Holly Watson

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Product Marketing SME, AWS, Amazon
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Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

Product Marketing org structures can vary by organization. Previously at Attentive, our PMM organization is comprised of the following teams: Product Marketing Core (focused on our product offering, more to come here), Sales Enablement & Competitve, Technical Writers, and Training. Our PMM Core team is split by our products with a 2-3 PMMs managing a single product offering usually comprised of several features. Collectively we all report into a VP of PMM who reports into our CPO. Yes, Attentive's PMM team is under the Product org. and we partner very closely with our Marketing counterparts. 

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

The relationship between PMMs and Sales Enablement can be powerful to ensure the field is getting and staying up to date with the product, the market, and the competition.


Product Marketers do a great job crafting stories that drive product adoption and awareness. This information is curated through strong partnerships with the Product organization and Competitive/Market Insights team. If your organization does not have a CI team, that's ok - that means your PMM is a powerful treasure trove of market and competitive insights. As a member on the Sales Enablement team - it's crucial that you leverage this intel. Be tightly connected to the material your PMM is producing, internal trainings that are hosted, and roadmap initiative underway.


Sales Enablement has a great pulse of the field and areas the AEs and others need support. Bring this to your PMM with a menu of options for your PMM to plug into for joinning a regional/global sales call, a deep-dive into a specific feature or capability, hosting a lunch-in-learn for competitive differentiators. As a Sales Enablement lead, the more specific you can be in your ask to PMM, the easier, and quicker it is for that PMM to deliver or point you to an existing content piece. Finally, be sure to spend time with the material produced and if there are opportunities for Sales Enablement to tailor the content to best suit the field - make those updates and ask your PMM to review/edit/collaborate with you. 

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

Product Marketing sits in a highly cross-functional area of the organization. The relationships with Product, Sales, and Marketing are crucial to foster and ensure you get right. This is not an easy tasks and it is never really done. Establish recurring syncs and opportunities to align on big projects, objectives, and goals. Encourage each PMM on the team to nurture 1:1 relationships with their colleagues in these departments. We can often fall into the habit of large group calls or big team meetings - while these are necessary, sometimes a simple 1:1 slack and a short call between individuals can be very powerful in not only getting the job done, but also developing a strong trust between partners.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

Thanks for asking - love this question. 

I'll walk through some insights gained from our most common and often strongest partners for PMM. 

Insights from Sales: Strong sellers know how to sell. They understand the customer, know how to craft a compelling "buy now" story. Spending time with these top performers has helped to overhaul pitch decks and lean into emerging trends. More specifically, top sellers are having big picture conversations with C-Suite executives who look to vendors not only to solve a problem in front of them today, but set them up for success 6mos, 1 year+ in the future. This insights helps ensure our messaging presented in pitch decks, webinars, collateral so we're able to position our solution and our team as trusted guides and advisors vs. salespeople. Furthermore, Sales can help ensure you're creating material that is going to get used. A 1-page PDF product overview is not going to save the day - so work with your team to understand what material is needed vs what material is just checking content boxes.


Insights from Product: Massive partnership here. Information sharing is constant. The best insights and understanding my PMs processes and goals. This is so helpful to ensure I can plug-in to his/her processes and be supportive (if not take some things off his/her plate). Additionally, this team has great details of customer adoption. Leveraging these insights helps the PMM craft campaigns that further accelerate adoption and awareness. The PM is essentially great at getting you to the right target audiences.


Marketing: This team is stellar at driving brand awareness and connecting you as a PMM to events and opportunities that drive additional product adoption. Marketing teams also maintain a strong content calendar and can often help ensure PMM campaigns and launches land at the right time in the market - with the best performing search teams. Furthermore, work with this team to understand what is driving MQLs and conversion. The customer journey details from purchase to user to advocate are insights the Marketing team is often keeping close tabs on.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

Internal alignment takes time. Here are a few recommendations for getting started and fostering strong relationships for the long term.


First - it's important to recognize and write down who your stakeholders are. For Product Marketing this is often Sales, Marketing, Product as primary stakeholders with Implementation, Solution Consultants, Customer Success, and Support playing crucial roles as well.


Second - work with each of these groups to understand their world. What KPIs, goals, metrics keep them up at night? What objectives and initiatives are they trying to run in order to increase pipeline, build brand recognition, or delight customers? Understanding your stakeholder world will help to align on areas you as PMM can support.


