Charlene Wang

Charlene WangShare

Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.com
I'm a growth-minded product marketer who has launched fast growing products while leading high performing teams at Coupa from its IPO to a $20B+ valuation.
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Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

Different companies will define product marketing and sales ops / sales enablement in different ways. The distinction tends to run along a spectrum where on the one hand, Product Marketing will lead the creation of content that focuses on market positioning and differentiation, and on the other hand, Sales Ops will lead specific activities or content that helps translate that marketing positioning in a way that resonates with the experience of being in sales.

For example, a Product Marketer may create content that talks about how your company has designed product capabilities to addresses a specific pain point compared to other solutions on the market and why that product design provides more value to the customer. From there, Sales Ops / Sales Enablement may package the content into an e-Learning or sales training and also supplement the content with success stories from successful reps and conduct trainings on how tp present the information and handle objections. 

Objection handling is an example of where there may be overlap and collaboration between PMM and Sales Ops. In some cases, Sales Ops may start creating the objection handling content but will likely need to circle back to Product Marketing for PMM's perspective on the content to address the objections. In some cases, PMM will start creating the objection handling content but will consult Sales Ops on the most effective way to teach that content to sales.

Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

There's two parts to keeping all the above content up to date, including content creation and content delivery:

  • Content Creation: This is all about capacity planning of the Product Marketing team on the capacity of the team to update content vs. the amount of content that needs to be updated. First, you need to define what content must be kept up-to-date and how frequently these updates need to happen. For example, some product marketing content needs to be updated frequently (e.g. information about new products and/or features that have come out in each release), whereas others can be updated less frequently (e.g. a broad assessment of the overall market or TAM). Once you've identified the cadence of updates and backed out the volume of work, then you can examine how much capacity the team has and align that capacity to tackle the highest priority updates. If there is not enough capacity, you can either reallocate the team to tackle only the higher priority updates or bring on additional team members if the priority content updates are not happening in a timely fashion. The key here is about prioritization -- not everything needs to be updated all the time.
  • Content Delivery: Once the required updates have been created by the team, then it's important to deliver this updated content as efficiently and quickly as possible. This is where having a good content management and delivery system is critical. Coupa uses a sales enablement system that we've internally named "The Vault", and this platform allows us to push out new content to the field in an organized way in real-time as product marketing content is updated in our internal file systems. What makes this system effective is its ability to manage versions, control access, and make it easy for the field to find the latest and greatest content at all times. Moreover, as a Product Marketer, I get to see real-time analytics on content usage to better target my efforts.
Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

Sales enablement success should ultimately drive sales success, including the size & number of deals closed won and win rates. Leading sales enablement indicators of sales success include adoption of content, sales feedback, and feedback from prospects/customers as part of win/loss analysis. In particular, if messaging is done effectively and rolled out properly to the sales team, then the win/loss analysis should show that the messaging ultimately resonated with the prospect upon deal close. Before that even happens, product marketers should be able to see that the field has either downloaded or otherwise used the content (content adoption) and usually provided positive feedback on the content based on how their prospect conversations or current sales cycles are going. 

Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

Great competitive analysis comes from access to the right information, meaningful insights into the data, and addressing the needs of sales in real-time. 

From an information access perspective, it's important to find the right sources of information first and to do this efficiently. This should come from figuring out both what you can easily access from sources available to you (perhaps online research and analyst perspectives) and where it makes sense to put in th effort to dig out further information (for example, finding former customers or industry experts who can provide specific information, such as pricing). This information finding step is key and can be very time consuming if not properly defined -- what are the most important things that you need to understand about your competitors? Once you've defined what this is, then you can better identify how to effectively target getting that information quickly.

Uncovering meaningful insights is easier to control by yourself since this usually just involves your approach to analyzing data. I highly suggest again thinking through what are the key questions that you need to answer to help sales win. From there, I really try to take an 80/20 approach to getting to those answers as quickly as possible (i.e., what activities can I do that only require 20% of my time but drive 80% of the impact for questions that really matter to the sales team). For example, you may discover that the key thing that sales needs to win is convince customers that your competitor is too expensive. In that case, try to conduct a quick analysis to communicate that you and your competitors are charging an order of magnitude difference in prices (e.g. their total cost is around tens of thousands of dollars, wheres yours is thousands of dollars). In this example, you don't need to put in the significant extra work to get down to exact numbers if orders of magnitude is plenty.

Finally, you want to address the needs of sales in real-time. This starts with understanding what's happening in a sales process -- I like to both ask a couple of reps how prospect conversations went and to selectively sit in on or review recordings for one or two prospect conversations to see firsthand what customers are brigning up. Another way to get to this information is to run a great win/loss analysis program. Understanding the actual needs of sales in a prospect conversation will be key to helping you properly target both what information you need and which insights you have to drive from your dta.

