Reviewing and refining your work is nothing exclusive to product marketing. Every industry, every team, and every individual’s subject to it, but due to the cross-functional nature of the role, it’s fair to say the options for PMMs trump all others.
Let’s backpedal a little first though and take a look at what we actually mean when we say ‘review and refine’...
Not all opportunities come in the form of a shiny new product or feature. Yes, adding new features to existing products or new products to existing portfolios provides opportunities and revenue streams, but sometimes, honing in on what you’ve already got is enough to inject a little juice into your results.
As we alluded to right at the start of this piece, the options for us product marketers are almost endless, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on reviewing and refining your:
- Internal and external assets
- Uptake of your internal assets
- Product adoption
- Positioning and messaging
- Customer journey
- Buying funnel.
So, let’s dive a little deeper into each.
Internal and external assets
Here are a few examples of each:
Some product marketers will have a larger hand in these than others, but whether you’re writing them from scratch yourself or briefing them into your marketing department, there’s a place for your input.
So, create an inventory of all your assets, go through them with a fine tooth comb, and identify any quick and long-term wins. Do your battlecards contain the info sales reps need to convince prospects? Are your sales scripts actually converting? Are prospects engaging with your landing pages? Do your case studies relate to your buyers’ pain points? Does your product demo do you justice? Is your positioning clear throughout?
There are so many questions you could be asking yourself here, but, of course, it’s not just yourself you should be asking. You need to approach the people who use and see them, so ask your salespeople questions like:
- Are you finding our battlecards useful?
- Is there anything you think we’re missing?
- How are customers responding?
- Are our competitor comparisons easy-to-use?
And so on.
And then ask your prospects and customers (during win-loss interviews) things like:
- What did you think of our product demo?
- What about our marketing materials did/didn’t make you choose us?
- Is there anything you think we’re missing?
All these incremental changes add-up and can amount to big differences over time and in the scheme of things, don’t cost a single cent.
Uptake of your internal assets
You could have the most amazing battlecard that’s ever graced the product marketing planet, but if your internal counterparts aren’t using them, they’re not worth the paper (or Google doc) they’re written on.
It’s on you to ensure your salespeople are utilizing what you’re providing them so don’t just dump it on their desk and run. Check back in. Regularly. If people still aren’t using them, explain and demonstrate their value and put a process in place that makes it as easy as humanly possible for people to start - that could be something as simple as an easy-to-access repository for all your sales enablement assets, for example.
Again, this doesn’t require money, just a bit of due diligence and extra time evaluating how to make existing assets really work for you and others.
“Product adoption is, simply put, the process of helping users see value with your product and establish a habit with it.”
Once you’ve pushed prospects over the purchase line, the hard work isn’t over - you need to make sure they’re using it regularly - and remember, ‘regularly’ will vary from product-to-product. For some, once a month might be regular, for others, every day. First, spend some time working out what that looks like for you.
There are a number of reasons customers might not adopt your product.
- They don’t see the value in it (yes, you still need to continually demonstrate your value post-purchase), and
- They don’t know how to.
With a bit of reviewing and refinement though, both can be addressed.
- Analyze your product adoption data
- Speak to those that aren’t adopting your product, or areas of your product, and understand why
- Look out for any trends
- Put an action plan in place to address any problem points - this could be something as easy as adding a quick ‘how-to’ video to your onboarding sequence.
Remember, customers who adopt your product are more likely to see the value in your product, and customers who see the value in your product stay longer and spend more $$$$.
Personas are the backbone of the product marketing practice, but if they’re out of date, they’ll make for a pretty disjointed spine. To make sure you, sales, marketing, product, engineering, and so on, are targeting the right people with the right thing, your personas must be regularly reviewed.
How will this help?
Future features and products you bring out will be in-line with personas’ wants and needs, which means more people will buy them. Marketing will create campaigns that speak to specific personas’ pain points, and more people will move along the funnel. Salespeople will speak to personas in a way that portrays the unique value you bring to them, prompting more prospects to convert. It’s a win-win-win.
What do I need to do?
Check when you last reviewed your personas (we recommend adding a date field to your docs to make this nice and easy to keep on top of) and if it’s been more than six months or so, get out there and validate their accuracy.
In terms of the ‘how’, pick up the phone, speak to even more prospects and customers, and see if their responses match the information in your existing persona docs.
Positioning and messaging
As with your sales enablement assets, personas, and everything else, positioning and messaging are by no means one-off jobs. What worked a few years ago might not necessarily be effective now, so ensuring they’re always up-to-date is a must.
Simply repositioning or rewording an existing product or feature could be enough to see your conversions soar if it results in your target market actually understanding your value. Think about that.
No development resource. No production time. No finance required. Just picking up the phone, speaking to people, finetuning your unique value areas, and vocalising the results via new messaging.
Easier said than done, we know, but just wait for the business-wide round of applause when the results come in. Because they will if you put the groundwork in.
Obligatory plug: we’ve got 85 mins of course content dedicated to helping you nail your positioning, messaging and storytelling in our Product Marketing Certification program - it was built April Dunford, too #justsayin 🤷🏼♂️
You might’ve already put a strategy in place for onboarding new customers, but the difference between an onboarding process and a successful onboarding process is huge, and the series of events that take place after a customer’s purchased your product are critical.
So, spend some time looking at your product adoption and active user data and then work backward to see what can be done to give those numbers a nudge in the right direction.
For example, if customers are using a certain area of your product once but not returning to use it again, could you trigger a message that reinforces the benefits of said feature? Something like:
“Great job, now you’ve done [X], you’ll be able to achieve/see/do [Y].”
Or prompt then to use it again with something like:
“Hey, we noticed you haven’t done [X] in a while, here’s what you’re missing out on…”
Or, if people aren’t using a certain feature full stop, could it be because they don’t know how to? And if it is because they’re struggling, a quick explainer video or document in your onboarding sequence could solve the problem.
You won’t know the answers to any of these questions unless you get into the thick of your data, analyze it, speak to people, and refine your activity accordingly.
These kinds of basics should be nailed first, but an extension of your customer journey is maximizing your up and cross-sell opportunities to increase each customer’s individual value, and these two come hand-in-hand. By this, we mean if someone’s not using the product they’re already purchased with you, they’re unlikely to invest in another, which is why it’s essential to ensure you’re setting each and every customer up for success at the beginning of their journey with you.
Then, once you’ve mastered that bit, optimize those revenue-driving options. Turn freemium users into paid users. Turn monthly subscribers into annual subscribers. Turn premium annual subscribers into platinum annual subscribers...you get the gist.
Our final point is the buying funnel. There’s a reason we’ve saved this till the end, and that’s because pretty much everything we’ve touched on will play its part in this. Your internal and external assets, personas, positioning, and messaging all impact whether or not a prospect makes it to the next stage of the funnel, and we guarantee there’ll be some quick wins in this process for you to pick up on and address. Consider the following:
- Are you currently targeting different personas with unique touchpoints?
- Is your messaging consistent throughout the funnel?
- Are you equipping sales with the tools they need, when they need it?
- Is your positioning crystal clear in your prospect-facing materials?
- Are you providing prospects with everything they need to make a decision?
- Are you looking for prospects in the right place?
- Is the length of the sales cycle too long or short?
The questions are almost endless, but make sure you’re asking them to yourself, your sales teams, your prospects, and your customers.
That’s a wrap from us and we’ll round off this article by highlighting these, of course, aren’t the only areas you should be reviewing and refinings, they’re just a selection of some of the core components product marketers can influence, but areas like pricing, segmentation, case studies, campaign components, and so on, all require regular attention too.