I'm starting a new job next week! Would love to hear your top tips in general as well as at the director level.
17 answers
All related (152)
Pallavi Vanacharla
Head of Marketing, IoT + Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Industries, TwilioMay 23

Here is what has worked for me in the past. This pace below is relevant for smaller teams/orgs. You can pace this out for larger teams/orgs as needed.

30 DAYS

Goal: Establish credibility and define your goal and priorities

Key tasks:

  • Build relationships with key stakeholders and understand expectations
  • If you are a manager, get to know your team (obviously!)
  • Understand the business - products, market opportunity, business metrics
  • Define your draft year 1 goal, strategy and priorities and get sign-off from stakeholders 
  • Deliver any critical (and time sensitive) initiatives to show an early win (if needed) 

Deliverables:

  • Overall goal, strategy and priorities
  • Any critical initiative (if needed)

60 DAYS

Goal: Start executing and define the plan

Key tasks:

  • Continue building/strengthening relations with stakeholders, extend to co-workers
  • Build the plan (initiatives/projects, timelines, metrics, resources) aligned to the priorities
  • Understand the market - customer insights and competitive landscape
  • Fill any urgent sales content gaps/needs
  • Start executing on a few key initiatives aligned to your priorities

Deliverables:

  • Customer and market observations
  • Critical sales content gaps 
  • PMM Plan aligned to priorities
  • Put tracking mechanisms in place
  • Make resource asks 

90 DAYS

Goal: Validate your strategy/plan and start ramping to your peak efficiency level

Key tasks:

  • Based on everything you learned so far (and resources available), iterate on your goal, strategy, priorities and plan
  • Get into full execution mode
  • Start delivering early results/wins 

Deliverables:

  • Any revisions for your strategy and plan 
  • Completed initiatives and results

Pro tips for near term impact (depends on your focus)


If the near term focus is internal, then understand your stakeholders biggest pain or need and put a plan in motion to address that (assuming you agree with it of course). But ensure all the key stakeholders agree on the biggest pain to solve first. For example if the biggest problem is the sales enablement mechanisms, then work on that, and do market research and positioning later. 


If your internal stakeholders are not screaming, then you have the luxury to focus on the external market. And you can follow the classic PMM sequence of initiatives (as they tend to be sequential) - understand the business, gather insights (customer, market competitive), craft positioning and messaging, build sales content, drive/support sales enablement, and start evangelizing (social, AR, PR, marketing content). I also liked what Suyog shared during his AMA

Grant Shirk
Head of Product Marketing, Cisco Meraki, Cisco | Formerly Tellme Networks, Microsoft, Box, Vera, Scout RFP, and Sisu Data, to name a few.July 7

Time for some radical transparency. 

I'm in the midst of this right now. Tomorrow is my 30-day milestone at Cisco Meraki. It's been an awesome first four weeks, and I'm really looking forward to what's next. (Shameless pitch - we're hiring, too!)

The size of the company and team adds a layer of complexity here, but in general, this is your best chance to really focus on learning your customer, product, and market here. It's hard to go back and do this again, especially in growth mode, so don't throw this away! Also, don't limit yourself to 90 days. I like framing this as a "First 100 Days." It sounds more presidential and breaks you out of the calendar a bit.

First 4 weeks: Product, Team and Market

- Learn everything you can about the product, what's in flight, and what competitors are doing overall

- Read research, talk to sales, get demo-ready if you can

- Exit mindset: "I understand what we do, and for whom, and how we're doing it today."

Mid-term 4-5 weeks: Customers and Message

- Now you're getting into it. Meet with as many customers and prospects as possible

- Build your point of view on the message, the gaps, and what needs fixing

- Data, data, data. Now that you have context on the business, the numbers will make more sense

- Exit mindset: "I believe I know what we should do next, and what the big problems are."