Good luck with this! Product Marketing is often a lightly staffed function that supports so many critical needs across the organization, and I can certainly empathize :)

Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

In this case, you would first want to enable your sales teams on the new persona, including what this persona generally "looks like", relevant pain points, and other information to help sales successfully reach these personas. You will have more a heavy lift in educating sales on how to successfully sell this product compared to a product that's built for the personas that your sales team is already used to targeting.

Beyond sales enablement, new target personas will sometimes require a broader rethink of the go-to-market strategy. Is your messaging and content properly targeted to this audience? Has your Growth Marketing / Demand Gen team adequately generated leads from this new pool of buyers? Does the new target persona require additional aircover from brand and PR? Will targeting multiple personas create conflict within sales and are there ways to segment sales and/or sales channels to better manage this conflict? These are important questions that Product Marketing and Marketing more generally should consider as part of the new product launch.

Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

I always start with the outcome that matters to the company then back out what needs to happen to drive that outcome. For example, if we need to launch a product that drives XYZ in revenue over the first year, I will try to back out how much pipeline is needed and what kinds of win rates need to happen in order to hit that goal. From there, I will focus on the exact metrics that PMM can directly impact (often win rates, with some collaboration with Demand Gen / Growth Marketing on pipeline generation) then back out what's needed to get those metrics to what we think we need. For example, if we're targeting win rates, I'd keep a close eye on win/loss data and try to identify what kinds of messaging or competive positioning is going to move the needle to help get us to the right win rate. 

Ultimately, having good data, both qualitative and quantitative on what activities drive results allows me to clearly point out what value I've been able to add and justify the investment in sales enablement.

Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

The answer to this question will depend to an extent on the type of people that you have on the Product Marketing and SDR teams. That said, in general, Product Marketing owns the messaging and positioning and will be more familiar with what's going to stand out compared to other solutions or substitutes in the market in the eyes of the target persona that the SDR is emailing. Based on this, Product Marketing should be providing key talking points and content that will help move the email recipient to an appropriate CTA, whether that's downloading an asset or (preferably) jumping on the phone with the SDR. I generally suggest that Product Marketing at least outlines the key talking points in an email, if not actually writing the email itself.

SDRs will have more of an ear to the ground for what's working and not working in the field. As they send out email cadences and see response rates and general reception from prospects, they can make better adjustments in real-time to double down on content that works and discard anything that does not. Based on the real-time feedback, SDRs may also be better suited at adjusting the exact phrasing in the email to elicit the right response. Therefore, it's generally a best practice that SDRs take the content from Product Marketing and either write the emails or at least adjust the wording. Of course, this works best when the SDR is also providing feedback to Product Marketing at the same time as to why they adjusted the content.

Ultimately the exact mix of responsibilities in email drafting between SDRs and Product Marketing will depend on the capacity and positioning and writing proficiency across both teams.

Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Vice President & Head of Marketing, Fin.comApril 7

Product documentation can be owned by several teams, most commonly split between a documentation team, product marketing, and product management. Who manages each piece of content depends on the primary function of that content:

  • Documentation Team: This team is dedicated to educating customers on how to use or implement product capabilities. They provide a standard set of detailed information on what each feature does, intended behavior, configurations, and other information to help internal support teams, partners, and customers use the product. Example documentation includes feature-specific descriptive articles on a knowledge base, information on release timelines and capabilities, educational videos teaching users how a feature behaves, etc.
  • Product Marketing: Product Marketing is primarily concerned with positioning capabilities ultimately to drive sales and/or renewals. Product Marketing will create documentation that's meant to describe the value of the product and communicate how capabilities are differentiated in the market. This documentation is usually at a higher-level than those provided by a Documentation or Product Management team and is targeted towards supporting sales teams, account managers (sometimes customer success managers), prospects, and decision makers at customer accounts to help articulate the value of the product. Example documentation includes product datasheets, videos/content to generate buzz about differentiated capabilities, positioning and messaging content and FAQs, etc.
  • Product Management: Product Management is primarily focused on releasing valuable capabilities and driving adoption of features and often works with the Documentation team to document new features at they get released. When customers need more technical, specific, or sensitive information than the Documentation team generally provides, Product Management will step in to create these documents and/or supplement articles from Documentation. At some companies, Product Management will also manage and monitor a community portal where customers can post questions and feature requests. Example documentation include product information guides to help internal teams across customer support and go-to-market understand new features, FAQs / whitepapers on commonly requested product-specific topics (such as privacy and data security), internal and sometimes external product wikis, etc.
Credentials & Highlights
Vice President & Head of Marketing at Fin.com
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Analyst Relations, Growth Product Marketing, Enterprise Product Marketing, Influencin...more