All related (32)
Vanessa Thompson
Senior Director, Product Marketing, TwilioOctober 28

We are heavily involved in the Sales Kick off so that's where we focused our time and energy. At Twilio, we break out Sales Kick off from the main Company Kick off so I make sure to participate in all the forums where decisions are being made as well as listen to my stakeholders (and listen to the data) about what they want to hear. I then ‘pitch’ the sales leaders creative ideas for how we can enable their teams as part of SKO.

Early in 2020, my team worked really hard to produce two hours of programming as part of our Sales Kick off. Because of the empathetic approach, we had excellent feedback from stakeholders, “that is the best presentation from product marketing that i’ve seen at Twilio”.

Jeff Beckham
Sr. Director and Head of Product Marketing, GemDecember 18

This is a fun question because I’ve seen this vary so broadly across the places I’ve worked. Step one is to make sure product marketing gets invited :) At Mixpanel, all of the go-to-market teams go to SKO, and it has really helped to create a sense of shared purpose across sales, marketing and customer success. But I’ve seen SKO be sales-only at larger companies and companies on tight budgets.

You’ll likely get different answers from different people on the right level of involvement in the content by product marketing. As a rule of thumb, product marketing usually has more responsibility when the sales enablement team is small (or nonexistent).

I personally prefer to be a stakeholder in an agenda owned by the Head of Sales, and only be responsible for a couple hours of content across the three or so days of SKO. 

Here are a couple examples of things I’ve seen PMM own at sales kickoffs:

  • Rolling out a new pitch deck
  • Deep dive on a top competitor
  • Bringing in a speaker from an analyst firm like Gartner or Forrester
  • Introducing a new product
  • Objection handling exercises
  • Product marketing plans for the upcoming year
  • CEO keynote

Sales kickoffs are fun and product marketing usually has a key role to play. But driving the full agenda and all the logistics is a lot to take on.

Lizzie Yarbrough de Cantor
Senior Director Product Marketing, StashOctober 28

That really depends on the focus of the event. In my experience, product marketing and sales enablement typically run about a 50/50 split on content sharing. The last few days of our kick-off are often deep in sales training or process updates which typically don’t involve product marketing.

What we do often own is any product or program spotlight that is of high focus for our customer facing teams. Figuring out what is “high focus” is a joint decision with Sales and CS leadership. In one kick-off, this meant a half day dedicated to a new product we were releasing. In another, we carried a large part of the content to lead the full team through new persona trainings and workshopping discovery methods the team might start using.

All-in-all, I find that product marketing typically has a pretty important seat at the table for content development of your kick off event. But I think agenda and overall programming should be owned by your sales enablement and/or sales team leadership if that’s available to you. Also, get your general marketing team involved to make sure your sales team understands all of the activities marketing will be doing to drive top of funnel demand for them.

Mary Margaret
Editor in Chief, Entertainment WeeklyMarch 12

There should be involvement when it comes to alignment on the year's go-to-market strategy and any refreshed or new product positioning. 

Because it is the one opportunity to set the tone and focus of the year, product marketing should view it as the time to rollout any new strategies (campaigns, launches) and positioning/messaging (products) to ensure that buyer enablement is strong from the start and the sales team is fired up!  

Also, I don't think product marketing needs to be present or a presenter. In fact, I think it's more powerful when a Sales leader delivers the strategy and positioning pre-aligned with product marketing/marketing.