Product Marketing Manager at Trint, and PMA ambassador, Phill Brougham, shares his experience of moving from a role as an account executive to a solo PMM, what attracted him to a career in product marketing, how the level of understanding he has for sales has helped him succeed, his top three skills in the role; curiosity, empathy, and communication, plus his tips for others wanting to move into the role.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 0:04
Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Product Marketing Insider podcast which is brought to you by Product Marketing Alliance. My name’s Bryony Pearce and I’m the Content Manager here at PMA.
This week’s podcast is sponsored by Product Marketing Core...meta, we know. PMMC is our very own product marketing certification program, and it covers the A to Z of product marketing essentials. With 11 modules, 68 chapters, 87 exam questions, 10+ hours’ worth of learning and official PMA certification, it’s a course not to be missed. Head to https://pmmalliance.co/PMMC for more info.
To help establish and elevate the role of product marketing we’re on a mission to speak to 50 PMMs and pick their brains on everything from their journey into the industry, which teams they interact with most, what skills they believe are critical for the role, and a whole load more.
To do just that, with me today is Phill Brougham, a Product Marketing Manager at Trint, and one of our very own London ambassadors. I’ll let Phill chat through his role and journey into product marketing shortly, but for now, welcome to the show Phill!
Phill Brougham 0:46
Thanks Bryony, great to be here.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 0:48
It's great to have you on the show today. I guess could we just kick off for everyone listening with a bit of an introduction to you, Trint the company itself and then your role at Trint?
Phill Brougham 0:59
Yeah, sure. So I've been at Trint as a product marketing manager for, I guess just over a year now, and was previously a PMM at another London based startup in the AI space for customer service. I'll talk a bit about my background a little bit as we get through the conversation, but Trint, just to give some context for folks is an automatic transcription software and we're focused very much on helping professionals working with any kind of spoken words to really unlock the power of audio and video. There's so much happening now in the industry, from you know, increased video production to kind of a growing demand for businesses to unlock the assets they already have, whether that's a tonne of learning and development, training videos or marketing assets or what have you. So, we're seeing some really exciting stuff out there. But effectively our software is there to help professionals to utilize that spoken word content. I actually use Trint myself as a product marketer, so listening to research calls or the win-loss calls that I do. So it's a great tool, and I love working here.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 2:19
And then in terms of kind of your journey into product marketing, I noticed kind of looking on your LinkedIn, you have a bit of a sales, business development, management background, how did that transition come about? Was it something you very actively sought out? Or was it a natural progression? Or?
Phill Brougham 2:35
Yeah, I sort of stumbled a bit into product marketing, but I'm so happy that I did. I joined I was, like I said, been in the software space for just over three years now. And I knew that sales was a place for me to get my bearings and to get started and sort of understand, you know, what does a SaaS business look like? And what are the component parts? And what do I feel like I'm going to be good at? And where do I see myself excelling? And so from that point of view, I always saw sales as a great place to get started to learn some great skills that frankly I still use today in my product marketing world. But also as a bit of a stepping stone and you know, no disrespect to anyone from sales, it's just not really my cup of tea. So I was looking for something after being about a year or so as an account executive, trying to find something that was a bit more strategic, that had a bit of I guess a broader view of the business and how the business and the market kind of work hand in hand. How to enable the business to get better, and ultimately something that's more creative. And I had heard that we were looking for a product marketing manager, I just felt, "Well hold on products, do I know about that? Marketing, do I have any of those skills?". And then on a bit of a lark, I just read the job description and I saw all these great parts of this and I was like, "Wow, this is, I feel like this role is totally for me", you know, between the competitive research and the sales enablement piece and the sort of expressing our product to the market in a sense and in ways that can actually compel people to make a purchasing decision, to compel people to value, all that stuff just seemed like such a fascinating challenge. But also, I thought, a pretty good use of some of my raw skills. And so I applied to that role internally and was fortunate to get it. And so I did that job there at my last company for about nine months, before moving over to Trint.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 4:46
And then when you started in that first product marketing manager role, I think it was at Digital Genius, did they have an established product marketing team in place? Or were you the first appointment with that position in the company?
