This article is based on a presentation from the Product Marketing Trailblazers event, from December 2021. Catch up using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your member dashboard.

Hi, everyone! My name is Trevor Pyle, I'm the Director of Product Marketing at Quantum Metric, and I could not be more excited to talk to you about something near and dear to my heart: maintaining the field connection.

I’m going to give you some tactical ways to create amazing relationships with sales. Then I’ll show how you can use those relationships to bolster the product marketing programs that you, your internal stakeholders, and your customers all care about.

Building a great relationship with sales

Now, before we get started, there’s something you should know about me: I'm very opinionated when it comes to barbecue. Great barbecue means cooking low and slow, and that takes time and energy. It’s the same when you’re building a relationship with sales – you have to invest a lot of time and energy.

The first ingredient you need as you go about creating this great relationship is empathy. Keep in mind that sales is hard. There's a ton to remember, the competitive landscape is always changing, and there are all these different marketing programs, from events to product launches.

On top of all that, especially in enterprise sales, you're constantly navigating the politics of any organization that you're selling into.

With all this going on, we need to leave our egos at the door, listen to sellers, and truly understand their world. Let’s look at a few tactical ways you can do this.

Boots on the ground

The first way to build empathy with sales is through what I call the boots-on-the-ground approach. This sounds a bit tedious, but I promise it can be done.

I was employee number 60 at Quantum Metric, and we’ve since grown to 400. As you can imagine, we've hired more than a couple of salespeople along the way, but I still make the effort for myself or a member of my team to connect with every single seller, sales executive (SE), account executive (AE), and sales development representative (SDR) that comes through the door.

This is so important for building a relationship because it shows that we're approachable, we care about them and their success, and we want to understand their world.

Secondarily, if these folks are experienced sellers, they might already know a ton about our customers and our target audience. We need to get with them to understand where they've sold in the past, particularly if they’ve sold for a partner or a competitor.

Something as simple as a 15-minute chat over coffee means that this person will see product marketing as a valuable research resource that they can reach out to, and we’ll be able to do the same.

Beyond that, joining sales calls is a great way to learn about the challenges that sellers are dealing with. You can leverage tools like Gong to listen to a call every day and put yourself in the shoes of your sales folks and customers.

Lastly, it’s important to onboard new product marketers like AEs. Product marketers at Quantum Metric don't have the simplest onboarding program because it involves a ton of product, marketing, onboarding, sales, and solutions engineering knowledge, but that's vital because it builds the empathy we need to be successful and maintain those relationships.

Revenue enablement partnership

The other part of relationship building is all about partnering with your revenue enablement team. We're fortunate to have an incredible revenue enablement team here at Quantum Metric, and we do everything we can to support that team.

This means helping to craft onboarding content and running various onboarding sessions. That helps us put a face to the programs we care about, from customer stories to pricing and packaging to competitive analysis. This is crucial for point-in-time activities like launches, as well as ongoing enablement.

Let’s talk channels

We’ve done a little bit of the prep; now let's get cooking and talk about the tools of the trade: our channels.

As Quantum Metric was scaling, we saw that marketing and partner teams each had their own programs, and they were all hitting sales at once.

We soon realized we needed to create some reliable and predictable dedicated channels that would bring all these programs together and make it easier for sales to find and process the information they need to be successful.

With this in mind, we worked with our revenue enablement teams to create a weekly enablement newsletter where we consolidate all of our updates from freshly baked content to new events, product updates, and market intelligence and put it all into one email that's referenceable and searchable. We cross-post the newsletter to Slack as well.

We also have purpose-built Slack channels, which have been incredibly helpful. We have channels for outbound communication, where product marketing shares new content, programs, and pricing updates that sales needs to be aware of. We also have two-way channels, where we can have a dialogue with sales and have them drive the conversation.

Of course, it doesn't always work perfectly, but having channels with dedicated purposes (and referencing that in onboarding) helps to coordinate our efforts and make these channels more effective.

Finally, we have recurring enablement sessions in which we partner with the enablement team to share new product updates, market updates, and win-loss analyses.

We bring voices from the field into everything we do here, whether that’s an SE who ran a great demo or an AE who nailed how we differentiate against a certain competitor.