We have been experimenting with a monthly recorded demo presented as a webinar. Our teams can then share out that latest recording with customers and they're never more than a month out from the latest product greatness.
By nature of being a webinar, it saves us from the curse of perfection—we record it live, it does a great job of conveying the value, and we don't obsess over every phrasing.
Storytelling provides helpful guardrails to against falling into the trap of rattling off features. In telling a story, you're thinking about the hero (your target persona), the pain they're facing or mountain they need to overcome (and why), and how your solution will help them. As you write content, think about the emotional drivers of your target persona that lie beneath the surface of the tactical; for instance, what happens if they do a given task well? How are they personally rewarded (time saved, outcome achieved, etc.)? In the end, storytelling is a way to achieve more resonant, value-based messaging that resonates the human decision makers you're writing for.
First clarify your goals in terms of "getting info" for yourself so you can better frame for your PMs. For example, are you looking to be pulled into early validation of problem areas? Convey the value this provides them, such as allowing you to create more resonant messaging thanks to early and direct exposure. Do you want detail on committed ships? Show them the initial scaffolding of your GTM plan and gaps you need to fill in. After taking time to clarify your needs, and after getting to know your PM partners and their charters, understand their existing cadences for planning and development. As much as possible, be proactive and consume info from existing forums and meetings, they'll appreciate you doing your homework!
Regular reminders and reinforcement! Sales teams obviously face a ton of pressure to hit quota, and they need to be as efficient as possible... And while some are awesome at experimentation, many will struggle to adopt new assets/messaging when they're moving fast and rely on what's familiar.
On the flip side, be sure to manage outdated materials as best you can... If there are old decks/n-pagers floating around, label them as such, and if you see things pop up from people's "private collections" send them a note with the latest and greatest and ask them to replace.
Make it as easy as possible to use a new asset (discoverable, clear guidance) and then showcase where it has been impactful for other reps. Nothing like an internal case study to motivate your team!
I've used a few different panel providers for large-scale segmentation studies, messaging feedback, and more. I won't call them out by name here, but I'll suggest things to look for as you evaluate options:
In terms of insights guiding the product roadmap for PMs, I've found segmentation studies to be an incredibly powerful tool to align the organization on strategy. It sizes the market, identifies what personas to prioritize, provides rationale for what pain points to solve for first, and creates a lock-step experience from product development to messaging and launch planning to sales enablement.
For smaller-scale, more acute decisions, working with PMs to identify specific questions they need to answer at a regular cadence (say, top questions for a given program increment) to drive product strategy is also a great way to bring value to the table.
Authenticity is key. Start by gathering verbatims from your existing users that capture why they chose your product, and double down on the impact that it has made for them. Critically, positioning is about customer value, so resist the trap of feature comparisons, especially in mature markets where features can translate to bloat.
Repetition is so important; it's about embodying the messaging in everything PMM produces, and as you enable on different assets, tying it back to the strategy. Show examples of how key points can come to life in an outbound email, provide them with quick-reference bullets that they can use as reminders of what to always reinforce in their communications.
If you're rolling out a new deck, don't just train on it one time. Introduce it, have strong reps or leaders demonstrate delivery. Show it working in the field. Give opportuntiies for them to role play and practice pitching. Ask the team what makes sense and doesn't.
Lastly, we use Gong, and I love sharing snippets of calls where the messaging was delivered well (and even where customers essentially play back our messaging to us!).
Getting everyone aligned on a decision making framework can definitely be tough, especially in fast-paced environments. I've had my share of projects where we kick-off with a thoughtful RAPID, only to have that fly out the window as we get into crunch time.
That said, when decision frameworks have persisted through projects, it's usually because we've 1) had full buy-in from the named Decider (in the RAPID framework I tend to use) and 2) have been consistent in reinforcing the framework with each update and milestone. Item 1 gives you the support you need to hold boundaries around Input/Agree and item 2 helps to reduce bottlenecks by reminding teammates who is accountable for input/perfomrance/decisions on and on what timeline.
Cross-posting and building on a similar answer!
Borrowing from April Dunford, positioning is "context setting for prospects." Once you've established your positioning (which takes time, especially if you're pre-product market fit!), you need to be consistent over a relatively long timeframe, think 3+ years. Positioning answers the value you deliver to your ideal customer, through what differentiated capabilities, and in contrast to what competitors within a particular category.
Messaging operates on a nearer term horizon, and is how you convey your value (whether as a holistic brand or as a product line) to the market; it's the storytelling strategy. Any given campaign or piece of content needs to be laser-focused on a single persona, main point, and genuine proof points or reasons to believe the main point.
To sum up, core product or platform positioning (context setting) is going to be a long-term true-north that informs your messaging (storytelling) for feature launches; if the feature launch messaging isn't rooted in your positioning, it'll undermine the market's ability to understand where you fit in their context. That's not to say you can't be creative with feature launch messaging, of course—often with launch messaging you're able to be more specific/nuanced in terms of your target persona, their jobs to be done, and the competitive alternatives they have to choose from. Just consider closely if you find your messaging feels significantly disjointed from your positioning.
While this will depend on the company culture and existing relationships across stakeholders, there are first principles that I always find helpful.