Phill Brougham 4:58
No, I was the first one actually. Fortunately our head of marketing there, who I still kind of keep in good touch with, Jay Hinman from in the Bay Area, he used to be a product marketer himself. So he and I had a good rapport and he was a great mentor for me, as I was kind of getting up to speed in that role. Fortunately, I think the other thing that really helped me was, as we all know, product marketing is always different in every business, and based on the business priorities, you know, the product marketing priorities will sort of shift with that, has been my experience so far. At Digital Genius the focus was really about sales enablement, building out repeatable playbooks, really refining our audience segmentation, personas, how can we drive value the most quickly or sort of time to value most quickly for customers. And so my sales experience and my understanding of our competitors and so on, was a really helpful way for me to I guess glide into the role of a product marketer and start contributing pretty quickly. Had that not been the emphasis at Digital Genius in the early part of my time there as a PMM, it might have been a longer time to me contributing, but that certainly helped me in that role.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 6:17
And then in terms of the other areas of the role, was it kind of very much taught on the job? I guess a lot of it will be the part of having your marketing manager, as you say, guiding you through it. But for anyone who's listening maybe, and they're currently in their first product marketing role, or they're looking to get into it, what would your recommendations be for them to hit that first role running?
Phill Brougham 6:38
Yeah, it's a wonderful question. You know, for me, I found that just being proactive about what kind of challenges that you should be addressing and looking really deeply at those challenges and thinking about, you know, who's done this before? How can I learn from those people? How can I canvass people's opinions and ideas from the organization internally? And to sort of drive your own upskilling. Certainly having Jay, my former boss there was a great asset. And he also actually recommended some external sort of content and assets for me that I could upskill on and train and kind of conceptually understand some of these skills and imperatives for a product marketer. But I found that actually there's no substitute for applying those skills in a real-world context. And I found that ultimately, like canvassing opinions and canvassing ideas from internal stakeholders, whether that's the marketing team, the chief revenue officer, you know, the head of product, even the engineers, that canvassing really gives you a wonderful sort of 360 view of what the problem space is, what the opportunities might be, how do customers think about things and it's a great starting point to actually put together your hypothesis and then how you'd approach a problem. And I still do that all the time in my current role and it's something that's served me quite well. So I think certainly consume as much external information and guides and people's testimonials of how they solve problems. There's so much to lean on and so many, you know, I've certainly leaned on it just from Product Marketing Alliance, the work that people have done in areas that I've tried to upskill on, it's been massively helpful. But then you always need to try to take that and apply it to your business context and in doing so, speaking with people who know your business very well, so the internal stakeholders, and then speaking to customers or prospects is also another way to sort of really validate that from an external point of view.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 8:46
Yeah, sure. And then you obviously say you started your product marketing journey at Digital Genius, you've obviously got now your second product marketing role at Trint, and then I always find, it's obviously quite a big talking point and kind of industry-wide thing in product marketing in that the role just varies a lot from not only industry to industry, but product to product, obviously company to company, like how have you found your product marketing role at Digital Genius versus now at Trint, are there a lot of differences between the two?
Phill Brougham 9:12
Actually quite big differences and it's been very stimulating for me to make this transition. Even at Trint in the last year our business has evolved in such a great way that subsequently my focus has changed and evolved many times as a product marketer. At Trint I really focus on the sales enablement piece and making sure that we were, you know, aligned across the business, making sure that we had repeatability in our go-to-market for the sales team specifically. At Trint that became much more of a holistic approach. So that involves sort of redesigning or really putting my stamp on our go-to-market process and trying to set up a repeatable process that would help the business be ready for our launches. It also involved starting to set up our sales enablement functionality, which is something we just didn't have before and how do people find assets? And how do people speak properly about products that are not yet launched or products that we're about to launch, making sure we had that consistency. And then over time that would even evolve into things like doing big sort of customer migrations, or looking at onboarding has been a more recent focus. So definitely quite a wide range of responsibilities as the business has changed and adapted in the last 12 months. And you know, what's been really valuable at Trint is just our product teams methodology and their openness to kind of bringing me in has been massively helpful because I have such great or such a wealth of assets here, given that we actually all of our user calls I am on or am invited to them. So when we're actually looking at testing and building out our wireframes and our alpha products I'm really involved in the entire go to market, but I can also consult these calls in the future because we Trint all of them and so the transcripts are available and I can always reuse them so it's great dogfooding but having that sort of great Nexus and that very helpful relationship with product where they've included me and brought me into their process has made my job so much easier. So that's been a great aspect.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 11:40
Yeah, and then out of curiosity do you kind of role up to product at Trint, who do you report into?
