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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

I see those as different skills sets and usually different teams but I don't think there are strict lines in between them. Product Marketers should own the story, the core positioning and messaging, the surrounding context / thought leadership and GTM strategy. Ideally there are counterparts in integrated marketing, campaigns or growth marketing to help make that come to life. 

But I think there's also what is ideal on paper and what is practical in real life. More often then not those integrated brand / campaign teams are swamped and not only serving the needs of product marketing. As a result, PMMs will more often then not need to stretch into what it specific assets and content needs to be created - whether that's videos, ebooks, blog posts, etc. And quite frankly, your partners in marketing will thank you if you come to them with ideas and they you can brainstorm the best path forward. 

When I am hiring PMMs the core positioning and messaging skills matter the most, but I also want to know that they can stretch to think and how should this be brough to market. 

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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

I'm glad you asked about KPIs. As Product Marketers, we don't have the luxury of a single metric or even a couple metrics. We own the health of the story & vision our company is selling. I say health intentionally. It's not just that we own the story (we do) but we also need to make sure it's landing amongst our key segments, that we have the right segments, our sellers can actually deliver the story (if you're B2B) and on and on. And it's something that we need to be monitoring regularly --- which is where KPIs come in. I see the cornerstone KPIs in four categories: Interest, Velocity, Win Rate, Cross-Sell.

For the B2B context, these are some specific examples I would expect to see in these categories. For B2C - these can still apply, but win rate will be more around engagement or purchase conversion.

Interest - Opportunity Growth - how many new opportunities is the business creating each month? Your goal is to grow this number! If it starts to stagnate - go figure out why. Is your content stale? Did your target segment change? Is a competitor stealing attention?

Velocity - Deal Progression - how long (days/weeks) does it for deals to move through the sales cycle? Your goal is to see if you can shorten it - through sales plays, content, customer stories, ROI calculators, etc. Look for where deals are getting stuck and stay close to your sellers.

Win Rate - Win Rate :) - what percentage of deals become closed-won revenue for the business? Your goal here is, no surprise, maintain or improve your win rate! Also included here is a win rate against top competitors, but as an input into the overall metric. If you see your win rate dipping that's where you need to quickly diagnose what's behind it.

Cross-sell - Cross-sell :) - what percentage of accounts purchase additional products after becoming a customer? Your goal here is understand if your story continues to work post-sale. Is the vision your company sells compelling customers to expand their business with you? Are youe expansion plays working as well as your land plays?

The challenge we face as a product marketer is we don't control a single part of the process - rather we influence all parts of the buyer journey from first touch all the way to cross-selling. Looking at one metric will never give us the full picture. Use metrics like those above to measure the impact of the work you are doing and look for opportunities to make improvements.

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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

Love this question. I believe that a major difference between successful PMMs and those who struggle is their relationship with the Sales org. 

Here are some ideas that can help you build trust with sales:

  1. Help win a deal - This might mean some busy work creating slides, joining a call to offer a new perspective or sitting down with a seller to game plan an account. Often times, it's work that's not directly related to your day to day but can translate to a salespersons takehome pay. And money talks.
  2. Be responsive and available - When you get pinged by a seller or sales leader for help to find time to assist - even it it means moving some of your meetings around. This can be a slippery slope if you do this too much, but early on and for key accounts or senior leaders it can make a huge difference.
  3. Understand a challenge sales is facing and ship a solution - This may seem obvious but it will win you big points with sales leaders. They are constantly managing fires in the deal process and if you can take one of those off their plates they will be very grateful.
  4. Become an expert - It's a really good sign if sales teams and sales leaders turn to you to support an executive conversation or speak directly with customers. What expert means depends on the size of your PMM team and the scope of your role. Just make sure it's a topic that matters to customers.
  5. Stand your ground - This is probably the hardest of all. Sales people can be tough, aggressive and dare I say pushy :). What they respect is people who push back and are not push overs. Don't become a "yes" person to sales. Use data, talk through priorities and hold your ground. They will respect your for it.
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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

Friction with stakeholders definitely comes with our jobs. While it can be stressful, frustrating and evening maddening, ultimately I think it also makes us better PMMs. That's my biggest suggestion for how to approach these situations. Ask yourself what can you learn from their pushback?

A few years ago I had a sales leader tell me on sales leadership meeting that our play for a specific competitor was completely broken and he was instructing his team not run it anymore. Obviously having this brought up in front of a group sales leaders is about as unideal of a situation as I can imagine, but here's what I did. 

  1. Maintained my composure - as hard as that was, but it allowed me to turn the tables a bit.
  2. Starting asking him a bunch of questions about how he came to this conclusion and what his team was seeing.
  3. I shared what our win rates looked like with this competitor(which at the time showed no indication of our play failing). 
  4. I asked to speak to his team directly to see what I could glean from their experiences and what modifications we needed to make.