Third - communicate your plan of action to your stakeholders. You cannot help everyone all the time, everywhere. Yes, we know this, but it's easy to spread yourself too thin and ultimately not deliver a high caliber project. Communicating your plan might mean focusing more on the Sales team for the quarter. Working with those stakeholder to update sales material, draft strong objection handling responses, improve the pitch deck and script. This time is well spent as insights often lead to campaign ideas for awareness and adoption that support marketing.


Fourth - Be consistent and meet your deadlines. This is important when building a fostering trust across the organization. Trust is fundamental to establishing strong relationships. When working with your stakeholders be clear about expectations, deadlines, roadblocks, and deliverables.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

I've seen a few different forums and templates work. Here are a few ideas:


Field input: I've seen some team use a JIRA ticketing system for this. It's a great way for CS or AEs to capture customer and prospect feedback and write it down. The teams are able to see a board where other ideas have been submitted and if they like the idea or have heard of the same idea in the field they essentially can "up vote" it. Product and Field teams come to an understanding that ideas are reviewed before every release and some are added to the roadmap. If a JIRA ticketing system isn't for you, this same concept could work with a simple form, but it's crucial that this feedback doesn't go into a black hole. Someone must read this feedback and take action on it - it should be reported back to these teams what was done with the feedback and how it will or will not impact the product.


Content/Collateral Feedback: The amount of material produced by PMM teams can often lead to the question, "What's working?". Establishing a shared content management system (CMS), has helped to not only answer that question, but get feedback on content teams like and would like to improve. Highspot has been a great vendor for this as they have a ratings and review feature built in. Similar to the above, it's critical that this feedback has a response and action is taken.


Process Feedback: Here is a tricky one as it's often a hyper cross-functional team working with the process on a particular project. I'll take launches as an example. Launch processes often start with a generic template and are tailored as the organization identifies its nuances. To update the process, encourage the same cross-functional group to establish a "Tiger Team" or smaller group to modify the process and present it back to the group. The changes might need to be phased in, but it does allow for a continuous improvement mindset across the teams.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

As often as possible. Launches are exciting for all departments - so questions and input can definitely start increasing the closer you get to GA, launch date. To help with this, create opportunities to communicate your launch plan to each team. Tailor the message to your audience as Sales will have interests around pricing, packaging, target audience, dates; while CS will have questions about customer environment changes, reporting impacts, and shifts to rules/established workflows.


Outside of communicating the launch plan, also work to communicate how your launch will run through stages such as Beta/Definition Partnership, Limited Availability, and General Availability. Those are key opportunities to infuse customer and field input into your plan.


Yes, there will be a time when feedback can no longer impact the launch, but there should be a clear path forward for how the feedback will/could impact the v2 of the feature/product in terms of the next release or sprint.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

Yes, great question. This relationship can be so valuable to both the PM and PMM, but also to the rest of the organization. For this relationship, I encourage each team to spend time understanding each others roles and responsibilities as well as having a discussion to align on what responsibilities will be owned by PMs vs. owned by PMMs. Ownership too can often be a word that is scrutinized, so for clarity owners are who leadership or other stakeholder are pointed to for questions, updates, and results. Good owners do not operate alone - they are great at gather input and influence from their teams.


In terms of building better relationships with PMs - starting with role clarity and expectations are key. Then, it's about implementing that agreement across projects. Here is where fluid, open communication and feedback is a must. Establish regular check-in, identify key milestones each team is accountable to (roadmap planning, launch dates, release dates, customer events, etc.) For weekly team calls, be sure to set an agenda, work to have each team member understand their role and what is expected of him/her during those weekly calls. This too is the same for product launches or other big projects.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, AmazonFebruary 9

Great question! This is a common scenario for growing organizations. As a smaller PMM team, you'll have to work to set project priorities. This is not an easy tasks, but what helps is being transparent and communicative with your teams across Product, Sales, Marketing and others. 

For growing organizations, work with your Sales Department to understand their biggest pain points and align on where you as a PMM can best support. Prioritize the feedback and the work you're able to take on vs what you might have to revist or commit to later. This conversation seems obvious, but keep having it. Set up recurring touchpoints (even if for 15min) to hold each party accountable to what was committed. 

Finally - Be consistent and meet your deadlines. This is important when building a fostering trust across the organization. Trust is fundamental to establishing strong relationships. When working with your stakeholders be clear about expectations, deadlines, roadblocks, and deliverables.

Holly Watson
Holly Watson
Product Marketing SME, AWS, Amazon
Credentials & Highlights
Product Marketing SME, AWS at Amazon
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Dallas, TX
Knows About Product Launches, Influencing the Product Roadmap, Messaging, Product Marketing Caree...more