Phill Brougham 11:46
Yeah, so it's a funny one because for a while there was a bit of a yo-yo conversation about this, you know, should I be in the product team or the marketing team? We are a product-led company in many ways however, I do report into the marketing team. And there's something around, I think ensuring that the product is well represented in the commercial part of the business that makes the imperative for me slightly more important to be on the commercial side of the business. So I can kind of be that product ambassador in a sense, and to make sure that we're aligned. And given that I'm quite regularly involved in how we launch our marketing campaigns and how we speak to the market, whether that's in customer marketing, or whether that's in demand generation, I think being embedded in that team is, for me, feels more important. And I feel like I can contribute more there. Although I spend a lot of time on the product side and I usually, when we did have offices a long time ago, I would usually hot desk in between both teams, and it's very important for me to just sit on the product and engineering side of the room, take out my headphones and just listen to the conversations that were happening, and there are so many incidental things that you'd come across that were just these eye-openers or these little gems that I would take advantage of. So I think you should always be in as many camps as possible as a product marketer.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 13:14
And then how have you found that kind of switch of all of a sudden going from being in an office, you know, obviously being able to have the luxury of desk drops, those water-cooler chats, to obviously now everyone working remotely, obviously it affects everyone in an organization but I guess product marketing, specifically, it's so cross-collaborative. How have you found that big switch essentially overnight?
Phill Brougham 13:36
Yeah, it's definitely had its challenges. I think just getting used to the working rhythm and hitting deadlines and being aligned is definitely a different set of pressures and stresses on the process. I think, from my side, what I've probably struggled with the most is how to keep that incidental, as you said the water-cooler chat or you're in the kitchen, you're making coffee and you know, one of the devs comes up to you and you just have an informal chat that leads into something else. And you've got this great idea all of a sudden, from one of your colleagues that you hadn't planned on or hadn't envisaged. And so it's been very difficult to recreate that. So, my approach has been just to try to be as present as I can, you know, calendars permitting, to join these engineering standups, or these product standups and to really, you know, scour Slack, see what people are saying in these different channels. And just try to be as aware as possible, spend time on GitLab where we work and kind of do our engineering work, and for alignment there. So I'm trying to just consume and be present as much as possible and do as much of that work as I can without, you know, letting that or getting too much Zoom fatigue, but then, you know, being much more direct now, so if I do have a question from a product manager, I will just schedule a time with that person, and we'll get on Zoom or ask them if they're available right now. I think in the old world, you could kind of get away with less of that. But there isn't enough... we don't have the luxury of inference anymore or the filtration of ideas is not as smooth as it was. So trying to make that happen is a much more deliberate action on my part.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 15:22
And then in terms of like the actual product marketing team, what does that look like at Trint? I feel like when we spoke maybe a few months ago, you were the sole product marketer, is that still the case at the minute or?
Phill Brougham 15:33
Yes, I am still the sole product marketer. I guess there are a few different remits that I have at Trint that we've tried to carry out. So I'm responsible for all of our product marketing, of course, but then also our kind of content marketing sits under me and our customer marketing too. So we've gone about filling these roles at Trint. So we've got a content writer who I work with who actually produces the content so I'll sort of feed over to her like, "Here are some ideas we've got, here's new products we are running. And here's the campaigns that we're working on let's create a content hierarchy and a content list that we want to get out either for sales or for demand Gen, or for customer success", whoever the intended audience is. And then for our customer marketer, I partner with that person to really drive activation and adoption from across our user base. We have B2C and B2B customers so there's a bit of a challenge there, challenges in a positive way, I think it's really stimulating to think about both audiences in a way that's meaningful to them, but to try and translate to that customer market, "Okay, here's what we're doing. Here are our products that tend to drive to greater lifetime value or to greater adoption, how do we try to get to these 'aha' moments and to do that in a way that is consistent with our brand and a great customer experience?" So, that's the setup for now. But I can see in the next few months hopefully getting another product marketer on board, it would be nice to have a companion.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 17:13
I was gonna say so like being this sole PMM, how do you find that in terms of I guess if you had a product marketing team, you know, if you had an idea or a concept you'd maybe bash ideas around. Who do you go to for that now, would it be those content marketing people that feed up to you or marketing or products? Or like where do you go for that support?