Closing 4 weeks: Start your Execution

- By now, you've got a sense of problems and plan

- Dig in and start doing. Pick priorities carefully, and line them up with near-term company objectives

- Ideally, have 1 early win under your belt, and 2-3 more on the horizon

- Exit mindset: "Follow me - here's where we're going to go, and how we're going to get there. 

Finally, don't lose sight of key wins you can deliver. These are great ways to contribute, build trust, and start working towards that bigger impact. Starting in Month 2, can you:

  • Get a "big topic" on the blog
  • Contribute an article to PR for publication at a third party
  • Speak on a webinar or customer event
  • Refresh the EBC/Exec deck
  • Fix a broken or inefficient process
  • Update an unloved or overlooked part of your site
Jasmine Jaume
Director, Product Marketing, IntercomOctober 25

It depends a little on what the situation is with PMM in the company you join (i.e. size and maturity, what the team is currently doing, what your role is going to be, whether you're an IC or a manager), but here's some things to think about:

30 days - this first month is all about getting the lay of the land and meeting everyone you'll be working with, building relationships and establishing your credibility! You won't get all of this done in the first 30 days but it's good to get started on these areas. 

I think it's really important to listen and understand in this early stage, rather than come in and start immediately changing things - every business is different, and what you've done before might not necessarily be right at your new place. So seek to learn and understand first, before making a ton of changes. 

  • Build relationships: Meet with stakeholders across the business to understand how they work with PMM, what's working, what's not, and what they think is the highest priority. Ask lots of questions! This is also a great opportunity to start establishing how you'll work together. Identifying some small 'quick wins' can help establish your credibility and build relationships with those stakeholders.
  • Get to know your team: If you're starting in a management role, start getting to know your team and building a relationship. Establish with each person how they like to work, what support they need, how they like to be given feedback etc, and set expectations about how you like to work also. Get up to speed on what they're working on, what they think is working in the team, and what could be improved. Also get to know them as people!
  • Get to know the product: Understand what it does (actually use it!), what's good and bad, and understand the journey customers go on from prospect>customer 
  • Start to learn the business strategy and goals: This will help you know what you're working towards, and then you can prioritise what to focus on. Understand from your manager what the expectations of your role and team are, and start to identify where you can have most impact.
  • Get to know your customers and your market: understand your current position in the market, how your product is perceived, how you stack up against competitors, what your customers say about you and so on. Read everything, listen to calls, talk to your sales team, research your competitors etc

60 days - as you begin to understand the current state of things, start to think about what you want prioritise working on and build out a plan. I like to identify some small quick wins and some bigger meatier longer-term projects. If you're a manager, you'll likely be building out a roadmap of sorts on what you want the team to work on, what your goals will be, and then getting buy-in from your team and other stakeholders.

You'll also want to start having more in-depth discussions with your team members about their career growth and ambitions.

90 days - start executing on your plan! It really depends on what you've identified as the highest priority things to work on but hopefully you've got some quick wins under your belt and are starting on some of your meatier initiatives. 

Charlotte Norman
Head of Product Marketing, CanvaMay 20

The first 90 days is such an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time in a person's career. 


The best way to set up for success in 90 days is as follows: 


Day 1 - 30: Learn, learn, learn
The first task I complete (and subsequently ask my newbies to complete) is an end-to-end product audit. The goal of this exercise is for newbies to learn the product and marketing flows inside out, from the perspective of one of our customers (ie. not looking up internal docs of what the flows are meant to be). While on this journey we want our newbies to use their fresh set of eyes to scrutinize the flows for anything which doesn’t make sense, was confusing, is broken or could be optimized. This audit is shared with the product and marketing teams and suggestions are factored into the roadmaps. This task celebrates the person's new and unique perspective on your product and helps them share their ideas with a wide range of stakeholders. 


