Daniel Kuperman

Daniel KupermanShare

Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, Atlassian
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Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

If you had asked me this at the start of the pandemic I would have told you I have no idea what I'm doing. I had always worked in an office alongside my PMM co-workers and team. Going fully remote was a big shock. But now, having learned a lot and working for a company that is remote-first and having myself a distributed team (I have people in Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Sidney...) I believe I can give you some tips and things to avoid.

The biggest challenge, of course, is not being present in the same location as your team and as the other teams you interact with (product, sales, support, etc.). The other challenge is the timezone differences that make it difficult to find good times to meet. On top of that, in a Zoom world sometimes things take longer to get done (you can't just walk down to a person's desk and breath down their neck until they look up at you and tell you where is the latest TPS report!).

For advantages, there are several. First, working remotely can give people a sense of autonomy. They can come in and go as they please without anyone looking at why they are leaving. It also gives people the flexibility to take care of personal stuff (pick up kids from school, buy groceries, take care of a family member) which might have been more difficult if they were in an office all day. Then, there's the productivity advantage. You can go from one Zoom meeting to the next in 20 seconds, while in the office it could take you over 10 minutes to leave the conference room, lookup the place for your next meeting, find that building/floor/meeting room and wait for the people inside to vacate. Sure, this is a blessing and a curse and leads to Zoom fatigue. But I digress.

From a pure product marketing perspective, you gotta find ways to improve remote collaboration across teams. During a product launch, making sure you have frequent check-ins with the team, that there's a Slack channel for the launch so you can all communicate, a page with the plans that everyone has access to, etc. becomes even more important. So as a PMM you will see yourself having to think through all of the ways that communication can break down and come up with a plan for making sure it doesn't happen. 

I have found that as PMMs we are in a unique position to ensure communication across teams, regardless of the project, communication is the Achilles heel of the work and in a remote setting it has become way more important to make it right.

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

I've seen a bit of everything when it comes to the split of Product Marketing teams. At some companies it is done by product line, at others by industry, and some by customer segment. And I don't think there's a 'best' way to do it, honestly.

It all depends on what makes sense for your company. I do think you can ask the following questions to get enough data to make good judgement call on this:

1. Do you have one or more products? And if more than one product, do each have their own distinct buyer and user personas?

2. Is your product(s) horizontal, cutting across all industries the same, or vertical, i.e. different use cases for different industries?

3. Do companies of all sizes use your product? Do you target the SMB and the Enterprise space? Do you plan to?

4. Are your buyer personas the same across regions? Are your competitors the same? Are the needs of your users and the use cases the same or they change based on geo location?

I think that getting data to answer these questions will help you make an informed decision. Also, the needs of your company may change, in fact I guarantee they will, and you will have to adjust how you organize the PMM team to match the new goals and growth targets for the business. 

One other thing to keep in mind, is that as the owner of the Go-To-Market, this is something you should be always thinking about. If the PMM team organized in such a way that is helping our company reach our target buyers and grow? What, if anything, would boost our growth and is modifying how PMMs are currently structured one way of accelerating it?

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

Although each company has their own way of building and growing their product marketing teams, one way to think about global vs local is based on customer needs and market dynamics. 

If the product you sell has the same buyer persona across different regions and the market dynamics are such that the competition is basically the same everywhere, your 'global' PMM team is able to effectively message, position, and market world-wide. If, however, the moment you cross geographic zones the buyer persona or the buying group changes slightly, some competitors become more active in different regions that means you need a more localized approach to how you message and position your product.

I've worked at companies where the product was being sold globally and when I asked customers in Europe or Asia about their needs and whether they wanted product screens in their own languages, they told me that they were so used to English-versions of products for that particular use case that it really didn't matter. And when we looked at who competed with us in different geos, all the same vendors were there. 

Another company had a different challenge. We realized that in Europe different personas were showing up in buying decisions. These personas were there because of specific regulatory requirements in Europe that we don't have in the US, and so we started an effort to message these personas and for that we also required some local expertise. This is a typical case where localized PMM is needed.

What is your own situation? Start from the customer and work your way down. Are the customers, the buyers, those involved in the purchase decision the same world-wide? Are the use cases, jobs-to-be-done the same? Are the competitors and market alternatives different? The answer to these questions will help you determine if you need a 'local' PMM team and what differences they would have vs a 'global' team.

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

That's an especially important question for PMM leaders today. There are a few key components to pay attention to:

- Compensation

- Work

- Growth

First is to ensure your people are being paid fairly. This means always keeping an eye on the market rate for people on your team and whether they are below, above, or in the middle range for the base pay. At larger companies, your HR team will be able to provide that, but at smaller companies and startups, you'll have to do some research using third-party sites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, Payscale.com, and others. If you spot someone on your team that may be below the average for the current salary you want to take action sooner than later. In some cases, you may not be able to do much (e.g., no budget, outside your normal pay raise cycle, etc.), and that's why the other two elements are super important and, I would argue, more important than the pay.

Work is looking at what your team is responsible for and their current projects. If you have someone that is a high performer and you are worried they might leave, one lever you have to use is looking at the overall scope of work they have and their level of satisfaction. Are they enjoying the work? Do they find it meaningful? Are there other projects they could work on that might keep them engaged or that provide them with a unique skillset that will be difficult to acquire at another company?

