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When you are joining an organisation that never had product marketing before and are struggling with all areas of Product Marketing (Position, Persona, Messaging, Sales enablement etc) what should be prioritised first?

8 Answers
Amanda Groves
Amanda Groves
Crossbeam Senior Director Product MarketingJanuary 23

Persona! If you're able to research your persona and develop their user cases, value drivers, motivations and goals - the rest (positioning, messaging and sales enablement) will follow. Customers are the ultimate aligner, prioritize actively listening to them, join insight sessions and fuel their voice within your programs.

559 Views
🟧 Hugo Macedo 🟧
🟧 Hugo Macedo 🟧
PandaDoc Senior Director Product MarketingMay 4

Start by Figuring out the who first - who's your customer, your Ideal Customer, - who's buying, who's using, who's influencing.

And you need alignment across the org, that you all obsess about that.

You measure that, you target that, you filter out everything that is not that (or at least you don't waste more than 10-20% of your attention). All the rest is noise.

all other things depend on that.

240 Views
Jeff Rezabek
Jeff Rezabek
IRONSCALES Director of Product MarketingFebruary 1

For me, the first focus would be understanding the buyer and building the personas; everything else will cascade from there.

I'd start spending time with the sales to understand the deals we've won, what problems they were experiencing, why they needed a solution, and how we provided value. Work with the CS team to understand who the happy customers are and why they are still with us (how we continue to deliver value)--a bonus if you can work in a customer interview. Finally, work with the product to understand the product and how it solves the customer's problem. 

From those interactions, you can start identifying trends to help you build out personas (you'll need other information sources). Once personas are created, you can take that info to influence the Messaging/Positioning and update content as needed. Finally, take the personas and messaging and use them for training your sales team.

311 Views
Chris Haberle
Chris Haberle
SeekOut VP Product MarketingApril 26

Earn exec trust and alignment.

If an organization has never had product marketing before, they still have been doing some of the core product marketing activities. They have words to describe the offering, there are pricing tiers established, etc. This also means that they may feel like their messaging is great because they did it. You coming in and saying "here is why your messaging is broken..." may not land the way hope it will.

Before you join:

  • Figure out why they haven't had PMM thus far. The work has probably been done by a co-founder. Really ask difficult questions in the interview process that help you parse whether the exec team understands PMM and wants to level-up, or if they are looking to just offload work and will want to review everything.

  • Understand who has built trust and how. Does the CMO have a long tenure and believe strongly in the PMM function? You're probably in good stead. Is there a new (or no) CMO? Ask deeper questions to others in the interview process that have a long tenure and how they built trust.

First 30 days:

  • In many cases, the quickest way to put points on the board is to help sales. If the company has lacked a PMM function, you can probably bet that enablement is the wild west. Doing something as simple as organizing enablement into a single structured repo will earn you some sales friends. Go talk to them as much as possible...they will happily tell you all the enablement things that need fixing. Prioritize those and fix the most impactful.

  • Be quick to show a strategic plan on what you are doing, why, and some estimated timelines. Ask for feedback from sales and product and overcommunicate to the exec team. You need to show them that you recognize the issues, that you know how to fix them, and (VERY IMPORTANT) that they cannot be fixed overnight.

30-90 days

  • Ship ship ship. Execute against that plan, particularly on the tactical sales help.

  • For big high level messaging, do not do this alone or it will fail. Gather data through customer, sales, and exec conversations. Walk the exec team through the data and reasons for any new messaging options you are choosing. Give them a chance to absorb that and give feedback. While getting messaging right is incredibly important, it is probably even more important at this point to continue to earn exec trust and alignment to give future you permission to operate more boldly and autonomously.

208 Views
Linda Sonne-Harrison

When you are starting up a product marketing organization (even if it's an organization of one!), it's easy to get pulled in a lot of directions. It's hard to add the most value, though, without tackling the fundamentals: buyer personas, positioning and messaging, and understanding the buyer journey. The trick is to get this strategic work done in a way that it appears to be addressing your company's burning tactical needs. 

Example: In Week 2 of one crazy job, I was tasked with building a sales kit for the financial services industry. The product's horizontal messaging was not very compelling. However, the financial services project gave me the opportunity to work with some of the most successful sellers, interview big customers, and get quick input from key company stakeholders. All of that work went into the horizontal product messaging work not long afterward.

