What are the top strategic tasks that a B2B Saas Product Marketer should focus on? Is there any specific tactics that they should have ownership of?
Personally, I consider these three questions every day:
1. How can I help my company win more?
2. How can I help my company win bigger?
3. How can I help my company win forever?
The first is about how PMM can help Sales increase win rate and help Marketing increase pipeline (pipeline x win rate = new customers). Tactics for this include competitive intelligence and competitive positioning, helping Demand Gen by crafting great content and effective landing page copy, not to mention website copy.
The second is about helping your Sales team communicate the value of your software effectively and raising your average selling price as a result. Tactics for this include pricing and packaging, classic product marketing (clear, concise, and differentiated product benefits, for example), sales enablement, category and company evangelism, and industy-specific marketing, depending how large your company is.
The last is about helping your company build and reinforce its long-term competitive advantages. In order to be successful over the long term, every B2B SaaS company has to have some inherent advantages that will make it difficult for competitors to ever catch up. It's Product Marketing's job to identify such opportunities and influence the company to actually execute on these opportunities.
On the topic of 'ownership', Product Marketing is unique because we don't 'own' anything by ourselves. We simply influence - sometimes we get our way, and sometimes we don't. What I have found effective is to focus less on what product marketing owns and to focus solely on 'is the work getting done well?' and make sure that high-impact initiatives get executed consistently and correctly.
This very much depends on your company size, but I'd say the basics are:
- Messaging & Positioning
- GTM Strategy Development & Execution
- Sales & Buyer Enablement
- Campaign Support
- Competitive Support
- Consistent partnerships with Product, Sales & Customers
There are always a ton of questions about TAM, Pricing & Packaging, Personas, etc. I've been on teams where those things are certainly supported or led by PMM teams, but as the business scales, I often find the TAM, Pricing & Packaging work tends to transition to strategy or pricing teams and the persona work is typically either folded into the enablement workstreams that PMM leads or is supported across the organization by a multitude of teams.
In most B2B tech organizations (where I've spent most of my career) the PMM team owns the Go-To-Market. From a strategic perspective this means:
- Who we should sell to and how
- What should we sell and why
- How we'll reach them and what we'll tell them
- Knowing what works and course-correcting
The challenge is that each of these elements is broken down into specific tactics, such as:
- Who we should sell to and how: creating buyer personas, doing market segmentation, identifying sales channels
- What should we sell and why: product-market fit, product launches, product positioning
- How we'll reach them and what we'll tell them: campaign strategy, segmentation, messaging, thought leadership
- Knowing what works and course-correcting: tracking metrics, identifying what works, suggesting new strategies
Depending on the organization there are specific tactics that will be owned by other teams. For example, the Demand Generation team typically is the owner of campaign execution. You may have a content marketing team that writes whitepapers and eBooks. Having other teams own these tactics doesn't mean that you are off the hook, though! PMM is still the overall driver of the GTM and so you need to work alongside these teams and give them the right information they need to be successful. For example, for the Demand Generation team, you help them with understanding our buyer personas, their key challenges, and messaging that resonates with them.
The question of 'who owns what' will come up and the best way to address it is to work alongside your peers in other teams and create a roles & responsibilities matrix outlining the key activities specific tactics may require with clear lines of ownership.