Question Page

What has been the greatest accomplishment made when you’ve had to influence others without authority and did it make things easier for you when you needed buy in on other projects?

4 Answers
Daniel Waas
Daniel Waas
AppFolio Vice President Product MarketingApril 7

My biggest accomplishment was in a prior role at a different company for a SaaS product. I was able to persuade the product and executive leadership team to invest in a redesign of the user experience of a product that had become stale compared to new entrants in the space. Redesigns can be a hard sell as they do not produce immediate revenue and at best have a neutral impact on customer satisfaction. The key to getting buy-in was making a compelling case for the change based on customer and competitive research. The product has since grown in its revenue contribution and turned into a long-term cash cow.

As to whether that success made other projects easier? Maybe a little in the sense that presenting a proposal that is well thought through builds your credibility. But for each decision you are looking to influence you will need a compelling, insight-based rationale, personal passion and conviction, a network of allies that publicly support your position, staying power, presentation skills, and a game plan for how to get access to the relevant decision-makers. 

The best way to influence future decisions is to be given more responsibility ;-) 

Successfully leading through influence time and again should get you closer to that.

653 Views
Jackie Palmer
Jackie Palmer
Pendo VP Product MarketingAugust 23

It's never an easy task to get buy in from stakeholders if you are still working on building up authority and respect but what goes a long way is having an open mind and listening to stakeholders' input. I've found that sitting down with people, maybe interviewing them about their opinions and ideas, will help you build a rapport that might help secure buy in in the future. Asking for their input and feedback even before you need it gives them the confidence that they can trust you in the future! There's a lot of value to the mantra of paying your dues early to reap benefits later on!

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention bringing data to the table as well. The more you can bring in terms of proof or support the better chance you'll have of gaining their buy in. See if you can do a survey or gather input from other team members you know the person or team you are trying to influence respect and value. If you come with already valuable data, you'll have a better chance of getting buy in either on this project or on future projects.

Build that trust early and try to come prepared with as much data as possible and getting buy in will go smoother!

472 Views
Mary Sheehan
Mary Sheehan
Adobe Head of Lightroom Product MarketingFebruary 22

As a startup PMM, I often had to forge my own authority. This is a constant struggle : People don't know what PMM does, you rarely have a budget, and have a small team or no team. The secret sauce? Find a champion. At AdRoll, I convinced a "get-it" product manager to partner on a case study launch. The results spoke volumes, earning our team respect and smoother future launches.

More context: When I started, product managers didn't collaborate with PMMs at all on a launch; they shipped and told us about it afterward. I got one PM who “got it” to do a case study product launch with me and to share the results broadly. Unsurprisingly, the launch went well, helped establish respect for our team, and made future launches much less painful. Sometimes, you have to get scrappy! 

1956 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingMarch 6

This question is related to a previous one about navigating politics. At the end of the day, influencing others IS about navigating politics. When trying to figure out how to influence, you need to identify who the decision-maker is and understand their goals. Oftentimes, you'll find that you share goals (but they may not have the same data you do).

DO come to the table with a point of view.

Do NOT force your point of view on others, especially if you do not own the decision.

DO bring others along for the ride.

Let's use a concrete example (from my own personal experience). Let's say a VP Product wants to continue investing in a product line. But based on customer research and market data, you know that demand is going to be low and the field is not going to be excited to sell. In this case, PMM does NOT own the decision on whether product investment -- PM does. But how do you advocate for what you know is good for the business?

  • Do NOT say - "This product will not succeed in the market."

  • DO say - "I'd like to show you some data from the sales tiger team. The average deal cycles are xyz days for this product, and the ASP is $xx. Is this the level of performance you'd expect from this new product?"

In this case, the great achievement was (counterintuitively) NOT launching the product line. It saved the business from throwing good R&D budget after bad, and helped the sales team focus on the core product.

This approach requires you to put aside your ego, by letting stakeholders come to their own conclusion. It just so happens to be the conclusion that you might have recommended. Navigating politics effectively isn't about proving that you're right -- it's about navigating stakeholders so that everybody can come together to do what's right for the business.

745 Views
Successful Product Launches
Thursday, May 23 • 12PM PT
Successful Product Launches
Virtual Event
Alejandra Troconis Davalos
Ashley Maydak
Danny Shapiro
+231
attendees
Top Product Marketing Mentors
Christy Roach
Christy Roach
AssemblyAI VP of Marketing
Claudia Michon
Claudia Michon
Automation Anywhere Senior Vice President, Product & Solutions Marketing
Mary Sheehan
Mary Sheehan
Adobe Head of Lightroom Product Marketing
Jenna Crane
Jenna Crane
Klaviyo Head of Product Marketing
Kevin Garcia
Kevin Garcia
Anthropic Product Marketing Leader
Christine Sotelo-Dag
Christine Sotelo-Dag
ThoughtSpot Senior Director of Product Marketing
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Enable VP of Product Marketing
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Enable VP of Product Marketing
Alissa Lydon
Alissa Lydon
Dovetail Head of Product Marketing
Pulkit Agrawal
Pulkit Agrawal
Chameleon Co-founder & CEO