For the remainder of the 30 days, become a complete sponge and absorb as much context as you possibly can before your workload starts to creep up on you. The key areas to explore to help build context are: 

  • Identifying and meeting with all your key stakeholders for a listing tour
  • Diving into key dashboards and reporting
  • Reviewing the company and your teams' strategic focuses for the year
  • Immersing yourself in your audience: reading reports, recorded interviews, 
  • user testing, feedback channels, speaking with customers  
  • Understanding the ways of operating and processes of the business 
  • Reviewing all the sales enablement content, sales goals 
  • Reviewing and understand the product roadmap and the current product functionality 
  • Understanding the competitive landscape of your company and product offering

Days 30 - 60: Getting some quick wins


Once you have all this context you’ll be in a much better position to start executing your workload. Work with your manager to identify your key deliverables for the next 60 dates and a prioritization framework. Identify some quick win projects you can quickly execute to help build your confidence in the new role and build rapport with your colleagues. 


In many of the roles I’ve started, I’ve often been brought in to help wrangle a large GTM or group of stakeholders from chaos to clarity. If this is the case, evaluate all angles of the GTM from the perspective of each core stakeholder to help formulate an understanding of the project holistically. Spending a decent chunk of time understanding the blockers, challenges, and misalignment from your key stakeholders will help you build relationships with these folks and ultimately help you develop a GTM strategy that brings clarity to the situation. Helping to bring clarity to any project is a surefire way to have a big impact. 


Days 60 - 90: Executing


Based on your project list, this is the timeframe where you might start to see some of your bigger projects come to life and be executed. Now that you have a better understanding of the company and you’ve got some wins on the board, a great way to make an impact is to seek out new opportunities or problems to solve for your team. Be the person that sees opportunity in a problem and proposes a solution or experiment to try and resolve it.

LeTisha Shaw
Director, Product Marketing, UserTestingFebruary 26

Whenever you are starting a new role, it's critical to understand what's important to your manager and what the objectives are for your new organization so you can align yourself well to them. Every company has a different onboarding plan, and for PMMs I think it's critical to get the lay of the land through meet and greets with the people you'll work with to hear first hand what is on their mind, so you can start to understand how you will work together. I also work with my manager to define what I can deliver as soon as possible to show impact to the organization. 

This is not PMM specific, but there is an app that I use called the "The First 90 days" which I use to help me think through different elements of my new role. The information is useful enough that you can adapt it to a PMM role. 

Eve Alexander
Vice President, Product Marketing, SeismicMay 17

I don't know about you, but I think there's so often a tendency to jump right in and start delivering. I encourage everyone that starts working on my team to spend their first 30 days learning! If you can work with your boss, try to buy yourself some time just to soak up knowledge and develop a point of view. The key things I try to get to know as much as possible when starting a new job are: the product (spend time using it, get certified if that's an option), customers/prospects (listen to Gong calls, shadow sales calls), the business (dig into your dashboards -- what's your average deal size, how long are sales cycles, which segments are performing well or aren't, what's your pricing...), and your colleagues (product managers, sales RVPs, CS, enablement, demand gen...). At the end of 30 days, share a SWOT with your manager, and identify a few quick wins for days 31-90. The quick wins should be tangible deliverables that have some visibility with cross-functional teams. Maybe there's an in-progress launch a colleague is leading that you can contribute to and present deliver part of the enablement. Or maybe there's an under-served area (a persona, a part of the product) where you can collaborate on with a few people to build out the storyline, materials, and training on. 

Jason Oakley
Senior Director of Product Marketing, KlueJanuary 3

I actually did a presentation on this about a month ago, which you can watch here.

I don't split it out into 30-60-90 day increments, but within that period, these are the things I'd suggest doing:

  1. Get to know your product - get demo certified, the same as your AEs
  2. Start building key relationships internally - have lots of 1:1s
  3. Create battlecards for your top 2-3 competitors
  4. Put your positioning on paper
  5. Define a product launch process
  6. Set up your internal communication channels
  7. Perform a content audit and find the gaps that need filling
  8. Gather the tools, templates, frameworks that will accelerate your success

Another late edition to this (added after my presentation) is to create your own PMM Charter. This is a foundational document that lays out the goals and objectives for your product daprtment. It helps you create guardrails for your team around the things that are in your wheelhouse, which will come in handy as people start firing projects at you.

