Devang Sachdev

Devang SachdevShare

Vice President of Marketing, SnorkelAI
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Devang Sachdev
Devang Sachdev
Vice President of Marketing, Snorkel AIJuly 9

The goal of any new product/feature releases is to allow your business to capture or retain slice of the market. It is important to have as much clarity as possible before enbarking on any development.

Monetization or value creation is easy to gauge when similar features are already offered in the market. But let's say your product team was working on feature that doesnt exist in the market. If you go back a few years there was no concept of anonymizing phone numbers when connecting two people. Delivery and ride sharing companies introduced this feature and is offered routinely now. So how did they evaluate that this was an important feature to spend calories on.

As product marketer you can build a case by starting with a clear hypothesis on who would value this feature? how much would they be willing to pay for it? what brand reputation or churn risks do you have for not offering it? does this feature prevent intitial adoption with prospect? 

Test your hypothesis with surveys, in person interviews or painted red doors. Then bring forth a case with data and customer anecdotes for new features to your product peer. They might find it hard to ignore.

Devang Sachdev
Devang Sachdev
Vice President of Marketing, Snorkel AIJuly 9

Product teams can get myopic with mandate from leadership or long term vision. But this is exactly where product marketing can be an excellent value partner to their product peer. Timeline focus assumes at features selected and priorities are spot on and set in stone. But that is often not the case, especially with constantly changing marketscape and customer needs. By presenting a case for change backed by data - customer interviews, sales interviews and pipeline analysis, you can bring new information to your product peer who is now armed to make a case with product leadership.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your customers depend on your roadmap. They themselves may have built their roadmaps around yours. So if there is major impedence mismatch, your customers will find alternative paths. This is how most disruptions begin.

Devang Sachdev
Devang Sachdev
Vice President of Marketing, Snorkel AIJuly 9

Product Management and Product Marketing are two sides of the same coin. Organizationally there are benefits to both approaches. As a product manager, I have had product marketers on my team, and as a product marketer, I have reported into the Head of Marketing as well. 

This decision is dependent on what is a bigger problem - product marketer not having a deep understand of the product due to product complexity, lack of documentation or exposure OR is it around go-to-market where product marketers aren't able to influence the brand, campaigns and sales enablement carried out by the marketing organization. 

In fact, depending on the lifecycle of the product, a product marketer should to spend their time with one side of the org more at any given time. And if thay means reporting in to product initially and transitioning to marketing as the product matures, might be something for leadership teams to consider. 

Devang Sachdev
Devang Sachdev
Vice President of Marketing, Snorkel AIJuly 9

On the surface this question is simple. How do you take sales feedback to product?

But as product marketer your goal is not just to take sales feedback but to use it as one of your sources to make a case for roadmap additions or changes. Here is how I'd approach this:

step 0 - build strong relationships with your sellers.

step 1 - remove sales bias by aggregating feedback from individual sellers. They tend to have a bias towards the most recent or largest opporunity they have on hand or one that was lost and stung the most. It is not their job to form a balanced opinion on whats best for the product or market as a whole.


step 2 - analyze the your product pipeline and opportunities by stage that were lost or stuck due to product gaps.


step 3 - discover risk of churn due to product gaps.


step 4 - prioritize gaps in four buckets (urgent, table-stakes, differentiators, good to have) quantified by $ revenue retained or unlocked -  


step 5 - communicatie back to sales once you have roadmap commitment from product. Be careful, product roadmaps tend to change. Make sure you are confident in product delivery dates.

Devang Sachdev
Devang Sachdev
Vice President of Marketing, Snorkel AIJuly 9

tl:dr: Both and then some. 

It is as important for product marketers to be involve in the inception stage as it is when taking new feature/product to market. Features that are built in vacuum seldom stick or give your product a market advantage. Product marketers input is key to how roadmap is prioritized based on customer need, value delivered, competitive advantage gained or $$$ unblocked in deals, or $$$ unlocked in TAM. Being involved in the inception stage also gives the product marketer a deep understanding of the challenges the feature/product attempt to solve, what approach is the product taking and how hard/easy is it to deliver the solution. Armed with this information, the product marketer can create more precise message when taking the product to market.

Activities carried out by product marketers when taking product to market are more obvious and sit squarely in the domain. However are not limited to naming, branding or positioning. Successful product marketers have a good handle on all the tactics around how the customer will learn about the new features/products and how will they try and adopt the new introductions.

Devang Sachdev
Devang Sachdev
Vice President of Marketing, Snorkel AIJuly 9

Product teams benefit the most when Product Marketing stays connected from inception of new features/products to actual delivery. At inception, product marketers help with gauging potential impact and thereby help priortize the roadmap. Once a feature/ product is commited to a roadmap and is on a predicatable release timeline (90-180 day window is typical fast moving software teams) is setup, product marketers help communicate out to the roadmap to the field or key customers. As with anything else, roadmaps tend to change, and as product marketer you should anticipate and plan for such event by checking in with your product peers at least once in 4 weeks, and more frequently when the feature/release is closer to launch. These checkins can aviod nasty surprises of having to build launch plans in short order or having to delay the launch. Product marketers can skip sprint planning and weekly standups. Outside of a running roadmap, it is key to engage with product teams on annual or quarterly planning depending on what cadence does your organization do long term planning.

Credentials & Highlights
Vice President of Marketing at Snorkel AI
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, California
Knows About Product Marketing / Demand Gen Alignment, Influencing the Product Roadmap, Product Ma...more