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Product marketing questions week #71

Trending Questions

This week we announced the launch of PMA Pulse! An insightful look into the best product marketing tools out there, as voted for by the PMA community.

It focuses on key areas including, competitive intelligence, sales enablement, project management, customer onboarding and customer and market research. So if you're looking for some game-changing recommendations, be sure to check it out.

Before you head over to PMA Pulse, let’s get stuck into this week’s talking points!

If you're not in Slack already, get in on the action (for free!) here.

Q: I'm currently working as a PMM but in a non-traditional way.

There are two product marketers on the team, one of us focuses on the pre-sales side of business and another on the post-sales. This makes sense to some degree, but I'm a bit removed from the go-to-market (GTM), competitive intelligence, and rarely ever contribute to website development. I'd say I'm focusing on marketing support for product adoption, GTM product release messaging to clients, and customer lifecycle experience. In your experience as PMMs, is that common? I know PMM roles vary from company to company, I'm just curious to know if my experience in my current role is not as uncommon as I think it is.

A: “In-app retention, adoption, product release and lifecycle is even more important for PMMs. If you move any of these numbers you'd be hailed in the company.

I don't think it's uncommon, folks who know the product the most get such positions.”

Aazar Ali Shad, Head of Growth at Userpilot

“I would say that while your situation may be common in some companies, it's not ideal. Without having you involved in GTM strategy, the company may be limiting results. Perhaps you can find a way to convince your boss that you will produce greater results if you are involved from the beginning.”

Eileen Licitra, B2B Product Marketing & Revenue Enablement Consultant/Fractional Leader

Q: During the discovery phrase when we have 0 clients, how do we research data on prospective clients? My concern is that we may or may not be correct when crafting the persona. People who we think might purchase the product/ service might not be people who actually do.

A: “I personally have not been in this situation. I would think that you have a hypothesis about a customer segment that your product fulfills a need for. I would still conduct interviews/market research and use those interviews to validate and see if you are truly fulfilling their needs. PMMC has some great questions to ask around what their needs and challenges are. Another way is to attend conferences, but that is no longer happening with COVID.”

Ashley Klepach, Product Marketing Manager

“You’d have to reach out to people that you think are your target personas and request time to speak with them. I’ve done this before and was basically reaching out to people on Linkedin and via networking to ask for a few mins of their time to help me better understand the market and their needs. I have also been contacted by others in the same situation asking for my time to validate startup ideas and to ask more about what’s like to be in a certain role. In some cases you may need to add an incentive, like an Amazon gift card for their time so that you get more responses. The other thing you could do is network with other product marketing professionals that belong in the target industry and ask them to share their learnings about those personas (as long as they are not working for a competing product, of course).”

Daniel Kuperman, Head of Product Marketing, Jira Align at Atlassian

Q: If you have a separate sales enablement team embedded within the sales org, how do you typically share roles & responsibilities between sales enablement and product marketing? We're still building out both functions here and I'm anticipating we'll need more clarity around this in the months to come.

A: “Generally what we see is that sales enablement owns creation and delivery of enablement programs. eg. they'll decide what onboarding looks like, what happens when, what success looks like, etc. PMM becomes more of an SME for enablement to leverage. Poor executions of this type of relationship relegate PMM to content creation only. Good versions of this dynamic are when product marketing is used as a true expert, rolling out insights which are then taken by the sales enabler and served to the sales team in the best possible way (which the enabler will know and a PMM will not).”

Spencer Grover, Senior PMM at LevelJump

“In my experience there are two types of sales enablement teams. They are either focused on improving sales effectiveness and will be very involved in helping PMMs create the right content for the different sales reps/roles or they will be mostly focused on delivering training and pushing out content that the PMM creates. This might also be a function of how enablement in general is seen by the sales leadership. I’ve seen very different models over the years and it also tends to depend on whether the sales team is hitting their numbers or not.

If you can help shape what sales enablement will be, one way to do it is to ensure that PMM owns the messaging and is the SME on product and market like Spencer mentioned. Sales enablement would help by a) identifying what reps need; b) defining how to get the knowledge over to them and at which frequency; c) measuring knowledge retention. In other words, while PMM owns content and messaging, the sales enablement team needs to make sure it is in the right format, answering the right questions, and delivered in the right way. They will also track effectiveness and get back to PMM on what works and what doesn’t work based on field observations and role-plays.”

Daniel Kuperman, Head of Product Marketing, Jira Align at Atlassian

Q: I'm looking for some help on clarifying the B2B offering of a tech company that offers a lot of products, which has become somewhat confusing. We're looking at removing public-facing product names and instead presenting four key solutions made up of different tech pieces. I’d like some insight/intel to work out whether this may just cause more confusion than clarity.

A: “I find people are much more confused about a litany of product names than a product that has components. Your streamlining the naming won't be more confusing to anyone except your early adopters, who will get over it quickly.” Adam New-Waterson, Fractional CMO & GTM Revenue Leader

Q: I feel a bit stumped on creating fresh battlecards for my sales team. I know the anatomy and what goes on them, but has anyone experienced sort of a "writers block" on creating battlecards against your competitors? Any tips welcome!

A: “Focus on your main competitors. Sit with your AEs to understand where they’re getting beat. Reach out to your product team about how you can reposition your solutions to speak to the key benefits that only you can provide. The key of differentiation is in the details.”

Andres De La Rosa,  Product Marketing Associate at Vibes

“A wise French mathematician once said, "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter". The battle card is the shorter letter. Done right, you should have way more intelligence than would ever fit on a 1-2 page document. It's about sorting through the nice to know and identifying the need to know. Sales is a great place to get this perspective. Include star performers, and those further down the chain that have potential to become stars with the right enablement. Most cases I've found CI folks think they want gritty details, when really they want to know what to say.”

Brady Jensen, Strategy Consultant

Written by:

Emma Bilardi

Emma Bilardi

Emma is a Manchester-based freelance writer. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, and in the last few years predominantly about product design.

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Product marketing questions week #71