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AMA: Veeva Systems Former Director of Product Marketing, Abdul Rastagar
on How Product Marketing Represents the Voice of the Customer (VOC)
May 07 @ 10:00am PST

View AMA Answers

Market Research With Abdul Rastagar, GTM Lead at Benchling
Top Questions
What types of research do you do to gather voice of customer insights?
GTM Lead at Benchling
First off, nothing beats primary research. Monitoring digital behavior, conducting focus groups, building customer advisory boards, embedding yourself into the customer’s ‘native’ environment, conducting win/loss interviews, visiting clients on site, interviewing your various customer-facing team...more
How do you develop a voice of customer (VOC) program when there is only an ad-hoc feedback process in place?
GTM Lead at Benchling
That’s a great question. A full, NPS-style VOC program with a closed-loop feedback system is quite complex and requires dedicated people, processes and systems to execute. It’s a major, long-term initiative that should be driven by the C-Suite and has to be part of the organization’s cultural DNA...more
What are common mistakes that you see product marketing teams make when starting a VoC program in their company?
GTM Lead at Benchling
I think the biggest mistakes with starting a formal VOC program are 1) to do it without truly knowing what the goal is, and 2) to not secure CEO-level buy-in. If you don’t do the first one, then how will you know where to focus or how to measure the impact? And second, if you don’t get that commi...more
What ways do you use your Voice of Customer insights / data internally?
GTM Lead at Benchling
VOC is used in a wide variety of ways. Some examples include guiding product development, building personas, message refinement, content development, targeting campaigns, sales training, educating customer support teams and much more. Most importantly, perhaps, is that it allows your teams to bui...more
What's your best practice for making sure competitive, personas, and market research info is always up-to-date, moving from product marketing to sales materials?
GTM Lead at Benchling
This really requires a dedicated effort and should be owned by Product Marketing. Different industries change at different paces – in some cases, a quarterly review process is needed, in other case, it might be less frequent. It really depends. Product Marketing needs to keep a close pulse on cus...more
How do you measure the effectiveness of your personas?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Measuring effectiveness around anything, including personas, starts with knowing what the goal is. Why are you building personas in the first place? Some common uses for personas tend to be for message development, sales training, product design or campaign creation. But there are plenty of other...more
How do you drive culture change with market research?
I'm hoping to influence Product and Design to talk to users more and build a clear picture of our user. The team will often refer to themselves as "the consumer" when they're not in our target demographic?
GTM Lead at Benchling
This is concerning to hear. Unless you have the next Henry Ford on your design team, this mentality will ultimately lead to a poor product-market fit. That’s not saying that your design team should not have a voice at all – they may have a solid product vision and if they are market experts, the...more
How would you suggest someone become a product marketing leader? What would you suggest for someone trying to become a product marketing manager?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Going from an individual contributor to a manager is a big step in anyone's career. Everyone has an idea of what the ideal manager looks like. First and foremost, you have to have the product marketing skillset so that you can ensure you are driving your team from a place of excellence. After tha...more
How do you start an effective Voice of Customer (VoC) program on a shoe-string budget?
GTM Lead at Benchling
VOC doesn't have to be expensive at all, it just needs to be programmatic. You can get customer insights from a wide variety of sources, including digital behavior monitoring (campaign responses, website tracking, social media, etc.), customer focus groups and user group meetings, win/loss interv...more
What is the best way for a B2B marketer with a background in the life sciences industry to transition to a Product Marketing role with an organization like Veeva Systems if they do not have direct product marketing experience? Is industry experience or title of 'Product Marketer' more important?
In other words if someone has the life science industry experience + familiarity with cloud operating systems such as CRM, in more of a generalist marketing background, including some responsibilities that cross over into product marketing ,however has not had the title of Product Marketer, what advice would you give them? Would some hiring managers be open to a background such as this within Veeva Systems from what you have seen ?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Rather than answering this about my current employer specifically, I’ll say more broadly that it depends on the company, the hiring manager’s specific needs, the corporate hiring philosophy, the employment market conditions and more. That may not be a satisfactory answer but it is truthful. Havin...more
How do you figure out how to segment your market? Do you look at data, research or something else to drive your decision?
GTM Lead at Benchling
Data should always inform decisions, though it’s OK to supplement it with some qualitative insights driven by observations of market trends. It’s not good enough to simply let the most senior person define the segmentation. Segmentation is relatively easy if you are focused on one specific vertic...more
What role should a customer advisory board have in influencing your product roadmap, and why?
Product marketing owns the customer advisory board but product management owns the roadmap.
GTM Lead at Benchling
You’re describing a common situation. Customer advisory boards (CABs) represent an important channel for bringing VOC into your organization, not just for immediate product development but also to understand overall trends in the market. Before convening your CAB meeting, product marketing and pr...more
Ask Abdul About
  • Leading with VOC
  • Programmatically capturing and analyzing VOC
  • Interpreting VOC
  • Impacting the roadmap with VOC
  • Customer advocacy and referencing