Jessica Scrimale

Jessica ScrimaleShare

Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, Oracle
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Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

Ooh, this is a fun one and a big one! This is solution selling, and it starts by understanding buyer needs and pain points. Uncover the pain points your buyers are facing, and then map outcomes that your company can deliver on - not individual products - to those pain points to form an outline for your story. Stay away from product and feature names and paint a vision of what is possible for the buyer (e.g., transform the way you do X) if they become a customer. I like to focus on the emotional benefits (e.g., feel more confident about X, empower your team to do Y) along with the organizational benefits in order to make the story more engaging.  

Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

Find a few successful, well-respected sales reps and cultivate strong relationships with them. Get their input on what you're working on, ask for advice on how (and with whom!) to socialize your work with, and use that political savvy to focus on the key stakeholders within sales that have more influence. The key is to focus - not dilute - your energy and build a small number of strong but impactful relationships. Build your consensus from the ground up; many managers and sales leaders will look to their right-hand person for input. If you've already gotten that person on board with something, then the next senior-most person is likely to agree. Work your way up the sales organization strategically and make sure to get ultimate sign-off from the senior-most sales leader. A well-defined RAPID (decision making framework that clearly calls out who is the decision maker) is helpful here too. 

Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

The most successful internal launches are often big ones (i.e., rolling out a new product or sales methodology such as solution selling), and in my experience, they include: (1) an executive sponsor (2) alignment with business priorities and (3) internal momentum. 

  1. An executive sponsor is key if you want anything well-adopted by the sales team. Find a well-respected senior sales leader (the more senior, the better), who wants to take on the initiative and be responsible for getting the sales team to adopt it. They should be the figurehead, speaking to sales across a number of touchpoints (recorded videos sent via email, in all-hands meetings, etc.) to drive accountability and excitement
  2. Ideally whatever you're rolling out to the field ladders up to a key priority for the overall business, so that it's something being talked about and tracked across functions. This reinforces to the field the importance of learning and putting into practice what they've learned. If they see their manager and their manager's manager talking about the higher-order priority, they'll be more likely to spend time adopting whatever it is you're trying to teach them
  3. Internal momentum to drive excitement is key! Sellers are motivated by competition and rewards. Create leaderboards that the exec sponsor and managers can refer to every week. Get managers talking about success stories or reps who've adopted the material in their team meetings. Showcase reps who are successfully using the new material in a public internal forum so that they feel proud to be recognized by leadership. Create a silly video from the cross-functional team to drive awareness of the new material and send it to the sales team. This is where you can get creative and have fun! 
Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

Internal sales surveys or qualitative feedback (e.g., 'what decks do you use when pitching?' 'what assets are most helpful?') can work. If you have an internal sales wiki built where you host assets, you may be able to access analytics about how many visits/pageviews/downloads you're seeing across key materials. But most importantly, having strong relationships with sellers and sales leaders can help create a feedback loop for PMM so that the materials that are most needed are the ones being created.   

Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

This is all about relationships, credibility/expertise, and your ability to help sellers. Once you can demonstrate that you can help them by bringing your perspective to what they're doing to make them smarter, more consultative, more well-informed, etc., the more they'll trust you and the better your end product - in this case - messaging - will be. Get curious about what deals are giving sellers trouble, and where in the sales process they're getting stuck. Ask them if you can learn more. Shadow their calls. Read and learn as much as you can about the category and the market to give you a deep understanding of the buyer's pain points and challenges so that you can provide that higher altitude perspective. If you do this well, sellers may start asking you to join calls to provide that perspective as a subject matter expert. And as you create materials for sales, don't do it in a vacuum. Socialize it broadly with a cross-section of sellers to get their input and refine the material. 

Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

This is tough, but you can prevent foundational PMM assets from going stale by having (1) defined processes (e.g., establishing which components of your market intelligence are most important to update and on what cadence, and using what inputs), (2) quarterly prioritization to revisit key assets (e.g., dedicate budget and get buy-in from cross-functional partners to spend time and energy updating these assets as a part of quarterly OKR planning. If you don't dedicate and protect the time and budget, you're likely to let them fall by the wayside), and (3) cross-functional participation (e.g., consider delegating aspects of updating some of these bigger bodies of work to a SWAT team of marketers, product managers, sellers, business operations folks, etc. if it makes sense and you can get buy-in). We have a 'competitive intelligence SWAT team' that includes a cross-section of stakeholders who each own a small part of the market intelligence ecosystem and are responsible for updating materials once a quarter. 

Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

I've seen this done a number of different ways. Typically we have dedicated time with the field to train them on the positioning. You can get buy-in from the head of sales and enablement (if you have one) to schedule a standalone session that you run to help train the field on the positioning. 

If your company already has a standing enablement session (e.g., a monthly sales training time slot), you can use that time, or dedicate a portion of the agenda to this in a Sales All-Hands. 

I've also seen internal email newsletters for sharing key updates or assets with the field. I'd encourage some kind of internal sales wiki where all of this information can live so that once you share the initial positioning, the team knows where they can go to access relevant documents when they need them. At my former company, we used go/links to make it easy to remember where to find the sales wiki and competitive intelligence info. 

Jessica Scrimale
Jessica Scrimale
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications, OracleAugust 17

Sales is most likely to use an asset that product marketing creates if they influence the asset as it comes together. I like to create a working team with a cross-section of sellers to provide input and feedback on the playbook. Make sure your playbook is aligned to the sales methodology that your team is using, and keep it structured, with clear expected outcomes and milestones identified for each component. It also helps if the playbook can highlight little success stories or verbatims from sellers so that they feel like they're hearing from one another, versus from marketing. 

Credentials & Highlights
Senior Director of Product - Datafox and AI Applications at Oracle
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Los Angeles, California
Knows About Analyst Relations, Competitive Positioning, Sales Enablement, Customer Research, Mark...more
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Director, Product Marketing, Assurance and OSS, Oracle Communications
United States
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