A few years ago, I had just wrapped up a hectic Friday afternoon that looked like this:
- An impromptu call from Mandy, the Sales Manager, urgently requesting a step-by-step video showing our users how to implement our latest feature
- A Slack from Mark, the VP of Product, asking PMM to conduct user research to help the product management (PM) team design a new feature
- A 4 pm meeting with Andrea, Director of Support, asking for 10 new customer service email templates
Needless to say, I was looking forward to the weekend.
As I ate dinner that night, I realized two things:
- Product marketing shouldn’t be responsible for these requests.
- These requests were low on my priority list.
The issue is that product marketing lives at the intersection of product, sales, marketing, and customer success, so when those teams need something, they go to you – in other words, PMM can easily become the catch-all for every other team in your company.
That means a lot of meetings, Slack messages, and calls end with a new request for product marketing. The requests feel never-ending and it’s impossible to do them all.
The following Monday, I told my manager I was going to create a product marketing team charter to clarify what the product marketing team does and then present it across the company to get alignment.
Here’s how I did it – and how you can use my PMM team charter template at your company to do the same.
Step one: Define product marketing
Every PMM will agree with this one undeniable truth – product marketing is different at every company.
So, it’s up to you to define what product marketing will focus on and (equally important) what you will not focus on.
That felt like a daunting task the first time I did it, so I started with gathering data. I looked at PMA’s definition of product marketing and found the responsibility breakdown (below) to be a helpful starting point.
The rest of my time was spent:
- Asking the PMM team for their ideas – Along with the more standard responses, they mentioned product-led growth (PLG) and community.
- Circling back with my manager – He mentioned we didn’t have the bandwidth to tackle community and that PLG was an initiative for next year, so I removed those from the list.
- Reading the latest company strategy documents – To remind myself of the company’s key objectives. (Note: Remember to read the marketing and product teams' charters to ensure alignment.)
- Speaking with the CEO – To get a sense of the board’s direction and priorities for the company.
- Speaking with the leaders of key departments to get their feedback and buy-in – For me, that was sales, product, marketing, customer success, and customer education. This was a critical step that really honed how I defined PMM and the key areas we should focus on.
Here’s how I ended up defining product marketing at my B2B company:
Product marketing lives at the intersection of sales, customer success, marketing, and product.
We combine market, customer, and competitive insights with product innovation to create a crystal-clear narrative and winning go-to-market strategy.
Our goals are to increase revenue, product adoption, and customer retention.
Is that right for your PMM team? Probably not. You have to customize it to your company’s objectives and needs.
With a high-level definition of PMM checked off my list, I focused on breaking that down into key focus areas.
Step two: Identify key focus areas
I started thinking through what PMM really meant at our company.
PMM efforts started with understanding our customers, the market, and our competition. Everything stemmed from that deep understanding – from what product built, to how we created, positioned, and messaged, to how we launched products, to how sales sold those products, to how we encouraged adoption.
That felt like a good summary, so these became the key focus areas. My team and I fleshed that out a bit to come up with this:
Step three: Allocate responsibilities across the team
Next, we had to figure out what each product marketer would manage. Now, organizing PMM teams is a meaty topic.
The most common methods of organizing teams are by function, product, segment, outcome, or alignment with product managers.
Which option you choose depends on your company stage and size, breadth of responsibilities, number of products, the size of your team, and more. It’s too complex to explain in this article, but here’s how PMA breaks it down.
At my company, we took a hybrid approach to meet our needs:
- Two PMMs focused on specific products
- One PMM focused on a specific customer type
- One PMM focused on a specific function
We included this in a slide, so the rest of the company knew which PMM to reach out to.
Step four: Lay out who you work with
To encourage other departments to work with PMM, we included a slide with the teams we worked with the most. This will vary depending on your company, but typically includes product, marketing, sales, and customer success.
During the company presentation, we shared three examples of collaborating with other teams. In departmental meetings, we used three more relevant team-specific examples.
Step five: Gauge your success
We also wanted to clearly show how our team evaluates success. This is where you want to include key OKRs, metrics, or other ways your PMM team determines success.
My team didn’t have great overall measures of success in place and ended up using situation-specific measures, including attach rate for a complementary product, usage metrics for a new feature, upsell revenue from a marketing campaign, etc.
While those are fine, I’d suggest sticking with higher-level measures of success when possible. If you use objectives and key results (OKRs), this is a perfect place to leverage key results.
Here are a few ideas for success metrics you can use:
- Sales win rate: XX%
- Number of deals won/number of qualified opportunities.
- This measures whether the sales team is converting opportunities well and gives you a sense of whether your positioning and messaging resonate
- If the win rate is not increasing (or staying steady), you’ll want to reevaluate your messaging, specifically reviewing the pitch deck, talk track, sales collateral, and objection handling.
- Note: This is typically a shared goal with sales.
- Product usage: XX% weekly average users (WAU) and XX% monthly active users (MAU)
- Measures whether your customers are using your product regularly. I suggest combining this with Net Promoter Score (NPS) for a fuller picture of user engagement.
- Compare average engagement (WAU/MAU & NPS) for customers that renewed in the last six months to average engagement for customers that churned in the last six months.
- Determine the ideal level of engagement based on that comparison and work with customer-facing teams to ensure users achieve it; this will help minimize churn.
- Note: This is typically a shared goal with product, customer success, and customer experience.
- Sales enablement usage: >XX%
- This measures whether sales reps are using the sales collateral you create via a sales enablement platform like Seismic, Showpad, or Highspot.
- There should be a correlation between sales collateral usage and meeting/exceeding quota.
- Website conversion rate: >XX%
- Number of conversions/total number of visitors.
- Measures how effective your website’s positioning and messaging is.
- If it’s decreasing, revisit your website’s messaging.
- Note: This is typically a shared goal with Corporate/Brand Marketing and Demand Generation.
Again, these are examples. You’ll have to choose success metrics that make the most sense for your team and company in your team charter.
You’ll also want to do some qualitative research by talking to customers, prospects, and internal stakeholders to determine whether your content is resonating.
Step six: The proof is in the pudding
At this point, I felt pretty good, but figured I’d get some feedback from a colleague before moving forward. She mentioned that while the concepts were clear, it didn’t feel concrete and suggested I add a few real outcomes to bring it to life.
I added a few visual examples – a product page on the website, a one-pager, and a screenshot of the in-app onboarding process – along with key stats showing the outcomes each item had.
Step seven: Share, share, and share some more
Finally, my team was ready to share our PMM team charter.
After aligning with my manager and C-Suite, my team and I presented it on the next company call as well as in smaller meetings with key departments. We also shared it on key Slack channels and added it to SharePoint for reference.
Step eight: Review, revisit, and revise
One point to remember is that for your PMM team charter to be effective, you have to use it. Your charter should be referenced before your team agrees to new requests. If the new initiative doesn’t align with your charter, then you’ve got a valid reason to decline the request. This is easier said than done (especially when the request comes from the Chief Product Officer), but you can use the charter as the basis for your conversation.
A good rule of thumb is to share it with each new leader that joins your company.
About twice a year, revisit the charter with your team and manager to determine if it needs to be revised to align with changes to your team or company objectives.
Good luck creating your own product marketing team charter! Hope this template helps.