Suyog Deshpande
Sr. Director | Head Of Product & Partner Marketing, SamsaraMay 13

First 100 days in a job quite important. The First 100 days are your opportunity to ask questions, make some bold moves, build trusted relationships, and set the tone. I would focus on the following things:

Build a solid understanding of your industry and target market: As a PMM, you need to bring unique perspectives to the table. PMMs are fortunate that they get to interact with customers, sales, analysts, product managers and gain insights about competitors. In the first 30-60 days, I will focus on understanding things like market opportunity, competitive differentiation, why people buy us? or why they don't buy us?, TAM, Your core market, your adjacent markets. Trust me, invest your time in understanding these things better and you will get payoff in the next 12-18 months. So, although this will never be part of your initial projects, make sure you save time to build your own point of view o the market. 

Think of your lack of knowledge for processes/tools more as a "fresh perspective" you can bring to the team: As a PMM leader, it is important that you invest in building scalable processes and you invest in building some foundational templates. So, while it's important to understand current processes/tools/SLAs, don't be afraid to propose new things that could save hours and hours of your team. People who are already following set processes tend to miss out on improvement opportunities. You can add tremendous value here. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from a PMM leader at Salesforce. When I was moving to a new company, she cautioned me to stay away from saying that the things are really broken (in her words - that the kitchen sink is dirty). Be mindful that the team has been using/working/following their own processes that may not be the best, but they got work done.

Focus on building relationships: You have a blank slate. Use it wisely. Build solid relationships with sales, product leaders, CS leaders, your team, your managers, extended marketing org. Try to listen before jumping to conclusions. It's difficult to do it during COVID time but casual coffees and happy hours can forge good relationships with your colleagues. 

Natalie Louie
Head of Marketing, MobileCoinJanuary 12

I break up my 30-60-90 day plan into 4 phases of success for Product Marketing – it also includes focus for after your first 90 days, all outlined below.  

You may not get to everything in each phase, or you may move through things faster – I use this as a guide and checklist to keep myself accountable. Following this has helped me identify what wins I can crush every 30 days. You can tailor it to your needs at your company and the level you are entering at.

The key is to actively listen in interviews and cross-functional meetings and if anyone is working on something that syncs with your superpowers – speak up, ask questions about what they are doing and trying to achieve, schedule a 1:1 with them and volunteer to collaborate with them or take it off their plate. When you ask lots of questions and get to a point they don’t have an answer – that’s the signal to raise your hand and offer your help. Don’t go in guns blazing, it needs to be natural and collaborative. Show humbleness and mastery. PMMs are the strategic glue between product, marketing and your customers, we are not the main show and final end point.

I also treat all internal stakeholders as one of my personas – get to know their pain points, what brings them value and how to speak to them. Also, during my 1:1 interviews with them, I’ll also ask if they have worked with a PMM before. If yes, I asked what worked well, what could’ve been better and discuss how we can work together to show the value I bring. If they’ve never worked with a PMM, I share with them what value I can bring and discuss how we can collaborate together. Tips here on how to approach all your stakeholders.  

PMM Phases of Success

The first 3 phases include execution (your wins) and they ramp up. See here for examples on quick wins.  

30 DAYS: DISCOVERY

  • Listen, Ask Questions
  • 1:1 interviews with cross functional partners
  • Customer Interviews, ICP, personas, map customer journey
  • Product training, roadmap, launches to date
  • Analyze existing content, strategy, data
  • Research competitors

70% Discovery + 20% Strategy + 10% Execute

60 DAYS: STRATEGY

  • Think, Create, Iterate
  • Buy off on business plan: vision, headcount and OKRs, and PMM roadmap
  • Create PMM playbooks:
    • Messaging and positioning framework defined
    • GTM and product launch strategy defined
    • Pricing and packaging roadmap
    • Competitive intelligence framework / Amplification

