Andy Schumeister

Andy SchumeisterShare

Director of Product Marketing, Sourcegraph
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Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 7

30 days: Prioritize understanding your customers, your product, and your company: 

  • Shadow customer calls (or listen to recordings if they exist).
  • Get to know your cross-functional partners - schedule time with people from product, sales, marketing, engineering, design, etc. This will help you understand areas of opportunity as you establish relationships internally. 
  • Learn about your product - get access to a sandbox account, read the documentation, read case studies, etc.
  • Educate your company on what product marketing is and how other teams can work with you. 
  • Ask a lot of questions! 

60 days: Plan and validate

  • Based on what you've learned, start creating a plan for what you and your team should prioritize over the next quarter and year.
  • Share your plan and priorities broadly to get feedback and adjust your plan based on that feedback.
  • Develop a hiring plan and start recruiting. 
  • Continue meeting with customers, teammates, etc. 
  • By the end of 60 days, try to get a quick win out: revamp the pitch deck, launch a new product/feature, etc. 

90 days: Execute and refine 

  • Focus on hiring and recruiting - the PMM market is really competitive and recruiting takes time. 
  • Continue meeting with customers, teammates, etc. Product marketing is one of the most cross-functional roles - your cross-functional relationships are really important. 
  • Continue to share your plan, progress, and accomplishments. 
Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 8

Try to align your portfolio with the job description:

  • If the job description focuses on messaging and positioning, share an example of a messaging framework or landing page that you put together.
  • If the job description focuses on launching products, share an example of an Asana board or spreadsheet you'd use to coordinate a cross-functional launch.
  • If the job description focuses on writing, share a blog post, case study, or e-mail you've crafted.

If your portfolio doesn't align with the job description or you want to stand out, create something new for the company you're applying to. Take a stab at a new positioning doc for a particular feature, write a sample blog post announcing a feature that already exists, etc. While you don't want to spend too much time on this, it will show the hiring manager that you're serious about the company.

Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 4

While there is no "one size fits all" metric that works for product marketing, my recommendation is to try to align your goals with either sales, demand gen, or product depending on what you're working on. Ideally, you'll have explicitly shared goals with one or more of the cross-functional teams you're working with. This ensures everybody is optimizing for the same outcome. For a new product launch, I'll typically have a shared adoption goal with product and/or an attach rate goal (percentage of customers using the product/feature) with sales. 

I'd also caution against only prioritizing work that can easily be attributed to ROI. Product marketing is responsible for driving a lot of initiatives (naming products, customer research, market research, etc.) that don't have an immediately measurable impact on leads or pipeline - but that work is still important. 

Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 4

I generally use a modified version of the Eisenhower Matrix (I just learned the name). On the spectrum of "not urgent to urgent" and "not important to important," you should prioritize the deliverables/needs that are both urgent and important. When you're the first product marketer, it's easy to fall into the trap of just prioritizing the urgent needs without evaluating the relative importance. 

When you're building out a new function, spend time meeting with the teams you'll be working with to understand their pain points and needs. Then, layer in your understanding of which pain points/needs product marketing is uniquely fit to support and create a plan. This will help you understand the urgency and importance of the various opportunities.

Document your thoughts and share them broadly to confirm you're tackling the right things and in the right order of priority. Having a shared/common understanding of priorities will make it easier to justify why you are/aren't working on something.

More importantly, give yourself time to build out the function. If you reactively tackle every request that comes your way, you won't be able to build the foundation that you need to be successful or spend time hiring the right team.

Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 4

Ultimately, it takes time to build relationships and prove your ability to add real value to be seen as a strategic player vs a launch arm. This can be done by leading a successful product launch, shipping a new pitch deck for sales, being the best resource for competitive intelligence, etc. For the purposes of this AMA, I'll focus on short-term strategies that'll help you establish yourself. 

Educate: When you're establishing the product marketing function, it's possible that the current team has never worked with product marketing before and may not be aware of what product marketing is capable of. Take the time to understand the challenges other teams are facing and think through how product marketing can add value. At Sourcegraph, I created a document that explicitly outlines what product marketing does and how we collaborate with/add value to other teams. Putting a stake in the ground doesn't immediately get you a seat at the table - but it lets your cross-functional partners know how they can work with you. 