Phill Brougham 17:31
Great question. So I do like to canvass across the business. I find our head of product is a great thought partner, he knows the business and the workflows that we're trying to improve and we're trying to build upon, he knows those workflows super well. He's spoken with and listened to customers for years now so he's got a very intimate view. And he's also very outcomes driven so I'll work with him quite closely. I'll also work with our marketing team very closely. Usually starting with our head of marketing to try to think about some of the commercial and customer implications for what we're doing or thinking about because it's just a different orientation. And then I'll often lean upon our leadership team actually. So going to our CEO, going to our COO for these bigger questions. And of course, head of sales, when that impacts him and his team, but I do try to start small, come up with some ideas myself, test with marketing, test with product, and then bring other people if we do need to consult them.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 18:41
It sounds like you have a good setup in terms of going to leadership, CEO and so on. And then I guess it kind of leads me into my next question in terms of the business-wide view a product marketing, so I know a lot of product marketers, they have people in their company, even if they've been there for a few years they just don't fully understand what it is that product marketing does or the value that it brings to the table. Would you say company-wide at Trint everyone's quite bought into it, they kind of get it? Or is there a lot of education that you have to do around that?
Phill Brougham 19:11
For the most part, people got it. And I think it was less to do with me and more to do with the situation that existed at Trint at the time. Obviously we're still scaling, but, we were at a point in which our teams were... everyone's very generalist. A lot of things were getting missed, you know, the launches are not being well thought out properly. You know, things that just happen at a startup but nothing negative to say, but just that there wasn't a good connection between the engineering and product side and the rest of the commercial end of the business. And so I think that as soon as I started working there and getting into the right habits and meeting with the right people and creating my own rhythm of product marketing, I think it became very clear to people that they could rely on me from an engineering side, for example, to properly release what they've produced, or from the marketing and commercial teams, they could ask me questions about the product, and I would have an answer for them, or I'd have assets ready for them. And actually take what their priorities were and run with that and produce something that they needed. So I think it became very clear to people quickly that this was something that was required in the business and again, not so much for anything that I did, but just more I think for the challenges the business faced at the time. I think once you start to get to areas that are a bit less obvious, right, if there's not necessarily a clear pain point, then there's more education to do. You know, it's like, "Well, why is product marketing involved in this, and what's the benefit here?" I think that becomes more challenging. And getting the communication mix is always challenging because we're a company of about 60-65 people and figuring out, what does the whole business need to know? What's nice to know? And who are the right set of people? Why should they care? There's so much information going around all the time, especially now we're all on our computers and on Zoom and on Slack, making sure people get the right information that they care about is always something to get better at, I think.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 21:24
And then in terms of those relationships with product specifically, I know you mentioned earlier that they're very open with you, and you get brought in quite early. So what does the process of kind of bringing out new products look like and your influence on the roadmap look like? Are you brought in from day one, or?
Phill Brougham 21:42
They bring me in very early to their credit. So we'll do sort of an opportunity mapping very early on. When we think we know what the market wants, what our customers want, and that's just done through collecting feedback from a bunch of different channels. And we actually use ProdPad to store all that and make it accessible and findable. And then we'll sort of slowly put that onto the... or eventually put that onto the roadmap if there's enough of a real customer need. But we start off with these kind of product opportunity kickoffs, and I'm actually involved in those and it tends to be the engineering team that's working on it, the product manager and myself and then depending on the product, actually, sometimes even our management will get involved too, just to sort of really fully explore that problem space. So I'm involved very early on which I hugely appreciate. I'm involved in the user conversations, you know, where we're testing and sort of building out the wireframes. I kind of have licence there to get involved as much as I'd like to but I tend to not, you know, focus too much on things like design and UX. We've got people that are very good at that, that's not really where I can add value. But I'm very curious to hear what do people talk about when it comes to their pain points? And what do they talking about when it comes to blockers and the potential impact of that product, because that's great for me to obviously bring into go to market planning. So there's that element. When it comes to the roadmap, this is definitely an area of growth for myself personally, because I feel that product does a wonderful job at Trint of identifying areas of pain that exist today. And also having some vision that's leading the business forward, there is more work for me to do as a product marketer to be more present in the market and to bring insights into the business that can contribute to that roadmap formulation, and being a more reliable partner to product when they're putting together that roadmap.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 23:54
And then I guess this next one, like it will vary from company to company, but I see there's lots of conversations kind of online and Slack around the crossover between what a product marketer does and what a product manager does and where those lines, although they'll obviously be kind of blurry in the middle, but where those lines begin and end, so to speak. So how does that look for you at Trint with your relationship with product management?
