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Product marketing questions week #80

Trending Questions | Pricing | Metrics & OKRs

Last week saw the launch of Persona Certified! Our brand new masterclass that explores every element of personas, from use cases to persona pre-work, interview guides to data consolidation, you name it, this masterclass has it!

The reviews are already glowing:

“One word. WOW!!!! And I mean WOW! I wish I had this when I built personas the first and second time. It would shorten the cycle of making them by weeks. Months.” - Igor Kranjcec, Product Marketing Lead at Lemax

Check out the curriculum

We also announced the first report of the year!

State of Product Marketing Leadership Report 2021!

So, if you're a PMM leader reading this right now and you have a few minutes to spare, have your say and complete the survey.

The more responses the meatier the report!

Speaking of responses… let’s check out the sage advice our Slack community has been dishing out this week.

Wanna join a product marketing community this year? Head over to our slack community for real-time responses from fellow product marketers.

Q: Have you had success converting Freemium users to Premium users? How did you do it? I’m interviewing with an EdTech company next week that actually had a 30% conversion rate, but the goal is to increase this. I don’t know yet what they currently do.

A: “Some EdTech companies take a bottom-up approach where they offer a free product to teachers with a limited amount of content.

“When teachers sign up, the company has them enter their school or district and then offer the teachers additional content that can be unlocked when they get a colleague to sign up.

“Then when the company sees there are, let’s say, 10 teachers in the same district, the sales team calls the principal or supervisors to pitch.

“Dear principal, we see that 10 teachers love Edtech Product XYZ to help their students with literacy. Wouldn’t you love to bring this to your campus and help all students?”

Daniel Scibienski, Product Marketing Manager at Ellevation Education

“I'm a Product Marketing Manager at Vendasta and I work with our Product-Led Growth teams. Here are some ideas to help with conversion from free to paid:

“1) Onboarding experience - Is the software easy to use? Do free users understand the benefits, use cases, and features? Sometimes having a bit of hand holding can help your users get to the ‘aha’ moment quicker. Product marketing can help identify the value props, use cases, jobs to be done and refine the messaging here. It takes a lot of trial and error, and it's an on-going process, but can be effective. Make sure you partner with your product manager and product designer to have a solid plan.

“2) Pricing - What's their pricing strategy? Upgrade levers? When was the last time the company revisited it? There may be an opportunity to make changes to value metrics, tiers, and packaging. ProfitWell has some great resources on that.

“3) ICPs - Do they have a defined Ideal Customer Profile? What's the strategy to attract more of these best-fit customers? As a PMM, you own positioning, value props, personas, etc. So you can influence that. Regardless of how you acquire customers on the free plan, if you attract the wrong people, it's less likely they'll turn into paid users. So definitely something to consider.”

Thiago Neres, Product Marketing Manager at Vendasta

“Open View has written quite a bit on the topic, tying it into a larger product-led growth strategy. They advocate for aligning the pay option with value when people are using the product heavily, rather than basic features (for Zoom, it’s getting calls longer than 45 minutes, for Slack it’s saving messages, controls, etc.). Here’s one article that might help.”

Ryan Detwiller, Founder at Scalepath.io

Q: Does anyone have a good template for presenting ROI / the cost-benefit of your product? I have the raw data and levers for cost-saving and revenue gains in a spreadsheet, but I’m looking for inspiration on how to present this in a slide or landing page. Even just sites you’ve seen that do this well would be super helpful!

A: “Have you considered building an ROI calculator, where the prospect fills out their info and the calculator tells them how much they'll save with your solution? I think we did something really cool, check it out!”

Yitzy Tannenbaum, Product Marketing Manager at AlgoSec

Q: My small B2B SaaS company is moving to a self-serve model and is looking to hire someone to own the free trial conversion experience. This person will sit on the marketing team and will be completely cross-functional to really own the first 30-day experience.

Job titles are so subjective but would you expect a job like this to be a PMM? A PM? Something else? Anything else we should think of?

A: “I’d really expect it to be a PMM working with a Growth PM in an ideal world, but if it had to be just one, I’d go with a Growth PM and test for customer problem empathy, data analysis, holistic customer experience thinking.”

James Doman-Pipe, Head of Product Marketing at headstart.io

“I think a Growth Marketer or Engagement Manager would be your best bet if there's only one hire available, possibly working with a copywriter who can take broad value prop themes and write out the copy that you need.”

Brendan O'Keefe, Senior Marketing Director

“At Vendasta we have three divisions: Marketplace, Platform, and Channel Partners.

“The Channel Partners division is organized by squads and one of them is Product-Led Growth. I'm their PMM.

“In our squad, we have four product teams working on initiatives to drive acquisition, activation, and growth of our channel partners. It's really very cross-functional and I work closely with the PMs, but there's nothing special about our job titles.

