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What advice do you have on stakeholder mgmt for small PMM teams (i.e. 1-3 ppl) that are coupled with larger, growing stakeholer teams (i.e. sales =15-25; CS = 20-30; Product = 8-12; marketing = 5-10)?

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Amazon Product Marketing SME, AWSFebruary 9

Great question! This is a common scenario for growing organizations. As a smaller PMM team, you'll have to work to set project priorities. This is not an easy tasks, but what helps is being transparent and communicative with your teams across Product, Sales, Marketing and others. 

For growing organizations, work with your Sales Department to understand their biggest pain points and align on where you as a PMM can best support. Prioritize the feedback and the work you're able to take on vs what you might have to revist or commit to later. This conversation seems obvious, but keep having it. Set up recurring touchpoints (even if for 15min) to hold each party accountable to what was committed. 

Finally - Be consistent and meet your deadlines. This is important when building a fostering trust across the organization. Trust is fundamental to establishing strong relationships. When working with your stakeholders be clear about expectations, deadlines, roadblocks, and deliverables.

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Stacey Wang
Stacey Wang
Ironclad Director of Product MarketingJuly 1

Anchor on the highest priority for the company, versus any one team. One of the hardest but also most liberating things about product marketing is that we are an inherently flexible function. Our skillsets are diverse, so we can quickly get into formation behind whatever is most important and strategic to the company at any given point in time. This is our greatest strength (and, if handled poorly, our greatest weakness), so don't let it go to waste! If the most important initiative at the company is revenue, make yourself indispensable to sales by holding your team to sales targets. If it is building a revolutionary product, prioritize product. Whatever you do, do not try to be everything to everyone. That just results in a lot of "RAM" (random acts of marketing) that don't make clear to anyone what you're actually good for.

286 Views
Nate Franklin
Nate Franklin
Hex Head of Product MarketingJanuary 26

You have to align on what priorities you are working on and when. I even suggest having a sort of PMM roadmap. If you can get that agreed to at the leadership level then it will be a lot easier to have conversations with your stakeholders across teams.

There are always going to be firedrills you have to jump on, but by driving alignment and visibility at the leadership level you can make sure those are the exception not the rule.

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Jarod Greene
Jarod Greene
Vivun Chief Marketing OfficerAugust 10

While it might be easy to find industry standards on the number of PMMs per stakeholder team, I find the better marker to be the number of products in the portfolio, segments served, geographies, or even industries. Small teams can pack a mighty punch if swim lanes are clear and roles and responsibilities are understood. For example, a PMM team of 3 with respective focuses on core product marketing (use cases, value props, enablement, release/launch, pricing, etc.) audience/portfolio marketing (segment, geo, new biz/customer, etc.), and competitive (differentiation, dispositioning, strategy) can serve a growing set of stakeholders effectively, and as the team proves value, will scale with the rest of the organization. 

268 Views
Lauren Hakim
Lauren Hakim
Zendesk Group Product Marketing Manager, AIJanuary 19

PMM sits at the intersection of these various stakeholder teams and keeps them aligned. No matter how big or small your company is, you likely have similar stakeholders that you need to manage and communicate with. To be effective, product marketing needs to have a voice across the company.

I’ve always found it valuable to forge trusting relationships with someone in sales leadership, product leadership, etc. Make sure you’re communicating with them on a regular basis. With product, catch up regularly on upcoming releases, voice of customer, strategic launches, etc. With sales, review performance, key customer wins, strategic campaigns, etc. Having a regular cadence with these teams while bringing them valuable insights and a unique POV will ensure PMM has a seat at the table.

1525 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingMarch 5

That ratio seems about right for PMM teams in general ;) PMMs are always going to be outnumbered by other teams!

Oftentimes, the biggest issue for PMM is needing to navigate stakeholder requests. Why can't we launch this product now? Can you help with this sales deck? We're having trouble getting our customers to adopt this feature; can we run a campaign here?

It's hard to manage stakeholders to turn their tactical requests into strategic partnerships. It's really all about providing visibility into what you're working on long- and short-term. That way, people understand how you're prioritizing your work and the tradeoffs that need to be made if you change those plans. Here are two tools that help me say "no" but provide context:

  1. Share your mid- and long-term plans. Share them with the leaders of the teams, and ask for their input. This gives you an opportunity to explain how you're prioritizing your time, and communicate how you're tying your projects to business goals. This is super helpful so that if people ask for a tactical request, you can point them to a plan that will highlight either A) how their request maps back to a larger initiative or B) see if that request should be prioritized above any of your larger strategic projects ("that's a great idea. we're working on a few other high-priority items. Do you think I should deprioritize xyz to be able to tackle your request this quarter?")

  2. Give a centralized place for teams to submit short-term requests to the team. This one is going to be controversial, I already know it. "But doesn't this turn PMM into a service organization?!". Not if you manage the requests right (and couple it with that more strategic plan). Having a form like this (whether it's for sales presentations, roadmap decks, etc.) ultimately gives stakeholders visibility into the volume of requests you're getting. It also helps you identify trends in types of request and can help you make decisions on creating something more scalable (e.g. do you see SEs requesting roadmap presentations for large accounts? Maybe it's time to create a roadmap that gets regularly shared!).

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