Phill Brougham 24:19
Yeah. I think from Trint, I'm very focused on anything to do with the message, how we express products out in the market, how we enable the business, what do we actually talk about, as a company, as a salesforce, and how do we accomplish those goals. Product, I always ask them for input on that. I'm very curious about their opinions, but ultimately that sits with me. So that's one pretty clear line. From the actual sort of prioritization and the build and the process of putting the roadmap together, that sits mostly with product and that really is their responsibility. So I will have input onto that and my opinion will be asked and we'll stress test all these things together, but they're really responsible for designing and executing on the product vision. So we tend to sort of split off in those ways. And the handoff is very seamless because we're just so involved in each other's workflows. So I think there's a pretty clear understanding from both sides for where we should both be operating and spending our time and it often leads to really good collaborations so that tends to be how we do things a Trint.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 25:44
Yeah, for sure. And then what are those ratios like for you? So how many product managers are there to you as the product marketer?
Phill Brougham 25:52
Yeah so we have three product managers now, we're about to have a fourth one. So four to one, I think we're getting tight now. I think I might need some help pretty soon, especially as we kind of ramp up more of our product build and release. So right now it is manageable but I think as we do more, there's going to be more. And one thing I've learned with these products that we're launching at Trint that are relatively complex, and we have to make them, like any product marketer, you've got to make these products very clear, there has to be an easy reason to buy, the pain has to be real, and so on. To do that, you've got to really be involved early on and you've got to want to be curious about the early stage of what people are saying. So it takes a lot of time. And as much as I love to be involved in all the research, you know, there's just not enough hours in the day with everything else going on. So yeah, as we do more, there's probably some reinforcements required.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 26:56
Yep, for sure. Okay, cool. So next question I ask this in all the Insider podcasts, I'm getting the general consensus that there isn't actually an answer to it, but I'm going to continue asking it anyway. So we get a lot of questions around what the standard day of a product marketer looks like. And there obviously is no standard day, I guess every day will be different. But are there any kind of constants to your day? And I guess this will be very different as well at the minute in the midst of COVID. But yeah, any kind of day to day stuff that will be the same for you or?
Phill Brougham 27:33
Yeah, that is a tough question. I mean there isn't a standard day no, but I do try to keep certain things in place. I try to look at data every day as much as I can. I don't always get to it, but it's something I try to do every morning, looking at usage data, looking at our subscriber numbers, just trying to keep my finger on the pulse a little bit, in terms of what kind of activation are we seeing? What's our usage looking like? And trying to be close to that. So I'll definitely try to do that regularly. And I always try to think about, you know, we've just actually put into place our goals for the second half of the year, and I always try and look at, how am I meeting my goals this week to actually filter up into this major goal for the half-year in this case. And so just trying to stay in touch with that is very important for me. But then other than that, it sort of cascades into pretty broad differences in sort of a day to day, everything from sort of speaking with other teams or working on assets or enablement, doing user surveys, working with people on my team. It's really a big range.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 28:56
Yeah, for sure. And then you mentioned a bit about goals, subscriber numbers, and so on, are they kind of things that you are OKR'd on or like what OKRs do you typically work to?
Phill Brougham 29:08
Yeah, so our OKR processes, we set them as a business first, and then each department will set their own OKRs that obviously feed into the overarching business goal. So in my case, the marketing team will have a set of OKRs but then I myself for my team of myself, content, and customer marketing will then set OKRs that we want to hit, and then obviously that must lead back into the marketing and then subsequently company OKRs, and I found that we've been experimenting with OKRs for about 18 months now, maybe a bit longer actually, but regardless, I think OKRs they have to reach your level and they have to reach you know what you're doing on a day to day basis in a way otherwise they can get a bit lost in the shuffle. So I feel quite good about this half-year in that we've developed some OKRSs that are ambitious, but that are very relevant to our day to day work. So I hope to see some changes there. Excited to kind of hopefully achieve them all. We'll see.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 30:14
Fingers crossed. Okay, awesome. So looking back to I guess when you started in product marketing in your last company to where you're at now with Trint, what would you say are the kind of top three skills that have helped you get where you are today and achieve what you have done within the role?
