Manav Tandon

Manav TandonShare

Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco
In a career spanning 15+ years, I have accumulated a breadth of experience across business strategy, GTM strategy, product management and product marketing. I have helped organizations build innova...more
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Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 12

Here's a non-comprehensive list of KPIs to choose from:

  • Launch content
    • # of press articles mentioning your product
    • # of views on blog posts
    • # of visitors to landing pages
    • # of downloads of gated content
    • # of social media post impressions
    • # of users adopting the product/feature 30-60-90 days post-launch
  • Demand Generation
    • # of sourced MQLs (through activities like webinars)
    • # of sourced SQLs (through activities like webinars)
    • Position in Analyst Reports (e.g. Gartner, IDC, etc.)
    • Position in Software Review sites (e.g. G2, Capterra, TrustRadius)
  • Sales Enablement
    • # of views/downloads of sales collateral (e.g. pitch decks, FAQs, one-pagers, etc.)
    • rating by sellers on sales collateral
    • # of deals influenced
Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 15

Build relationships with your stakeholders in Product Management, Sales and other Marketing teams (Content, Digital, DG, Integrated, etc.). Ask them to invite you to meetings and listen intently to identify areas where they need help, and volunteer to help with with those areas - e.g. market trends analysis, customer segmentation, competitive analysis, content creation, sales enablement collateral, etc. In short, take the initiative to rise above your title and rank and prove to your stakeholders that you have what it takes to deliver meaningful impact on the business.

Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 12

The decisions you make are a combination of your circumstances and the options available to you. I think luck and timing is always an overlooked factor. I recently read Einstein's biography, and it struck me how fortutious it was that he failed to get a job as an academic after graduating from college and had to settle for a patent clerk job at the Swiss patent office. If it weren't for this turn of events, he might not ever have come up with the theory of general relativity, because the key insight in that theory is that time itself is relative, and this insight was no doubt derived from his time working for days, months and years on patent applications dealing with clocks and watches.

So my advice to anyone aspiring to a leadership position in product marketing (or any field for that matter), is to first know what you want, then put the time and effort to learn the skills, gain the experience and build the relationships that will get you one step closer to achieving your goal. You will face obstacles and failures and rejections, at times you will feel like giving up, but if it's something you really want, you have to stick with it, because nothing in life worth having is easy. 

Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 12

It's hard to pick one skill... product marketers have to master a variety of skills to be effective in their roles - influencing people, messaging, content creation, sales enablement, opportunity assessments, competitive analysis, etc. But if I had to pick one, I would advise product marketers to continuously refine their messaging skills. And what I mean by messaging is the ability to simplify complex topics and subjects into clear, concise and compelling stories and narratives that will resonate with the target buyers and users. Always ask yourself, how do I want my product or service to be perceived by the customer? How do I make it stand out in crowded field? How do I convince the customers that our product/service is the best solution to address their needs and pain points? This I believe is one of the most important, if not he most important, skill to develop for all product marketers.

Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 15

If you have it, display it. It never hurts to try to differentiate yourself from the competition in a highly competitive field, especially if you don't have relevant bachelor's degree in business/marketing or an MBA. Some employers and hiring managers will care, others won't. But nobody will see it in a negative light.

Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 15

You should seek out product marketing specialist roles. In such a role you'll get to help product marketing managers conduct market, customer and competitive research, analyze data on product adoption and new customer acquisition, and develop marketing content and sales collateral. You'll have opportunities to learn from the PMMs the more strategic aspects of product marketing, i.e. customer segmentation, positioning and messaging, while you deliver tactical and tangible assets like drafting blog posts, infographics, video scripts, etc. that can be leveraged in demand gen campaigns, lead nurture journeys and customer success initiatives. Alternatively, you can look for roles that'll help you build out the skillset you'll need for a product marketing career, e.g. content marketing, sales enablement, partner marketing or sales enablement.

Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 15

In my experience, hiring managers don't know for sure how many years of experience is actually required for a role... it's not an exact science. What's more important is to demonstrate that you can do the work, that you can fulfill the requirements of the job. Find out what's relevant from your past experience that will demonstrate that you have the experience and skills to do the job, and that should hopefully get you in the door.

Manav Tandon
Manav Tandon
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS, Cisco | Formerly Adobe, Samsung, VerifoneFebruary 12

A couple of other areas beyond customer that PMMs and PMs can find common interests in are market trends and competitive landscape dynamics. PMMs can provide conduct their own research and provide insights around the directions the current market is heading towards, or even suggest adjacent markets that could be served by the product. Similarly, PMMs can bring insights into the competitive landscape, including, but not limited to, their feature sets, brand reputation, pricing and packaging, and marketing tactics. Both types of insights can help the product team with their longer-term vision and strategy.

Credentials & Highlights
Head of Product Marketing, Collaboration SaaS at Cisco
Formerly Adobe, Samsung, Verifone
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In Dublin, CA
Knows About Product Marketing 30/60/90 Day Plan, Product Marketing Career Path, Product Marketing...more