Some steps you could take to get started:

  1. Engage with your sales team to learn about your buyers and buyer journeys. If you discover gaps in their sales tools, find 1-2 that you can fill quickly.
  2. Offer to interview customers for case studies (and write them if no one else in the org is tasked with doing so). You'll get a lot of great messaging input and a valuable deliverable along the way.
  3. Update web copy instead of writing messaging documents. Use the new copy to write the messaging documents later on. 
  4. Use your internal interactions to educate people about what PMM should and should not do, to guide future work.

Good luck - I hope this sparks some inspiration!!

295 Views
Shardul Golwalkar
Shardul Golwalkar
JotForm Product Marketing ManagerApril 20

Here's your priority list: 

  • Listen and learn. And understand what isn't being said. You'll quickly realize where the gaps are and what 
  • Schedule 1:1s with people to learn more about their specific customers, this will challenge your own assumptions of the current product marketing state. 
  • Now after you've learned a bit, focus on doing your own product research. Look at how the product works, understand it. 
  • Learn about how it's currently being marketed and to who, what do sales folks use to market it? How is it being messaged? 

Now when you think you've learned, researched enough, form some opinion. It might be wrong and that's ok, but form an opinion about where to proceed and use different product marketing frameworks to craft your pitch. 

For many organizations who haven't had product marketing, I'd recommend articulating the value of product marketing during an all-hands or thru a meeting with your manager and team. Set some goals for yourself on this too so people know what you're working on. 

Now that you've informed people, you can start getting more granular and working on the finer things. Those include a messaging strategy, competitive positioning, creating sales enablement material and learning more about how product marketing has been done in function without being called product marketing. Your job now is basically to prove out that product marketing is critical function to the company. 

251 Views
Andrew Hatfield
Andrew Hatfield
Deepstar Strategic Founder and CEOFebruary 6

The first priority is to reach out and engage those stakeholders. Let them know you're there and here to help.

Discover what their immediate and medium terms goals are and the challenges they're having in achieving them.

If you can help, commit to making their life easier and stick to your word.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

So show them by helping them first.

252 Views
Robert Campbell
Robert Campbell
B2B GTM Marketing Leader | Fintech, Payments, SaaS | Marketing ConsultantFebruary 9

Product marketing is the most misunderstood career paths in an organization. You are often asked to wear all the hats and then have nothing to hang them on after other teams have taken credit. How do you solve this problem, especially as you're starting out?

As a product marketer, use product marketing disciplines internally to establish your team for success - 1) identify the customer problems; 2) build your messaging; 3) Find the right channels to go to market.  

Your stakeholders are quite obviously your customers as product marketing. From the sales side, is your sales enablement out of date and not being used by Sales? Is Sales woefully unprepared to talk to the subject matter given it's high technical acumen? Does Sales know who to talk to at their prospects? From a product perspective, does your product team hate spending time with customers because they'd rather be coding? Are release notes coming out dry and technical? Is Product even talking to Sales on a recurring basis? Get a list going and keep track!

Next, build your internal messaging. Set the table for success by repeating your team's vision quickly and succinctly in every meeting as you start out. Repeated messages get reinforced in your stakeholder's minds so they come back to you with the same requests, which allows you to determine how to prioritize and delegate your time - as well as make plans for scaling your team. What does product marketing do for Sales and for Product? Make sure this aligns to what you're hearing!

Finally, find the right channels and balance those channels effectively, just like you would do in a product launch. Delegating your time across Product and Sales is also important. It's too easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time with one or the other and neglecting key needs from each group. Be intentional on setting recurrences and bring something to the table to each group for each session. Within your third session with each team, start making this process collaborative and repeat past feedback (good or bad) with how you've solved it. Establish social proof!

As always, especially if you're a team of one starting out, set effective expectations early. Tease what can be done with more resourcing/budget, but gate effectively your time so you can output high quality work, even if it's only at "MVP" level. Have clear OKRs and show how you're driving towards them over time - and most importantly call out key contributions in your stakeholder teams. Reinforcing effective collaboration starts and stops with sharing the kudos!

268 Views
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