Phill Brougham 30:33
Okay, yeah, top three skills. So I think one is... I'm not sure we can call this a skill exactly, but I think curiosity has been a really helpful driver for me in terms of really trying to understand you know, why are we building a product? Who is it there for? Why is the customer struggling with this specific problem? Why does that matter? Why are sales not able to sell this? Ot why are our numbers not so great on one metric or another? And that curiosity, I think has been very helpful for me to try to, you know, just, I guess get better. The other thing I would say is I think just communication has been a really important part of my work and probably always will be. And I think I've gotten better at this over the years, but, you know, certainly being able to think about who is your audience both internally and externally, actually, so I started saying this thinking about the internal example but of course, it's highly relevant for anyone external. But you know, thinking about, "Okay, if I'm delivering a presentation to management, how does that need to be different than if I'm just talking to the marketing team or if I'm talking to the whole company", and really starting with a place of, why should someone care, what are the ways to make this digestible, understandable and hopefully compelling, right? So always trying to get better at the communication side as much as I can. And then I think empathy as well, I mean, again, I'm not sure that's really a skill that's maybe more of an orientation. But I think whatever I'm working on, a go-to-market plan, and thinking about, "Okay, well, why should the customer care about this? What's in it for them?" Or if I'm doing a sales enablement, "What is it going to be in here for the sales rep?", especially being a former sales rep myself, "What does that person need to know? And what's gonna make them successful? Or what's gonna be important for our demand generation person, what are the assets they need to actually be successful in their role?" So, trying to just think about other people's points of view, what do they need to work through, and I think that makes me more effective as a product marketer. I'm not sure those are specifically skills you could put on a CV...
Bryony Pearce - PMA 32:56
No, they come up quite a lot, curiosity and empathy, I ask this to everyone in the Insider series, and it's definitely not the first time either of those have come up. And communication as well, that one, I don't think I've done a single podcast where communication hasn't come up. It's obviously so key. But yeah, curiosity and empathy are great shouts as well. And then you mentioned at the start of the pod that there's a lot of skills that you kind of built up from your sales background that are still like super relevant to now your role as a product marketer, which skills like specifically would you say have helped you from your sales background into what you do today? And like, how do you follow those through?
Phill Brougham 33:32
Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, for me, I found that first of all, just an appreciation of the sales cycle and deeply understanding what that looks like, what's required from a sales rep to move from stage to stage you know, how can our product marketing, our marketing, our assets and collateral impact that and to help our close rates, I think that's been really helpful. So when I go into meetings with sales, I have pretty quick credibility because I understand how they run their business effectively. So that's been a great part to build trust, but then also to produce work that's more relevant and useful to them. And I think also that emphasis on commerciality, you know, how much did we close? What was our win rate? What was our conversion rate? For me, it's always just hit closer to home because I had a number on my head and I knew what that was like. But I understand why it matters for the business too. And so I never had to get educated in that in that way, just because it was so ingrained. I also think there's an element of when you're producing... there's a different way to write marketing copy for a website versus for a talk track on a sales slide deck or for when you're actually pitching someone. And I've received many, as a salesperson I received many talk tracks and stuff and thought, "I would just never say that out loud". It was like a robot arachnid or something which will again, it would look wonderful on a website or on a one-pager, but not for in-person conversation. So I think that again I guess it's more empathy, but that sort of ability to condense those ideas has been really really helpful. I would say the other thing, though, is more just in my own practice, so if I'm speaking to Trint users, or if I'm speaking to prospects that we've just done win-loss calls with, a lot of things I learned in sales were actually to, how to have conversations and how to uncover, I guess going through like a discovery call, how do you uncover value? How do you uncover pain? Asking these open-ended questions, asking why, I think we all understand them conceptually, but getting on the phone can be a pressure situation, not everyone's good at it, and I found just this sort of approach of sales through curiosity is very applicable to actually when you're trying to uncover something, obviously, a salesperson is trying to uncover how the solution can be viable to an organization. As a product marketer, I'm doing something very similar, even though I'm not trying to sell I'm just trying to understand. And of course, that can be applied internally, so if someone, my boss, is asking me to do something, I can always say, how do you expect me to do that? Or asking that open-ended question is actually a very good business tool. So it does express itself in some of those areas.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 36:34
And then in terms of those conversations with Trint users, I guess it's obviously time and resource permitting, but how often do you try and actually get on the phone with your customers to have those conversations?
