You're the new PMM for a B2B SaaS company that has 40 people and is starting to scale. What should you aim to do in your first month and your first quarter?
Start building the foundational materials - product positioning, the pitch deck, messaging guides, launch processes, etc. and get alignment on these early! It's critical to get these pieces done first so that you can scale effectively. As a team of 1, you are going to need to rely on the other people in your org to help you get your product (and message) to market. By having these core materials created and getting buy-in from your execs and cross-functional teams in your first few months, you'll be enabling your team to be more self-sufficient and get some of those critical pieces done without having to wait on you for content or approvals.
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.
I’ll caveat this answer largely depends on your company’s goals, existing team structure, and culture. One should never parachute into a new company with a rigid 30/60/90 plan or assume the recipe for success in your last role will apply here.
First month = Big picture
Learn both your people and your products. Overload on 1:1s, get your hands dirty with the product, and speak to customers. “First seek to understand, then to be understood.”
First quarter = Build the basics
Hiring plan, messaging and positioning frameworks, etc. This could also be establishing the norms like announcement tiers and turnaround times or requirements like customer references before launch.
First year = Boom!
Once you have the understanding and foundation, this is when you can really start to have a more meaningful impact within the company. While you may play catch-up your first quarter launching products ready long before you arrived, the subsequent months are when you can demonstrate the value of a PMM to influence product and sales strategies if involved earlier. Definitely seek smaller wins earlier before this to establish some trust and credibility, but plan to get the basics established before steering the ship.
Look at my , it has the building blocks on what to focus on so you can be prepared to help scale with your company. This can be tailored and used at a 40 person company or larger one as it covers all the fundamentals any full stack PMM should be able to deliver on. I created this when I was working at a 2-sided marketplace and in B2B but it’s also relevant to B2C. We are all selling to humans at the end of the day so B2B companies should also think like a B2C company as people expect things to 'just work' and enterprises are becoming more consumerized. Many of the more successful B2B companies run and operate like a B2C company from their marketing tactics to software adoption strategy (Zoom, Slack, Zuora, Dropbox).
In your first month you need to focus on discovery and building positive relationships. Be self aware of your gaps and learn as much about your industry, product, problem you are solving, customer journey, competitors, etc… by interviewing key internal stakeholders. During this time it is key to find and deliver on a win. See
A 40 person startup is small and many people likely don’t know the power a product marketer can bring. If this is the case, read this. Offer to do a presentation on your strategy if you didn’t already during your interview. You must both 'show and tell' for everyone to appreciate your value.
My perspective here is whether you are starting at a larger organization with hundreds of employees or a startup with 40 employees - the first 30 days look roughly the same. This is your window to build up as much context as possible, understand the goals, mission and prioritiies of the business, and identify gaps and areas for impact. The advantage of being at a smaller company is this access to information is much more accessible. People are easier to reach, things are probably still very evergreen - which means a lot of blank space for you to think about how you'd like to build things vs negotiating to adapt what others have built. So I'd spend those first 30 days really getting to know those 40 people - envisioning what you'd like marketing and pmm to look like in the long term and deciding what you can do today that will get you to that longer term vision - ie. start building those bi-lateral product/engineering relationships now.
Within the first quarter at a scaling B2B SaaS business, I'd imagine you'd want to take a look at how your story is showing up in the market - for your core audience. Do you know who your core audience is? Who is your ideal customer profile, what is their role, industry, company size etc. This is the time that you want to do the work to define this audience, and develop your positioning and messaging so as you scale you know where and how to reach these prospects in a way that converts. Once you have solid positioning and messaging it should be the foundation that your website it built off of, and your sales narratives are crafted from, etc.
Outside of core positioning and messaging, I'd take some time in the first quarter to define your GTM process, specifically for how to take new products and features to market. If you are starting to scale, and fast - you'll want a repeatable process in place that all of your cross-functional counterparts are aligned with - so you can spend less time re-creating the wheel each launch.