60% Strategy + 30% Execute + 10% Iterate

90 DAYS: EXECUTION

  • Produce, Operationalize
  • Roll out PMM playbooks and frameworks
  • Have or identify how to get a team in place to fully execute
  • Uplevel existing team
  • Iterate and create efficiencies
  • Cadence established for customer interviews, GTM meetings, PMM standups, Working sessions, 1:1

80% Execute + 10% Strategy + 10% Iterate

91+ DAYS: SCALE

  • Refine, Scale, Expand
  • Focus on refining and tailoring playbooks and frameworks
  • Team in place is able to scale so we gain efficiencies
  • Ready to expand scope
  • Deep partnerships with cross-functional partners
  • Uplevel areas of development

30% Scale + 50% Execute + 10% Strategy + 10% Iterate

Naman Khan
Chief Marketing Officer, BlendJuly 8

There is a ramp plan that I like & have used many times, both for myself and members of the team. Like most things that are awesome, it takes the form of a very simple looking table.

3 Columns:

  • People: Meet with stakeholders and the team I will be working with, understanding their needs & determine how to best work with each person
  • Product: Learn the product, value prop, messaging, pitch and know how to do a killer demo
  • Business: Understand the buyer journey, key metrics, market and all the "math camp" things

4 Rows:

  • 30 Day: List of activities I will do in my first 30 days for each column
  • 60 Day: List of activities I will do in my next 30 days (more advanced)
  • 90 Day: List of activities I will do in my next 30 days (even more advanced)
  • Deliverables: These are "contained projects" I will take ownership of each month, so that while I'm learning things, I'm also shipping things.

This plan is focused on successfully ramping during the first 90 days, its not focused on making a big impact during th first 90 days. This is because you are only the "newbie" for a limited period of time. The first 90 days are the time to ask all the questions, re-ask the same questions and have people spend hours explaining it all to you. This is not time that will come back, so its important to take advantage of it. TLDR: Don't short circuit your ramp, it will be the investment that will make the big impact possible. If your stakeholders see you asking insightful questions, ramping well on the business and mastering the product in the first 90 days, you're already winning.

Harsha Kalapala
Vice President, Product Marketing, AlertMedia | Formerly TrustRadius, Levelset, WalmartApril 16

Copied over from a similar question:

There are a lot of things you could do - and it's easy to get distracted as a product marketer.

First 30 days - Listen, listen, listen. Ask a TON of questions. Hold back from providing ideas unless you are really sure about it. Help others behind the scenes on ongoing projects with work you are good at - like writing or editing copy, preparing slides, etc. Help them look good and make allies. This is also a great way to learn the business. Talk to customers - jump in on existing calls and ask good questions. Get familiar with basic analytics and KPIs - need to know what needle to move and what drives it.

30-60 days - Make a success plan & set concrete expectations. Create a list of things you are going to focus on to make the most impact on the business. Separate quick wins from strategic work. Have a healthy debate with your boss and cross-functional leaders in sales, product, and customer success. Focus on your first big win that can be accomplished in under 30 days. Get an A in that even if you let everything else fail or push to the next 30 days. Figure out which fires you are going to let burn. Also, do most of your work in the open - it's often not a good idea to wait for the "big reveal". Surprises are not your friends. We tend to miss out on helpful feedback others can provide when we are missing context - this is critical during the early days.

60-90 days - Create momentum. Ask leadership for informal feedback - how you are doing and where you can tweak things. Once aligned, I would focus on the next big win while delivering smaller, tangible outcomes that line up with your success plan. The most important thing a product marketer should be doing through this journey is saying "no" enough. Smaller companies tend to see everything that is not about generating leads to be product marketing's job. While you could make that argument, it is important to say no to those seemingly urgent things and let those fires burn. Jumping on things because the CEO/CMO said so without considering the tradeoffs to your current priorities can be your biggest enemy.