Be proactive: PMM is most impactful when we're brought in early. If there's an initiative that you think PMM should be involved in, don't be afraid to ask if you or someone on your team can be involved. More often than not, the people working on it will be happy to have the support. 

Find ways to add value: Whether it's reviewing in-app copy for a product designer, sharing an interesting takeaway you learned from an analyst call, or synthesizing feedback you've heard from customers, try to find little ways to add value in the beginning. 

Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 7

30 days: Prioritize understanding your customers, your product, and your company:

  • Shadow customer calls (or listen to recordings if they exist).
  • Get to know your cross-functional partners - schedule time with people from product, sales, marketing, engineering, design, etc. This will help you understand areas of opportunity as you establish relationships internally. 
  • Learn about your product - get access to a sandbox account, read the documentation, read case studies, etc.
  • Educate your company on what product marketing is and how other teams can work with you. 
  • Ask a lot of questions! 

60 days: Plan and validate

  • Based on what you've learned, start creating a plan for what you and your team should prioritize over the next quarter and year.
  • Share your plan and priorities broadly to get feedback and adjust your plan based on that feedback.
  • Develop a hiring plan and start recruiting. 
  • Continue meeting with customers, teammates, etc. 
  • By the end of 60 days, try to get a quick win out: revamp the pitch deck, launch a new product/feature, etc. 

90 days: Execute and refine 

  • Focus on hiring and recruiting - the PMM market is really competitive and recruiting takes time. 
  • Continue meeting with customers, teammates, etc. Product marketing is one of the most cross-functional roles - your cross-functional relationships are really important. 
  • Continue to share your plan, progress, and accomplishments.
Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 4

The biggest surprise is that even though product marketing may not exist as a function, the company is already doing product marketing: launching new products, pricing and packaging, creating messaging and positioning, etc. The challenge is that this work likely doesn't have a clear owner and is distributed across many teams. 

As the first product marketing hire at Sourcegraph, I spent time in the beginning meeting with product, sales, engineering, marketing, design, etc. to understand what had already been done and what the biggest gaps were. From there, I created a document that outlined what product marketing does, how we work with others teams, and a vision for the team. Sourcegraph is a very transparent company - you can take a look at the document I created in our public handbook. This process also helped me think through what the team should look like based on the needs of the business. 

Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 4

The biggest difference is the level of specialization. At a smaller company, PMMs should be generalists. One quarter they may be working on bringing a new feature to market and another quarter they may be revamping the pitch deck. As the company grows and evolves to become a multi-product company with a segmented sales team, you start to see PMMs specialize. There may be a dedicated or embedded PMM for each product along with PMMs for each customer segment. 

The other difference I've seen is that PMM tends to be responsible for more aspects of product launches at smaller companies. In addition to planning the launch, they'll likely be writing the blog post, coordinating the email campaign, creating the landing page, etc. However, at a larger company with a more established marketing team, the PMM will focus more on planning/messaging and then work with their specialist counterparts to execute that plan. 

Andy Schumeister
Andy Schumeister
Director of Product Marketing, SourcegraphJune 4

Great call to have commonly shared KPIs with the product team - this is the best way to ensure mutual success. When it comes to product launches, it depends a bit on what you're launching.

If your company has a "core" product and you're launching a new SKU or a product with a separate revenue stream, a great shared goal is attach rate: percentage of customers that have purchased the product. You'll want to look at the overall attach rate as well as the attach rate for new deals (out of all the deals that close after the product is launched, what percentage buy it). 

For all other new products/features, I'd also recommend having a shared adoption goal: percentage of customers that are actively using the product. Adoption should mean more than just trying the product - you want to measure customers that are actively using the product or customers that reach some aha moment within the product. That way, you're both optimizing for long term customer success. 

Credentials & Highlights
Director of Product Marketing at Sourcegraph
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Remote
Knows About Consumer Product Marketing, SMB Product Marketing, Product Launches, Enterprise Produ...more