What is an important KPI that you see product marketing teams completely missing?
Rather than a KPI, the things I see teams miss most often is looking at output rather than impact. Before setting KPIs, it is key to establish what you want to achieve and why at an organizational level. After companies set their north star and goals, that should flow into department priorities, team priorities, and individual priorities.
Product marketers can then use an output to impact framework to plan their work. Start with the impact on the organizational level (ARR, new subscribers, churn, ACV, pricing tier adoption, CAC, win rate, LTV, etc). Then examine how you could help the organization achieve those impacts through your work. Map how your work will ladder up to the impact and identify what the leading indicators will be. So for example, if the company has an ARR target, you can impact by identifying and helping get a feature prioritized that is resulting in closed lost. Through a GTM campaign that drives awareness, you can use a combination of campaign and conversion metrics and win loss data to measure your impact -- closed lost for X reason decreased by Y%, increasing conversion by Z%, ultimately resulting in _ net new ARR.
Adoption. Adoption. Adoption.
PMMs think of launches as the big day. In reality, it's just a milestone if your product's lifecycle. Don't settle on traffic/clicks etc as your launch metrics. Think about launch success 3-6 months from the launch date. This is where measuring product adoption helps. It's really easy to miss adoption (mostly because it's hard to track or there aren't any standard processes to track it). So, take the ownership, find a model to define adoption metric and start tracking it.
I wrote "5 Truths of Building a Product Launch Strategy" article on this topic. Link: https://sharebird.com/profile/suyog-deshpande
PMM can be one of the most impactful orgs in the company - we have a unique view into the market, the competition, and engage daily with product, CS, and the entire GTM team. We also often have a seat with Finance, given our responsibilities in pricing and packaging. That’s why it always surprises me when PMM shies away from taking on KPIs that show true business value. Everyone wants to measure the outcomes of a product launch/major campaign, or look at content usage, etc., but the things the CEO cares about are sales growth in a particular segment, win rates against a competitor, sales cycle times, etc. These are all things PMM can meaningfully impact.
This is where I can’t highlight the importance of a robust win/loss program enough. In a world where there is never enough time to do everything, and there is no one-size-fits-all way to determine PMM impact, win/loss can help you decide where to focus, and what KPIs would be meaningful to the company.
For example, in one organization we realized our quotes were the core reason our superior product was losing in the market, which kicked off a packaging exercise that delivered huge results. In another company, we found that one of the main pillars of our sales messaging was a huge turnoff to a critical, but often overlooked, stakeholder. In a third case, we discovered an issue with our sales routing system, leading to slow sales response times / high loss rates. None of these are core PMM areas necessarily, but are examples of the way PMM can bring outside info back to the company for better results. In my experience, PMM’s ability to drive impact in these kinds of ways is what makes PMM highly strategic, and is even more important than some of the stereotypical KPIs.
Metrics and goals around sustained product adoption and usage.
I see a lot of PMM's set KPIs around ARR, trials started, or feature usage in the first 30 days after a feature launches, but they don't set any long term goals around adoption and usage. Without a goal around sustained product adoption metrics, there's nothing there to keep you accountable about the long term success of a feature or product. You run the risk of "launching and walking away" where you're all hands on deck for the launch, and then you immediately move on to the next thing.
This shortchanges the customers since if they missed your initial announcement, they won't have a way to find out about the new features and improvements. It shortchanges the product, since you're not getting the usage you need to surface important feedback, trends, and requests to maie it better. And it shortchanges your career, because it robs you from the learnings of putting together a long term plan to drive engagement and truly getting to know how a product is used.