Leandro Margulis
Head of Product Marketing, ProveSeptember 7

Congrats on the new role! Very excited for you. I agree that it is good to have a 30-60-90 day plan and to make sure you can show progress and positive impact early yo make a good impression. That said, I would suggest you give yourself some time during the first 30 days to absorb as much as you can about the company, the interpersonal dynamics, the challenges and opportunities so you can then define and priorities in month 2 and deliver something of value in month 3 on the top 3 opportunities you identified in month 1 and worked on month 2 and 3.

Sina Falaki
Head of Industry Marketing, Motive (Formerly KeepTruckin) | Formerly ProcoreJune 23

First 30 days - 

Meet with key staholders across the company - ensure excitement for the mission and what you're about to take on. Ask key questions about their responsibilities, what they are working on, and describe a bit on how you plan on working together with them. Product marketing is all about relationship building, in fact its key to be succesful. Ensure you're speaking with and understanding the pain points of each stakeholder you speak with, and make sure you listen.

Listen in on customer calls and recordings - Its imperative you start familiarizing yourself with the products and customers alike. My best approach is to get a complete recording of customer conversations that your sales team has, and start jotting down pain points you hear and truly understand how the product is being positioned, this will help you connect the dots down the road. 

Acquire quick wins to show your chops - Quick wins are always nice. What is the biggest low hanging fruit you can take on in order to show your chops? Typically I like to work with the sales team early on, identify what they need, and build it. This helps establish relatioships with the team early on, and also helps with familiarizing yourself with the company. 


60 - 90 Days: 

Keep the 30 day momentum going. Continue to listen to calls, fill gaps, and familiarize yourself with the company. I would add a few more to the list now that you further understand whats happening: 

Learn the product - Now that you understand whats happening across the company to a degree, make sure you get a sales engineer to show you details of the product.

Talk to customers - get on a customer call and start surveying. Its important you hear first hand what your customers want and need. 

Take Ownership - WIth whatever you're assigned to do, ensure you are taking ownership and leading the charge on what you're given. 

Kashyap Patel
Senior Product Marketing Manager, NearmapFebruary 8

Here is what mine looked like roughly when I started about 9 months ago:

30 days:

  1. Product onboarding and learning
  2. Meet key people in PM, Sales, Marketing
  3. Get introduced to tools used in the org
  4. Understand the current messaging and positioning of the product(s) 
  5. Listen for key problems that we solve and internalise the personas and brand-level messaging

60 days:

  1. Embed yourself in a customer conversation
  2. Ride shotgun on monthly product updates
  3. Study competitors and their market positioning
  4. Review the state of sales enablement and plan for updates
  5. Plan messaging updates if and as necessary

90 days:

  1. Form opinions on current strategy and present an updated GTM back to the stakeholders
  2. Create a GTM plan for any upcoming product changes in your portfolio

This was how it went down for me and I think it covered off almost important bits of getting introduced to a new product, new target personas, and a new market. 

James Winter
VP of Marketing, SpekitAugust 24

One thing I'd add that's very tactical to the great stuff that David has already laid out: Find your allies. 

Talk to everyone within the org that you can and assemble a shortlist of people who have good understandings of things like the customers, the tech etc...

Befriend a good sales rep, the best sales reps in complex sales cycles are often product marketers in disguise. If they've been there for a bit they have a ton of knowledge that has never ever been documented or made sense of and they can accelerate your understanding immensely. 

Dave Daniels
Founder, BrainKraftJune 9

30 days - Learn the market and competitive landscape. Visit as many customers and non-customers as possible. Read every Win/Loss report you can get your hands on. Talk to as many sales reps as possible. Use the Steve Jobs line of questioning: "What's working here?" "What's not working here?" Warning: don't assume you're the smartest person in the room. Network and leverage as many brains in the organization as you can. 

60 days - Formulate a GTM strategy. Be prepared for a lot of "We don't do it that way here". Be persistent and focused. Use facts to inform your decisions not fantasies. 

90 days - Execute, execute, execute.