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Nikhil Balaraman

Director, Retailer Product Marketing,
Nikhil Balaraman
Director, Retailer Product Marketing, Instacart
Sales EnablementFollow Nikhil
How common it is to pivot to a PMM role from a more technical role? How would you give advice for those who want to do it?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* I actually came to PMM from an SE role/background and would highly recommend people who are in technical roles consider PMM! The best part about this transition is that you're already trained on how to be an expert on the product, and how to best address and identify customer pain poi...more
Sales EnablementProduct MarketingFollow Nikhil
What is your suggestion for startups that have a product crossing the 'Chasm'. Are there any roadmaps you would suggest?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
The chasm framework makes it seem like there's just one magic gap that needs to be jumped across, and then you can just set your sales and marketing efforts to autopilot and go on an indefinite vacation. For some companies that may be true...Zoom definitely had an exogenous force push them across...more
Sales EnablementFollow Nikhil
When and how do you prioritize partner enablement?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* It's going to be hard in the early days becuase you'll have a lot to do, and the partner channel probably is non-existant until ~20m or so in ARR. If you're selling into regulated industries this might vary/be sooner, but your main focus should be on enabling your internal teams. * G...more
Marketing OperationsProduct MarketingSales EnablementFollow Nikhil
Have you thrown a revenue kickoff, where marketing, sales, and customer success are all together. It would be where there are joint-sessions and then separate sessions for each group. I would love to see a sample schedule. I have done FKOs, but not RKOs.
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* Having been through several of these at a few different companies, the advice I would offer is that for joint-sessions focus on the biggest impact announcements (e.g., new product demos, fireside chat with a major customer w/ Q&A, new company vision/mission, etc.), and make sure to pu...more
Sales EnablementFollow Nikhil
What's the best way to create a sales playbook that gets used by sales?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* By understanding how deals work from beginning to end. Get to know the SDRs. What research do they do before starting a sequence? How does a meeting get set? Sit in on first calls. Is a first call all discovery or all demo? What follow ups get sent? And so on and so forth including un...more
Product LaunchesSales EnablementFollow Nikhil
When launching a significant sub-product (e.g. an enterprise version of an existing product) how do you strike the right balance of enabling your sales team without bombarding them with dizzying details?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* Instead of focusing on the features, start with the use case -- why are we launching this we sub-product? What problem does it solve for our key personas or existing customers? Do we have examples of users adopting this product? * Once you have an understanding for how/why people are...more
Sales EnablementFollow Nikhil
For a product marketer who only spends a portion of their time working on sales enablement with little face-to-face time with sales, what's the best way to get buy in from a large sales team?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* There are no shortcuts to getting buy in from a sales team; and, every product marketer needs to know how their product gets to market. To get buy-in from a large sales team you need to demonstrate empathy with the sales process, and be useful in accelerating pipeline. If you’re selli...more
Sales EnablementFollow Nikhil
What role should product marketers have in writing email templates for sales development reps?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* Short answer: build the framework, but allow people to be creative. Don’t micro-manage every single email. But maybe run some audits and always be close with the SDR leaders, and get a good understanding for why they are getting rejected/hearing no. * Long answer:  * PMM, and...more
Sales EnablementFollow Nikhil
What are the common mistakes you see product marketers making when they launch new sales enablement programs?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* Simply put, I think focusing on the outputs (e.g., collateral/content creation) instead of understanding the problem and building a solution for that problem. But in order to understand the problem, you have to understand how your sales team operates...you need to be on calls across t...more
Product LaunchesSales EnablementFollow Nikhil
We have a lot of stakeholders involved during our launch process. Sales is the most important, yet the least involved pre-launch. How do we get them more involved to better the odds of our launch success?
Director, Retailer Product Marketing at Instacart
* Depending on where the business is, sales should be either consulted or informed on almost every launch. Unless there is a tight liaison and voice of the sales team (ie Sales Enablement), it will primarily be consulted. In order to best understand the market, industry, personas, and s...more