Growth is looking at whether you are helping this person grow in their career. For example, can you give them stretch assignments and projects outside their comfort zones and help them think differently? Are you providing them with opportunities for learning and development?

But the best way to keep good talent is to make sure you are thinking about the elements above way before someone tells you they are not happy or got a job offer. As a manager, you have to constantly keep this in mind. When you have 1:1 meetings with your team, you have to ask them about those things (are you happy here? do you feel like I am giving you exciting projects? have you considered leaving the company? why?). 

There will always be another company offering higher salary and more perks and benefits. As long as your company is able to provide comparable compensation, it is up to you to make sure the work your team does is what keeps them working with you. 

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

I am very biased in this case because my company, Atlassian, makes tools that help with this. For example, we are heavy users of Confluence and for each product launch we have a page outlining the steps, ownership, deadlines, etc. related to each activity of the launch. This page is shared across teams and anyone can see it and understand what's going on. 

In this Confluence page we can also embed specific Jira tickets that the product team is using to manage their deliverables for the launch, which is helpful since we on the PMM team don't have to go searching for Jira tickets since they will all be embedded on the page and updated real-time.

There's a new product that Atlassian just publicly announced (but which we have been using internally for a while) called Atlas (https://www.atlassian.com/software/atlas) that helps you keep cross-functional teams aware of a project status. This has been super helpful because that Confluence page I mentioned earlier can be linked from an Atlas 'ticket'. Every week the owner of that 'ticket' writes a short update on the project status which is then automatically shared with everyone that is following that project. So in the case of a product launch, I would add key stakeholders to this Atlas ticket and they will all get notifications of the launch status at any time that I update it. These notifications come in the form of an email as well as Slack notifications. Very helpful!

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

In most B2B tech organizations (where I've spent most of my career) the PMM team owns the Go-To-Market. From a strategic perspective this means:

- Who we should sell to and how

- What should we sell and why

- How we'll reach them and what we'll tell them

- Knowing what works and course-correcting

The challenge is that each of these elements is broken down into specific tactics, such as:

- Who we should sell to and how: creating buyer personas, doing market segmentation, identifying sales channels

- What should we sell and why: product-market fit, product launches, product positioning

- How we'll reach them and what we'll tell them: campaign strategy, segmentation, messaging, thought leadership

- Knowing what works and course-correcting: tracking metrics, identifying what works, suggesting new strategies

Depending on the organization there are specific tactics that will be owned by other teams. For example, the Demand Generation team typically is the owner of campaign execution. You may have a content marketing team that writes whitepapers and eBooks. Having other teams own these tactics doesn't mean that you are off the hook, though! PMM is still the overall driver of the GTM and so you need to work alongside these teams and give them the right information they need to be successful. For example, for the Demand Generation team, you help them with understanding our buyer personas, their key challenges, and messaging that resonates with them. 

The question of 'who owns what' will come up and the best way to address it is to work alongside your peers in other teams and create a roles & responsibilities matrix outlining the key activities specific tactics may require with clear lines of ownership. 

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

That depends on what you are hiring for and the level of experience you need in the new hire. If I were to hire someone to run my competitive program, for example, I would look for a PMM that has done this in the past, has created a competitive program from scratch and can show me examples of the battle cards they've created and the impact they have generated. 

If, on the other hand, I need someone to support an existing program and I have someone more senior that is overseeing the program from a strategic perspective I can look more for someone with a different set of experiences but that has a knack for details, that can to research and analyze data, and can learn on the job. 

A well-rounded marketer/communicator can be a great asset for a PMM team if you need someone with those specific skills. I think it all goes back to what your key priorities are, how you will be supporting the business, and the skills you need in your team. 

Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, AtlassianApril 8

I believe that adding more people to your team needs to follow the needs of the business. This means making sure you can break down the goals or OKRs that you, as a PMM leader, is responsible for and outlining the key initiatives that will help you achieve them. Part of this exercise is to also identify what you can and what you cannot do with the current team. For example, you may list out things such as "create competitor battle cards, conduct win/loss analysis, write 3 new whitepapers, implement a new campaign strategy". Great, you have all of these key initiatives that you have connected with key business goals. Now, who on your team will do that? If you only have one person reporting to you, there's only so much you two can do. The next step then is to explicitly call out what you will NOT be able to do. A good idea is to put your plan on a page with items that are your high priority and items that fall "below the line", i.e. not enough resources to execute.

As you share this with your boss and the rest of the executive team at your company, one of two things will happen. You will either be told OK, we understand there are things you won't be able to do and we don't have the budget to get you more help; or you will then be told OK, we see that you need more people to help execute! 

So getting back to the question about scaling the team, I believe that if you are able to make a case for more resources and you get the budget to hire one, two, three, or more people for your team you gotta think about them in terms of what key priorities they will have so that you can look for the right skills to hire. Make sure that as your team scales your contribution to the business grows proportionally and you will be able to scale the right way.

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Video: PMM Interviews with Atlassian's Head of Product Marketing, Jira Align, Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Daniel Kuperman
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions, Atlassian
Credentials & Highlights
Head of Core Product Marketing & GTM, ITSM Solutions at Atlassian
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Top 10 Product Marketing Contributor
Lives In Sao Paulo, Brazil
Knows About Analyst Relationships, Competitive Positioning, Competitive Sales Enablement, Product...more
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