“Initiatives and projects change based on our quarterly OKRs and overarching themes, but we look at things like the onboarding experience, week one retention rate, and self-upgrade.”

Thiago Neres, Product Marketing Manager at Vendasta

“PM because the focus will be in-app experience, behavioral analytics in the app, changes to the onboarding and UI, product features, etc. Less about TAM growth and SQLs and more about the product experience.”

Dekker Fraser, VP of Marketing at Talkatoo

“I'd view this person to be either a growth PM or a demand generation person who specifically specializes in free trial conversions and in-product messaging if you're working with software.”

Asya Bashina, Senior Marketing Manager at Humatics

Q: We’re working on selecting audiences for some win-loss interview outreach – how do those of you with a free tier of your product define a ‘loss’ for those accounts? These folks don’t often proactively cancel, they just eventually go dormant, so it’s hard to differentiate account abandonment from users who are just slow to adopt the product.

A: “I would define a certain metric (e.g. dormant for > 30 days) as a loss indicator. Even if these prospects come back after that period, you still have a problem at hand with why they left in the first place.”

Gaurav Harode, Founder of Enablix

Q: I work at a B2B healthcare tech company and one of the major pain points with our sales team currently is product screenshots post-sales demo. We have supporting product sell sheets that we can provide to prospects, but I guess it’s a common request to have very specific screenshots of the product for prospects provided to them post demo.

Does anyone have any guidance on the best way to safeguard any product intellectual property but still provide something like this? My team and I have discussed of course watermarking and putting disclosures but I’m just trying to get a feel for what others have found helpful.

A: “I would use a demo org and create 30-second use-case oriented videos that could be shared post-demo. I wouldn't create demos for super unique IP, but you likely have baseline features that your competitors all have, I wouldn't worry too much about your sellers revealing too much there.”

Adam New-Waterson, Fractional CMO & GTM Revenue Leader

A: “It is very hard to safeguard and block competition from seeing your app. No matter how many disclosures you put, your competitor will know (if the prospect plans to share with them).

“Having said that, prospects are also not there to get you. In most cases, they need those screenshots to compare or reference something they saw during the demo. Seeing a tool for the first time for 30 minutes and trying to absorb all the features is impossible.

“In the past, we have created a presentation of screenshots with callouts to important benefits on each screenshot. You can put a disclosure at the start of the deck. This way there is one deck that reps share all the time. And you can keep updating/refining the deck.”

Gaurav Harode, Founder of Enablix

Q: I've recently started working with a new product team and they are struggling to define their roadmap/vision for the product this year. It seems as if the business cases for items in their backlog are weak/unspecific, and they're having a hard time prioritizing the items. I would typically want to see themes (strategic), business impact scoring, something that ties these backlog items together to paint a directional picture and give me something to talk to Sales and ultimately customers about.

That said, as a (newer) PMM, what should I be asking them for? What should I be bringing to the table? How can I help guide their thinking? I'm more comfortable with my role's relationship with Sales and less so, product, so I'm still trying to figure out how I can bring value to the table.

A: “I would ask them to explain what drove them to build these features, or how they think about prioritizing them, perhaps the most important piece for you in PMM, is to constantly push them on the value. Who are you building these for? What's the value they'll get out of it? Are these a competitive advantage for you in any way? Push them to define the benefits in terms of some of your main product pillars.

“With the product team, it's all about working with them to understand who you're building for and why because that helps define the positioning and messaging.”

Asya Bashina, Senior Marketing Manager at Humatics

A: “I've recently started working with a new product team and I encountered similar challenges.

“As a PMM, you can help shape the product's vision and tie that to your company's story / purpose. Who are you building this product for? And why did the company choose to build it in the first place?

“If you have it rolled out to a few trusted testers, try to book interviews with some of them to understand where they see value. What do they like or dislike about it? What would they use if your solution didn't exist? What's missing?

“Talk to your front-line teams too as they will likely have insights on what your customers are looking for.

“What's the industry or category of your product? You can look up alternative solutions on Capterra and G2 and read the reviews to understand what people value and how your product compares. You can even find gaps that you can fill and others don't.

“And last, but not least, think about jobs to be done. Try to understand the problems your customers want to solve, how your product can help them, and what makes you unique.”

Thiago Neres, Product Marketing Manager at Vendasta

A: “Who is your product team listening to and/or getting its ideas from? If the team is building things based on what customers are saying they need, it shouldn't have too many problems deciding what to build (assuming they're capable) and therefore figuring out a roadmap.

“If the team is building things based on what it thinks is cool and therefore should be interesting to customers/buyers, flat growth is the likely outcome. I've been in this situation as the marketer who is trying to build a MQL  pipeline for Sales, and it stinks.

Tom Baumgartner, Marketing Executive

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 #80