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I'm a first-time PMM leader at a pre-IPO company; what KPIs should I own and not own?

2 Answers
Grant Shirk
Grant Shirk
Cisco Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Campus Network ExperiencesJuly 6

This is related to that "first PMM" problem, but it's amplified as a leader. Product marketing at a startup needs to drive the conversation about who you're marketing to, why they care, and how you're unique, but you have to do that quickly and show some early wins.

If you're stepping in to help amplify the work of an existing team, there are probably some objectives you're going to inherit. Job 1 is to understand better than everyone else how those are measured and where the data comes from. No data is perfect, but consistency matters the most at this stage.

"Pre-IPO" is a loaded term. But, even just simplifying this down to "privately held," you have growth metrics that someone is looking at. Your goal is to improve growth. Establish whether you can accelerate growth faster through:

  • Accelerating pipeline creation (find more deals),
  • Improving conversion rates through sales (win more deals), or
  • Increasing average deal size (make deals more valuable)

We haven't talked about the third much, but I think this is one of the most overlooked (and most critical) areas of impact PMM can have. It's incredibly rewarding and fun to work with sales and customers directly to find out how to show the true value of your product, and turn that into bigger lands. Robin Daniels, a good friend, mentor, and the CMO over at Matterport always likes to say "be Sales' best friend." Increasing their paycheck on every deal? Great place to start.

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Christine Sotelo-Dag
Christine Sotelo-Dag
ThoughtSpot Senior Director of Product MarketingAugust 2

Start with understanding the needs of the business. There are some pre-IPO orgs that are heavily focused on product led growth and therefore your metrics and KPIs should map towards product adoption, onboarding, time to value, etc.

However, if you're joining an organization that is more of a sales-led organization - you may be closer to the sales and marketing key metrics and therefore tracking KPIs that are tied to top of funnel metrics.

Regardless, make sure you have a clear understanding of the key focus areas for your business, how that ladders down to marketing, and the role of product marketing in supporting those goals.

I mentioned this in a previous answer, but if you are working closer with the sales org, look at KPIs that support lead acquisition and lead conversion, revenue, awareness.

If you are closer to the product side of PMM, think about product onboarding, adoption, engagement, and awareness.

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