Katherine Kelly

AMA: Benchling Head Of Product Marketing, Katherine Kelly on Building a Product Marketing Team

May 19 @ 10:00am PST

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Top Questions
What's the most effective way to scale a PMM team beyond the first PMM?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
Make sure every early hire you go for has a clear "mission" - what are you going to get from that person. What problem are you going to target them at. Once you start to get past hiring to solve specific problems - refer to my other answer about how you think about coverage of market / product in...more
In hiring additional Product Marketing Managers, is it more important that they have PMM experience, or that they're a well-rounded marketer/communicator?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
I've really come to value true product marketing experience in my more senior hires. It's really nice to have a few folks on the team who know the drill. But I've also found that my PMM teams tend to skew more senior overall, each person is sort of in charge of an area and as such you want a more...more
When building a new PMM organization, what are the most important things to focus on when getting started?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
IMPACT. So often product marketing teams get snowed under by trying to do all the things. They focus on completeness. They want to have every box checked. But they have no idea if any of it is working. Every other team in the business will have endless needs - endless requests - of PMM, but you h...more
When thinking about adding new talent to your team - how do you structure focus areas? Customer lifecycle stage? Persona? Areas of the product? Functional expertise?
We only have one product at HoneyBook but PMM does a lot of different things, ie, lifecycle marketing, research, competitive, feature launches, etc.
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
Ooo this is a great question. And I have a great answer - it depends! In all seriousness - I've long been a believer that there's no perfect model for a PMM team, it really comes down to the needs of the business and maturity of the organization. As a general rule of thumb, I like to have a...more
If your product marketing team is only or two people responsible for covering multiple products with complex features, how would you recommend dividing the workload in the short-term so as best to support long-term growth and expansion of the team?
(context: small company, still establishing product marketing function, no senior marketing leader to guide, lots of room to carve own path, looking for best ways to support success!)
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
Fun! It sounds like you have so much potential for impact. I would recommend looking at your external and internal factors. So it'd be tempting with a "complex" feature set to say - split it into equal sets of product to become expert in. But the thing is - I may be unpopular for saying this -...more
What's the biggest weakness you see among experienced candidates for product marketing positions?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
I'll tell you a few of the red flags that immediately turn me off a candidate: 1. too many "I" statements. PMM is so collaborative, so cross-functional...if you are making it sound like YOU did all this stuff on your own, either I fully doubt it, or in fact that tells me something was wrong. ...more
With the job market so hot, how do you structure the recruiting process to go slow enough for you and the team to evaluate several people and fast enough not to lose them to another company?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
I've pretty much been consistently hiring for the last several years. I almost always have that "I'm hiring" thing on my LinkedIn (It's there right now!!) Here are a few tips: * Be transparent - if you like a candidate, tell them straight up and tell them where you are in the process. ask the...more
How do you retain good talent, especially when PMM role are in such high demand across the industry
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
I focus on the fundamentals: 1. Opportunity - how does each person on the team have opportunity to grow? 2. Appreciation - so many ways to show appreciation, big and small 3. Prioritize the person - work is work, life is bigger. walk the walk on making it work for them to prioritize thei...more
How do you create and reenforce a culture for you product marketing team as you scale it? And what does yours look like?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
For me, I have to be intentional here. Because it's so easy to get sucked in to the work and just surviving from deadline to deadline. But you have to put it to the forefront and make it a priority.  One thing I like to do is involve the team in determing the values we'll prioritize, that way ...more
Describe the best PMM team you've been part of, and what aspects made it stand out from the rest. What are some things we could actively employ to our own teams to make it the best PMM team they've been part of?
Katherine Kelly
Head of Product Marketing at Benchling | Formerly ExactTarget (Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Zendesk, Slack, Salesforce
Trick question! All my teams have been equally fantastic and I love them all the same. BUT I would say that one thing I focus on is trying to develop PMM teams that know how to collaborate. There's a lot of focus on "coverage" and areas of ownership -- but in all my teams I've forced matrices ...more