In his ten years at Vocus, Inc., Kye Strance has held a variety of positions including account executive and a member of the consulting team. Today Strance is Director of Product Management for the company, a provider of on-demand software for public relations management, including media relations, news distribution and news monitoring. Vocus is used by over 1,800 organizations worldwide and is available in five languages. "I spend my time interacting with the sales department, the marketing department, and the majority of my time, about 70 percent, with the R&D department," Strance says. "But I also speak with customers to understand what they need and do competitive intelligence to learn what’s good and bad about the other products on the market."
Strance compiles intelligence briefings for the Vocus salespeople so they are better at working with customers. "I use the consulting skills that I developed in my previous jobs and use them with our internal sales teams," he says. "But the part of my job that is the most fun is what we call 'playing in the sandbox.' We look at what companies like Google and those in the social media space are doing and see what we can apply those ideas to our product offering."
In a Day's Work:
Strance travels several times per month, to visit both existing customers and prospects. "I like to be out in front of customers as much as possible," he says. "I also go with the CMO to analyst meetings." A major part of his day is working on product development initiatives. "We start out with suggestions from customers and I compile those," he says. "Then we have a product steering committee where we set direction. I then write specs on features and functions and argue the merits of each item and also how much development time it would take to implement each one. We then vote on the various things to narrow down to 50 or 75 things that we can deliver."
Oddest Customer Encounter:
"A client who is an adult toy manufacturer contacted me with a question. I had an uncomfortable moment as I was trying to decide which professional services consultant to assign the company to."
View From the Desk:
"Our offices are an open dot-com feel--with the walls painted bight blue and orange."
"Flying single engine airplanes is my release. I’m able to think when I am in the air."
If Not EContent, Then What?
"I’d be a commercial pilot flying seaplanes in the Bahamas."