I’ve now been in the U.S. for close to two months in our regional sales organization working together with sales, marketing and product management. For me it has been rewarding to be here in the U.S. as the market for outdoor power products is quite different from the one you find in Sweden. Here, homeownership is about 63% (the lowest since 1967) compared to Sweden where about 40% of households are living in a house. Further, in the U.S. the reservation wage is lower, which means that many homeowners outsource maintenance of their yard to contracting companies.

Thus, when looking at the U.S. market for outdoor power products it needs to be done through these and other lenses in order to understand the end-customer and their needs. This might sound obvious, however as time is always a constraint, one might easily fall in the trap of making decisions based on what oneself would want if one where to buy a product. When you work with a specific category of products everyday it becomes second nature why some features make a product better than others, but as a matter of fact to an average customer that buy the product, it might have been several years since they bought that specific product.

Thus, if you add features to a product or service that are beyond the must-haves you need to be able to articulate the explicit benefits to the customer and why he or she should pay extra for these benefits. This also means that you need to consider what channel the product is being sold through. Does it sit on a shelf at a retailer waiting to be bought or is it sold through a dealer that can talk to the customer regarding the benefits of it? And when creating a product for a professional user, one need to consider that the product’s performance is only one part of the considerations – you need a complete offering that includes service and maintenance for the commercial customer, because in the end the product will only be as good as the service and support offering is, since the professional customer is interested in efficient up-time.

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My trainee colleagues and I visited Charlotte Motor Speedway during our latest trainee week in the U.S.

I enjoy working as a trainee at Husqvarna Group, as the company encourages me to travel and meet with end-customers in different countries in order for me to collect the lenses one needs to create an attractive offer to our customers. Thus, when I finish my program and start working in product management I will have many experiences from my trainee program that can be used in my future role.

Alexander Fornell
Global Trainee
Product Management & Development