As a product marketer, what are some examples of the types of insights you used to gain insight from internal stakeholders?
The key to keeping messaging initiatives on track is to ensure internal stakeholders are bought in and represented throughout the process. In addition to making sure they feel heard, your messaging, launches, and campaigns will be better with their input because they bring different perspectives to the table, and diversity of thought does two wonderful things:
- Helps you see things differently
- Surfaces blindspots in your thinking
In terms of specific questions, for a messaging initiative for example, I’d recommend 2 things:
- Start broad. Ask what challenges are they facing or problems they’re feeling getting their work done. Your email team might cite email fatigue or low open rates; your paid marketing team might cite that conversion rates are really low on any ads that don’t use language around “free;” your support team might cite a rise in customer confusion around a certain feature set. Gather these.
Synthesize and reconcile this feedback. Develop a few proposed solutions or a draft messaging framework and meet with them again to hear their reactions.
Below is a list of questions that my team will meet with stakeholders to ask (not all questions are applicable for all stakeholders). I’ve also found that it can be more productive for my team to fill out what they think are the best answers and then ask the stakeholders to react/respond/rip it apart in the meeting if it's a giant meeting or if time is short. Bringing a starting point helps expedite the conversation to the meatier topics.
- [Challenge] What main challenges does this persona face?
In the market?
At their company?
What is the cost to the customer of not overcoming this challenge?
(lost revenue, time to market, competitive advantage, operating cost, unmitigated risk, opportunity cost, etc)
- [Solution] How does [our company] solve this problem for a customer?
Complete this sentence: “We help you…”
What are relevant features? Integrations?
What are the top use cases?
- [Benefit] What overarching customer benefit would they want?
Complete this sentence: “...so you can…”
- [Core differentiators] What are the top 3 things that make [our company] unique?
What are the corresponding benefits?
Complete this sentence: When choosing a [product like ours], it’s most important that it
- [Compelling Reason to Buy] What will convince prospects to shift from whatever they have to new product/solution?
What is the single most Compelling Reason to Buy (CRTB)?
What would prompt this persona to evaluate a new [product like ours]?
- What does a happy customer using [product bundle] look like today?
Common job titles
- Who would be happy customers in the next 1-2 years, as we advance the product and what do they want?
- Who would be an unhappy customer for [product bundle] today? Why aren’t they good fits?
- What challenge does the product address?
- How does the product solve the challenge?
- What is the benefit of using this product? (functional? emotional?)
- What are the market alternatives that exist today? (i.e., what could they use in lieu of the product to get the job done?)
- What are the product alternatives that exist today? (i.e., who are the product’s key competitors?)
Thanks for asking - love this question.
I'll walk through some insights gained from our most common and often strongest partners for PMM.
Insights from Sales: Strong sellers know how to sell. They understand the customer, know how to craft a compelling "buy now" story. Spending time with these top performers has helped to overhaul pitch decks and lean into emerging trends. More specifically, top sellers are having big picture conversations with C-Suite executives who look to vendors not only to solve a problem in front of them today, but set them up for success 6mos, 1 year+ in the future. This insights helps ensure our messaging presented in pitch decks, webinars, collateral so we're able to position our solution and our team as trusted guides and advisors vs. salespeople. Furthermore, Sales can help ensure you're creating material that is going to get used. A 1-page PDF product overview is not going to save the day - so work with your team to understand what material is needed vs what material is just checking content boxes.
Insights from Product: Massive partnership here. Information sharing is constant. The best insights and understanding my PMs processes and goals. This is so helpful to ensure I can plug-in to his/her processes and be supportive (if not take some things off his/her plate). Additionally, this team has great details of customer adoption. Leveraging these insights helps the PMM craft campaigns that further accelerate adoption and awareness. The PM is essentially great at getting you to the right target audiences.
Marketing: This team is stellar at driving brand awareness and connecting you as a PMM to events and opportunities that drive additional product adoption. Marketing teams also maintain a strong content calendar and can often help ensure PMM campaigns and launches land at the right time in the market - with the best performing search teams. Furthermore, work with this team to understand what is driving MQLs and conversion. The customer journey details from purchase to user to advocate are insights the Marketing team is often keeping close tabs on.
In general, I would bucket the insights we need into a few different categories: for team planning and priorities, customer insights, and feedback on specific messaging or product features.
Planning and priorities:
I find it helpful to check in regularly on internal stakeholders’ priorities and challenges they are dealing with. This can help you identify common themes across different functions when it comes to planning and prioritizing initiatives to better support your internal stakeholders like Sales and CS. For example, it’s important to understand blockers in the Sales process and what you can provide to help unblock them. This can lead you to prioritize work to provide Sales with better battle cards, more materials explaining product benefits, or a better understanding of buyer personas. It’s easy to get pulled into different directions, especially if you are on a smaller team. By collecting and synthesizing each team’s challenges it will help you focus your efforts on where help is most needed.
Questions that can draw out insights around customer pain points, e.g. why customers are interested in certain products, how they evaluate options, how they make decisions, what type of questions they ask during onboarding, and what they say about the company/product are all really helpful. My personal favorite is to gather information around what actual words customers use to describe us, our products, and the value we provide. While you can get some of that information from Gong calls, it’s helpful to get the customer-facing team’s perspectives and the added context.
These questions need to be a lot more specific than the other two and centered around the feedback we’re looking for. Questions might involve drilling into specific words and phrases used on the website, narrative for a product, or working closely with PMs to understand what customer pain points a product feature is hoping to address.
Some types of questions I like to ask to gain insight and feedback from internal stakeholders are:
Where would you use something like this?
Who could you see benefitting from this asset/collateral/launch/etc?
Is there anything you've used in the past that is similar to this that resonated well?
What do you think is missing?
What could we add to improve this?
Is there anyone else you think we should be asking for feedback?
Those are just some ideas and obviously it depends on what you're trying to get feedback on but those are the ones that have worked consistently no matter the thing I'm asking about!