Ultimately, we uncovered that it was actually unqiue to a customer segment in his region and not indicative of an overall issue with our positioning against the competitor. It still warranted a fix and I worked with him to alter the play.

Here are my pointers for managing difficult stakeholders:

  • I cannot do my job without my stakeholders so I have to have working relationships with them - even if they drive me nuts. Often times that means you have to be bigger person and maintain composure during your interactions. Remember that this should be a long term relationship - it's ok to have heated disagreements. Just don't do anything that's going to poison your relationship in the future.
  • Make sure your stakeholders feel heard. This is the single most important thing you can do. If they feel like you understand where they are coming from and what they are dealing with, they are much more likely to trust you. 
  • Talk through tradeoffs and priorities. In the example above, the time I spent getting to the bottom of the problem was time I had to take from other projects. If you don't feel comfortable talking through the tradeoffs directly with the stakeholder, talk it through with your manager and then go back to the stakeholder and say "We hear you, but right now we don't have the resources to work on it. We can fit it in next week, next month, etc. If it needs to happen sooner, we may need help from your team to make it happen." This is a great tactic to see just how important the project is to stakeholder. If they push back you can escalate to leadership.
  • Use data. Avoid getting in disagreements based on opinion - you'll get no where. If there is no data, get your counterpart to agree that the first step is to get the data and then you both can come to a decision on next steps.
  • Find a way to give the stakeholder a win. It doesn't have to be the win they initially pushed for, but it needs to be a win for them. In the example above, the quick win I was able to give that stakeholder to bring him to my side was work directly with his team. It turns out he felt his sellers were being left to fend for themselves. 
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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

Love this question! Definitely a daunting task for any PMM. Here are my top three suggestions: 1) Incorporate customers 2) Get sellers to present 3) Make it a competition.

Incorporate Customers - This can be hard to do but it will go a long way to making it land. In the past, I've done this with a video showing a bunch of customers talking about their business and the challenges they are facing. You could also invite a customer for a fireside chat and be sure to ask them questions that hit on key points in the new deck. By incorporating customers you can show your sales team that you're what you built directly addresses customer pain.

Get Sellers to Present - Make friends with a few influential sellers. This is a good guideline period and especially important when rolling out a new pitch deck. These sellers can provide input along the way (even if you don't incorporate it) and ideally they can find opportunities to try it or portions of it in a real environment with customers. At a minimum, if you can get a couple sellers to see the light of your new pitch deck they can be huge advocates during the rollout process. Ideally they will even do a mock pitch in front of the rest of the sales team. Sellers are much more likely to pay attention when an influential or highly regarded seller is speaking. So go make some friends!

Make It a Competition - I think this is by far and away the most effective and the easiest for you to control. Time and access my limit your ability to do 1 and 2, but in the absence of those (or ideally in addition) make it a competition will get sellers to pay attention and stay focused. The competition could be the best pitch (you could do this as teams or individuals or do it by region). I would also do a competition for the best live usage of it as shown through a Gong or Chorus call. For prizes certainly $$ always helps, but I have found you can spend less if the prizes are really unique like custom Nikes, time with the CEO or a hard-to-get celebrity on CAMEO. Make it a game and your sellers will learn and thank you for it.

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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

You have to align on what priorities you are working on and when. I even suggest having a sort of PMM roadmap. If you can get that agreed to at the leadership level then it will be a lot easier to have conversations with your stakeholders across teams.

There are always going to be firedrills you have to jump on, but by driving alignment and visibility at the leadership level you can make sure those are the exception not the rule.

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Nate Franklin
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude January 26

The best way to manage stakeholder input is to start with a project plan or institutite a cadence that has specific points for stakeholders to provide input. Otherwise, as I am sure most PMMs have experienced, it comes in all over the place and in moments where it's not helpful. 

For example, when I am running a launch, I'll articulate specific times when feedback is requested and by which teams. Usually it starts with leadership and then as we progress it cascades down to a select group of ICs who are assigned to collaborate on the launch. Through the process we continue to have check points with leadership so that they feel informed and aware. 

I've found this usually results in less surprising feedback because they are more in tune with what's going on. It also gives you a way to respond when someone gives input during a time when it's not helpful. You can say "hey guy thanks for the input, but right now we are still building / testing, I'll be circling back with you in a week to follow-up once we are a little further along."

As for how to incorporate - that requires you to go back to initial goals. If their input is a good idea but will take extra time, you have to decide if the tradeoff is worth it. If their input changes the direction of your project and they are insistent upon it (or it comes from an executive) you will likely need to go back to leadership and see if the goals for the project have changed. And if they haven't politely tell this person that we cannot prioritize that input right now.

Credentials & Highlights
Director, Product Marketing at Amplitude
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco, CA
Knows About Go-To-Market Strategy, Product Launches, B2B Product Marketing KPI's, Product Marketi...more