Phill Brougham 36:45
So I try to do it several times a month. It's really not enough. I'd like to be doing this more frequently. And it should be something that I think is weekly, ideally, across a range of different segments just to try to understand actually what is happening in their world, and are all the things that we're missing. So I try to do it as frequently as possible. I'm always sort of chasing our sales team to do win-loss calls. Because we're still trying to create our category and we're still a growing business and I think understanding from prospects, why they're buying and how they're buying, or why they're not buying, in some ways more importantly, I try to do that at a pretty constant clip.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 37:24
Okay, penultimate question, it's a pretty loaded one. But in your opinion, what do you think needs to change about product marketing? Just in general, so not specifically at Trint, just the kind of product marketing industry as a whole?
Phill Brougham 37:39
Yeah, that's a good question. Yeah. I mean, I always find that I think there's a perception problem in general, I think most people say this and I tend to agree, I think a lot of people don't necessarily know what product marketing does, or exactly what they're responsible for. I have a feeling that... I think there's a way of sort of tightening up the role or when people hire product markers, they should be very clear about what they want them to accomplish. And I think sometimes businesses will just set you on your way and just say, "Look, figure it out", and I'm happy to figure out actually, I quite like that. But being cued into the business priorities is really important. So I think being very brief specific with product marketers is very helpful. Because I've had a lot of times where I'm just stretched way too thin and I don't know what the priority is. And it's partially on me to figure that out. But, but I think businesses need to be very clear with their product marketers about what the intention of the role is. Because the impact of a product marketer, again, I'm very bias here, I think it can be very high for a lot of companies. But if you're not putting your best foot forward and you're not working in the way that meets the business expectations and priorities then it can be problematic.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 39:00
Cool, final question. If there were any new or kind of aspiring product marketers wanting to get into the field, listening to this and tuned in, what would your advice to them be to kind of get those early stages right?
Phill Brougham 39:16
Yeah, I mean, I think if you're trying to get into it, I'd say that I've found that there's no wrong place to start from, as a starting point to get into product marketing. Obviously, I came to it through sales and business development, a lot of people obviously get through it just through a general marketing role, or product or so on, I mean, there really isn't a place that disqualifies you as a product marketer. I think if you see that as a transition point for you, and you say, "Okay, look, in a year, I'd like to be a product marketer", look into what the role entails. That's what I didn't do, and again, I was very fortunate to have that experience, but as a salesperson, and then going into a highly focused sales enablement role as a product marketer, I found that if you have that ambition, do the research, do your homework, try and find out what all the different parts of product marketing entail - and there's many, of course, and see where you can start practicing those in your role currently, right? So if you're a business development rep, and you're on the phone all day, can you start to paint a picture of the different personas that would buy your product? If those hadn't been created for you already. Or if you're a marketing person, can you start experimenting with what specific messaging you would set for a product that's launching. Or if you're a product person and you want to become a product marketer, you're building products all the time, how would you see that? What's the best way to actually launch that in the market? Just attempt to do these things. And if you've got a product marketer in house, maybe work with that person a little bit, ask if they would venture you to make that transition, and if not, there's a wonderful Slack group, it's run by the Product Marketing Alliance, people are very friendly in there. I've gotten a lot of help from individuals. So I would utilize resources like that, that are just incredibly helpful. But you know, try and experiment and see where you can put some of these skills into practice every day. And I think if you show that initiative and commitment and that sort of, again, that curiosity, I think people become very impressed by you because it's such an important skill as a product marketer.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 41:26
And for everyone listening, I didn't pay Phill to give that plug for the Slack community, that was voluntary. Okay, awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Phill, it's been really great speaking to you.
Phill Brougham 41:38
Likewise. Thank you so much, Bryony.