along with marketplace and customer knowledge to make informed decisions about product updates, changes, or campaigns.
Examples of product knowledge
What to include in product knowledge training
1. Product cost
Prospects need to know if the products they’re interested in fit within their budget. This is why it’s so important that sales reps, or anyone interacting with customers or prospects, understand the product cost (or costs of multiple tiers of the product) and can accurately relay that information.
2. Product use
Here’s where you lay out the product’s intended use. This can include how to set up and get started with the product or best practices for day-to-day use. It’s also a good place to list all the product benefits.
3. Product integrations
Integrations are a central part of product knowledge as it helps anyone understand where the product fits within a workflow. Here is where you share if the product integrates with the other tools in a customer’s tech stack, so they can reference it without navigating away from their workflow.
4. Manufacturing and distribution process
How did the product reach its current iteration? Here you’ll detail how the product became what it is today and the reasoning behind each product decision. This element of product knowledge helps inform who the product is for and why they need it. It can even hint to potential future iterations.
5. Servicing, troubleshooting, and warranty
Make sure support offerings for troubleshooting the product are a part of product knowledge training. As much as we try to avoid it, sometimes products run into problems. The users of those products need to be aware of their options if this happens to them.
6. Options for customization, styles, and models available
There’s no one-size-fits-all for a single product. Product knowledge training needs to instruct on how a product can be customized or modified to fit within the needs of each customer. Include if there are different styles or models available that might cater to a specific kind of customer.
7. The product value
The product value goes beyond its price point or features. You’re answering the question of what a product is going to do for a customer. This might look different for each product use case, but a product’s value clearly communicates the benefits a customer can expect to see from using the product.
8. The problem it solves
Customers seek out new products to solve their existing problems. As part of your overall product knowledge, convey what problem is being solved and exactly how it’s solved. This gives a prospect a clear understanding of whether or not this product works for them as well as how they can expect it to function.
9. Complementary or additional products
Any complementary or additional products should be pointed to as bonuses of using your product. They don’t provide much value independently, but can be powerful when paired with the product. Use them to enhance overall product knowledge.
Types of product knowledge training
In-person product training
In-person product training provides a face-to-face environment to learn the ins and outs of a product. Depending on the product, this training type offers opportunities to practice demonstrating and using the product in person. It works best for those who prefer live group training sessions.
Hybrid learning and work environments have increased as companies hire more and more employees into hybrid or fully remote positions. Product knowledge training in these environments can be helpful for those who prefer a balance of in-person and independent training sessions.
Asynchronous and synchronous product training
This type of training is done entirely remote through DMs or video chats. It’s more conducive to independent learning styles and is best done with a reliable company wiki on board. A reliable single source of truth supports asynchronous learning by easily storing and sharing knowledge.
Examples of product knowledge training
5 tips to improve product knowledge training
1. Customize product training for teams
Each team will prioritize the sections of overall product knowledge that are most relatable to their work. Marketing teams are more interested in the competitive landscape and product narrative while support teams may focus more on customer experience. Make sure the learning material is relevant to your audience.
2. Make information easily accessible
When important product knowledge is difficult to surface you can’t expect everyone to be equally informed. Store all your product knowledge in a single source of truth that invites company-wide transparency and removes information silos.
3. Implement various learning techniques
Everyone learns differently, so having a variety of learning techniques accessible during product knowledge training will come in handy. You can even offer different tracks for learners to take depending on the techniques they prefer. Understand the kind of people you’ll be training then cater to their learning preferences.
4. Continuously improve the training process
Just like the market and your product are always shifting, your training process should also regularly adjust. You should always be trying to make it better, easier, and more efficient for your team to learn the ins and outs of your product. Continuous improvement means your training will always make the knowledge stick.
5. Create measurable objectives for success
Those learning new product knowledge want to know when they’ve mastered the material. Create benchmarks throughout the training process and encourage trainees to hit them. You can use these benchmarks as stepping stones to reaching a full understanding of the product.
Product knowledge FAQs
What are the levels of product knowledge?
Your product knowledge ranges from product features to mission statements. It will include information about the competitive landscape, pain points the product is solving, ideal customer profiles, and anything else you deem important.
Why is good product knowledge essential?
Good product knowledge ensures your product is viable in the marketplace. It explains your positioning so you can create a compelling product narrative that sells and ensures your success.
What are the four key elements of product knowledge?
Understanding what you're selling, customer insights, competitor analysis, and product value statements are the four key elements that support healthy product knowledge. This information should be easily accessible to everyone at the company for complete product knowledge transparency.
How do you ensure your team has accurate product knowledge?
An internal knowledge base is crucial to sharing and storing product knowledge. Make sure your wiki has a verification feature that flags the information at an interval set by the subject matter expert for regular accuracy verification. This way you can rest assured that the information you’re reading is reliable.
What if my question isn’t asked often enough to be featured here?
If you have more questions that haven’t been answered here, we’re happy to help! Check out our Help Center or connect with one of our Product Support team members.