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i want to know who i need to hire to start my product marketing team. We are starting with product insights, product launches and sales enablement
9 answers
All related (32)
Patrick Cuttica
Product Marketing Lead at Square | Formerly Sprout SocialOctober 16

This depends heavily on the make-up of your company and your product portfolio. Early on, I thought of our team as product marketing generalists. Each PMM covered a wide range of responsibilites tied to the commercialization of our product straetgy including: core product positioning, product launches and release management, various sales enablement efforts, assisting with in-app copywriting, executing internal product enablement (technical trainings, demo environment, etc.). Over time, we began to further specialize. 

I think the key is understanding the core needs of your main stakeholders in Product, Sales and Marketing. If you can identify the highest impact work across those groups (which can be difficult), then you can start to build a blueprint for how the various functions within the Product Marketing umbrella start to take shape. 

For what it's worth, the way the team structure unfolded for us (at Sprout) in terms of role types and focus areas was roughly the following:

  • Product experts and go-to-market generalists
  • General sales support (internal communications, lite enablement)
  • Competitive/market intel 
  • Sales content 
  • Analyst relations

Moving forward, I have my eye on things like:

  • Strategic customer insights
  • Partner marketing 
  • Pricing strategy/intel
Tiffany Tooley
Head Of Product Marketing at HubSpot | Formerly Salesforce, IBM, Silverpop, BlackboardMarch 9

Great question! Sounds like your team is really prioritizing the awareness and consideration phase of your buyer's journey, so you're optimizing for product intel, launches and then sales enablement/support. I think one other area to consider, which may be in your launch team's remit, is buyer enablement and customer stories/proof, so the experience and content you're creating to help your buyers quickly and confidently make decisions. Outside of that, I'd recommend you have a good partnership with your competitive team, so that those insights can help support your messaging and GTM strategies. 

Moving forward, you'll want to decide if you start to support additional organizational goals of product adoption, customer advocacy, etc. These aren't sometimes areas that small teams support to start, but over time can really prove to be invaluable multipliers for an organization

Suyog Deshpande
Sr. Director | Head Of Product & Partner Marketing at Samsara June 30

Refer to my answer for this other question here (link)

For a team of 3, I can suggest some frameworks to use- 

Do you have multiple products and can 3 people own 3 product GTMs? 

Do you have a team where there are different strengths and are you able align people by functional expertise? For example: Could you have one person lead company messaging, positioning; one lead product launches and enablement and the other can own solutions or programs/pricing?

Do you have different GTM motions - Enterprise, product led sales, volume sales for SMB? Can you align by that?

For a 3 member team, you can also do a project by project assignment - every quarter you can assign big projects (This can be confusing and it will require you to spend more time every quarter on planning but if the company is still figuring out sales structure/product groups etc, then do it all model could work as well)


In the end, it comes to marrying company priorities with the strength/weaknesses of your team.  

Becky Trevino
Executive Vice President Products at Snow Software | Formerly Rackspace, DellJune 2

What I would do here is to partner with your manager and key stakeholders to understand the top 3-5 problems the business needs your Product Marketing to solve. Basedo on the responses you receive, ensure you have people in the right roles to solve these concerns. 

While there are general roles & responsibilities (e.g. Launch Management) that fall to Product Marketing, your aim is to ensure you're team is solving problems for the ubsiness. In your case, if Sales Enablement, Product Launches, and Product Insights are top 3 problems for the organization then you have the right structure in place.

Jam Khan
Senior Vice President Product Marketing at 6sense July 19

A team of three needs to be really agile and nimble. At the same time if you don't really prioritize you're going to risk burn out and poor quality work. For a team this size I would prioritize sales needs above all else. You probably want three areas of focus:

1. positioning and competition: who do we sell to, what value we create, why people should care, what alternatives they seek

2. messaging: who buys from us, what better future can we promise them, how can we prove our ability to deliver on that promise

3. activation: how do we get our content out to the field (internal and external) and make sure the right messages are being delivered to the right person, at the right time.

Kristen Brophy
VP, Direct to Consumer Marketing at National Basketball Association | Formerly Uber, Square, 1stdibsMarch 23

Structuring a product marketing team is unique to every business. You could start by asking questions like: 

  1. What are the business metrics that the organization needs to drive and how can your product marketing team contribute to those top line goals? I like tying product marketing to topline business goals because it's easier to point directly to impact that the organization care most about. 
  2. What are the key outcomes and objectives for our team and what are the intiatives, roles, and responsibilities I need to achieve those objectives? From there you can prioritize headcount against those priorities.
  3. What are the jobs to be done for our customer? How can this answer help identify the most important customer jobs to be done and staff against those priorities? 
  4. How is the the Product organized?

Alexa Scordato
PMO at TikTok August 14

Starting with those three functional responsibilities - insights, launch/go-to-market, and sales enablement makes a ton of sense for a team of that size. Depending on the current and future product set, I've also seen teams re-org to match customer segment (SMB, enterprise, etc.) or paired with a product manager who is either tasked with overseeing a product and/or stage of a user life cycle (e.g. acquisition, retention). 

Sina Falaki
Head of Industry, Segment, and Solutions Marketing at Motive | Formerly ProcoreJune 23

It all depends on what gaps need to be filled in your company. 

Is there a need for sales materials, marketing strategy, customer sucess and retention, or do you need to go upmarket and dive into mending relationships with analysts?

Across the product marketing team there needs to be four key skills: 

  • Messaging & Positioning
  • GTM Strategy & Orchestration 
  • Field Alignment 
  • Product Alignment

With that being said, you can split up, depending on your approach. 

Product Marketer 1

  • Positioning
  • Messaging
  • Pitch Decks
  • Pricing/Packaging

Product Marketer 2

  • Customer Stories 
  • ICPs/Personas
  • Demos

Product Marketer 3

  • Thought Leadership
  • Campaign Contnet 
  • Event Content 
  • Enablement support 

Ongoing GTM Support should entail these things:

  • Webpages
  • Customer stories
  • Pitch Decks
  • Demos
  • Campaign Support
  • Thought Leadership
  • Persona/ICP
  • Competitive
  • Enablement support
Daniel Palay
Head Of Product Marketing at 3Gtms February 29

Well, the way you have it broke down, you seem to be describing a great researcher, a great engineer and a great writer. Three very different, equally important skillsets. 

This is just my opinion, but there is another significant difference between the three, and one that is probably overlooked wayyyyy too often when hiring: how process-oriented one must be to succeed. Launches, for example, are probably best handled by someone who thrives on process. Insights is likely somewhere in the middle, as good research requires a methodical thinker, but it doesn't have to be someone entirely process-driven. Enablement, if talking about creation of materials, needs someone who, again, is somewhat methodical, but likes to iterate in real time.

Now, take this with a grain of salt (since I'm a solo practitioner consultant...) but it would seem to make sense to structure the roles around the skillsets with consideration for each incumbent's relationship with process. 

Yes, I realize this may be the most confusing answer of the day, so happy to elaborate if you want to PM me through email/LinkedIn (see profile).