And lastly (although this list could probably go on and on), another advantage of being at a smaller and earlier stage company is access to customers. Carve out time every week to talk to customers, talk to prospects, listen in on calls - and start to build relationship with these early customers. Those relationships can often times lead to co-marketing, where customers are open to sharing your story through testimonials, customer stories, and positive reviews. These endorsements are crucial for early stage businesses.
Your first 30 days - 90 days will offer many areas to tackle that will have immediate and often big impact, your key role will be in defining how to prioritize.
An effective 30-60-90 will help you make progress across 3 pillars:
What is your point of view on the company's current market standing? Where are there future opportunities?
How do you define and establish the PMM function?
How do you create scalable, repeatable processes for GTM success?
The first 30 days are all about discovery. It's about deeply understanding the business, marketing fundamentals, and product.
What are my company's business priorities? Why? What are some of the KPIs that our company cares about?
What market does my company play in? Who else competes in that space?
Who are our customers? What are their jobs to be done? Not only should you be reading up on market reports, you should take the time to set up interviews (with both existing customers as well as churned).
What does our product do? How does it work? Why does it matter for our customers (i.e. what value does it deliver)?
What is our current GTM motion? What has worked well to date? What hasn't worked as well? Take the time to meet with your cross-functional stakeholders in sales, sales enablement, product, and the extended marketing team to understand their challenges and priorities.
By the end of the first 60 days, you can use all of that investigative work to codify your roles & responsibilities, cross-functional processes, and methods for communicating with stakeholders. You can draft up a roadmap for key initiatives (launches, campaigns, collateral refreshes, etc.) to address gaps in your GTM, and get started on some of the urgent and important ones.
At the end of the first quarter, you should have a comfortable grasp on what you need to do to take your product to market, who you should work with, and how to execute on your key initiatives. You'll also have some learnings from the initiatives you've embarked on in month 2 (for example, let's say you wanted to start the company's first-ever product release blog -- what did you learn from that, how would you do it better for the future?).
The exact initiatives that you choose to undertake will totally depend on the priorities of the business and stakeholder input. While I've given some general advice above, the most important thing is to be adaptable! Check in at the end of the month (with yourself and your stakeholders) -- ask if anything should be adjusted, and re/de-prioritized based on what you've learned.
Here's how I typically tackle the first 30-60-90 days for establishing PMM:
First 30 - Listening tours + product/data downloads
Shadow sales demos, listen to customer calls on Chorus or Gong, watch Fullstory sessions and marinate in any and all of the data you can find
Get your hands on the product, get so comfortable with it you can give a demo
Start market research, understand your TAM (total addressable market) and personas
First 60 - Assess, Align and Establish
Assess orgs needs + company goals and individual departments
Establish product development process and align on GTM (go to market) process with product leadership
Understand ICP (ideal customer profile)
First 90 - Wins and Plans
Act on any quick wins and present plans for PMM department build
Identify the red (gaps) and plans for optimization
Balance tackling low hanging fruit and longer-term wins
Leverage Notion as your command center for templates, org design and team wiki
My current group has almost a thousand people, so I’ll let someone else chime in on specifics for a smaller organization.
In general, the first thing I do in any new organization is try to understand the state of the business, customers, and team, including everyone I would directly or indirectly support. That means lots of background research and introducing myself to internal collaborators and key customers. I keep these conversations open ended to listen for what’s working, what’s not, and the biggest opportunities.
For Product Marketing, I start by identifying the maturity of the company, the product(s), and go-to-market strategy and execution. In almost every Product Marketing role, I’ve had to start by either defining or refining the positioning of the company and/or product based on evolving customers, market, and product capabilities. I then prioritize a handful of quick wins in my first 30 to 90 days that can make the biggest impact on the KPIs that matter most to the organization in the moment, while creating a longer term plan for up-leveling the team and supporting the growth of the company.