Question Page

What's a good strategy to always be talking to customers? It seems so hard to get account teams attention, then get a customers interest, then actually get a call scheduled to for persona, messaging, content, or user research.

5 Answers
Jeff Otto
Jeff Otto
Riskified CMOJuly 14

I’ve often found that personally delivering customer-facing presentations is a great way to test messaging and positioning and learn first-hand about a buyer and their priorities. Approach: First specialize in a relevant topic and master a customer-facing presentation that you know you can deliver impactfully. Then offer yourself as a resource to your sellers. AEs are always looking for help to drive sales pipeline, and given most sales calls are occurring virtually during the pandemic, it is easy for them to add you to a call. Once you are in front of the customers, approach the presentation as more of a dialogue so you can get their real-time feedback and double-click into their responses. Over time, your sellers will bring you into more accounts and you’ll get more flexibility to test and gather the customer insights you care about.


Another strategy is outsourcing a customer insights program. There are several agencies that specialize in recruiting customers that fit a profile (level, industry, etc) for surveys and focus groups. With a live, virtual focus group, you can scale your ability to get in front of 4-8 customers at a time. In the past, I’ve worked with FocusVision and their facilitators do a great job: https://www.focusvision.com/products/focus-group-intervu/ 

2497 Views
Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Bluevine Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Content, Customer ResearchAugust 11

Based on this question, I’m going to assume that your company doesn’t have a research function and that the account team holds the key to contacting customers.

My first piece of advice would be to work on establishing a research function within the Product Marketing team so that you have constant and direct access to customers. If there is resistance from the Account Team, work to understand their concerns and show them tangible deliverables you’ll provide like battlecards.

Second, automate as much data collection as possible so you have a steady stream of quantitative insights that you can benchmark against over time. This can be done through NPS programs that also collect comments or through simple trigger based surveys. However don’t forget to regularly collect qualitative feedback to bring color to the quantitative work - you can use major launches or sales cycle moments to anchor your calendar.

Also, allocate budget so you can experiment with incentives to increase response rates. If funds aren’t available, get creative in finding what your customers would find valuable -- perhaps in exchange for their feedback they can have access to a gated feature, an hour with somebody from the leadership team, or free tickets to one of your events.

1028 Views
Brianne Shally
Brianne Shally
Marketing ConsultantJanuary 12

Since PMM is the voice of the customer, it is vital to always be talking to customers. Here's a couple of approaches: 

- Schedule "Voice of Customer Day": Have day full of customer calls with a specific theme. Bring in cross funcational stakeholders (e.g. Product, Eng, Design, Product Ops, Brand, Comms, etc.) to participate and sign up for roles: notetaker, interview key takeaways, interviewer, etc. Host a kick off in the morning with interviews through out the day and and wrap up at the end with key takeaways and then formalize the insights and recommendations to broader audience. 

- Have a OKR each quarter that focuses on talking to the customer: A research project, feedback on a recent launch, etc. 

- Offer incentives if it's hard to get customers' participation, such as a $25 Amazon gift card. I've seen it increase conversion rate. Also, personalize outreach to customers, using their name in the email and share why their feedback is important. 

- NPS interviews: Run NPS and ask participants in the survey if they are available for a follow up convesation. Follow up with these individuals to identify deeper qualitative insights, and the rationale for their answers to form deeper insights and stronger recommendations. 

2290 Views
Nina Seth
Nina Seth
Blue Yonder Product Marketing DirectorJuly 13

It takes a great relationship between sales and marketing to systematically contact customers. In my experience at small companies, you can much more easily contact customers without sales being the gate-keeper. With easier access to customer lists, you can set goals for customer calls (feedback on a new product or feature, feedback on promotions, or messaging).

If sales insists on being the gatekeeper, then I ask them to ask the questions that I want answers to.  

524 Views
Louis Debatte-Monroy
Louis Debatte-Monroy
Adyen Vice President of Product MarketingMay 3

It's often difficult to get access to customers, especially in a B2B/Enterprise environment. Quite often, the account team will act as a gatekeeper and be wary of other people talking to "their" customer.

Here's what typically worked for me and my team:

1) instead of positioning your project as a PMM research project (personas, testing, etc.), position it as something the Sales Team can benefit from (case studies/win-loss).

Instead of: "I need to ask questions to your customers for my research project"

Try: "I need to talk to your customer so I can build a case study that you'll be able to use to get more customers"

2) Watch the "Win" announcement emails and immediately jump on the occasion to try and get in touch. When a deal is just signed, both customers and account teams are typically "happy" and open to discussing. Again, using the case study excuse might be useful there.

If you're in a more direct to buyer scenario (SaaS, developers), then I find that going to trade shows, hackathons, conferences is the best way to get some face time with your audience.

252 Views
Market Research that Unlocks Growth
Thursday, June 13 • 12PM PT
Market Research that Unlocks Growth
Virtual Event
Carmelo Abate
Emmanuela Tijani, CWCA
Bárbara Manarelli Vieira
+32
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
Julie Towns
Julie Towns
Pinterest VP, Product Marketing & Product Operations
Jenna Crane
Jenna Crane
Klaviyo Head of Product Marketing
Kevin Garcia
Kevin Garcia
Anthropic Product Marketing Leader
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Enable VP of Product Marketing
Kelly Kipkalov
Kelly Kipkalov
BILL Sr Director, Product Marketing
Pulkit Agrawal
Pulkit Agrawal
Chameleon Co-founder & CEO
Ashley Faus
Ashley Faus
Atlassian Head of Lifecycle Marketing, Portfolio
Priyanka Srinivasan
Priyanka Srinivasan
Verkada Vice President Product Marketing