Rehan Mirza

Rehan MirzaShare

VP of Growth, Verifiable
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Rehan Mirza
Rehan Mirza
VP of Growth, Verifiable
Rehan Mirza
Rehan Mirza
VP of Growth, VerifiableMarch 27

A variety of mediums, depending on the level of update we're providing:

- Announcements in Slack channels across practices

- Sales trainings & enablement sessions

- Various internal all-hands presentations

- Campaign/initiative decks that list out the strategy (targeting/positioning), assets/content/activities, and results

Rehan Mirza
Rehan Mirza
VP of Growth, VerifiableMarch 27

Our PMM team currently rolls up under the Marketing practice, which rolls up into the Customer Org (Customer Success/Support, People Science, Marketing). This means Sales reports up through another org, as does Product - and each has their own set of key objectives/priorities. As the question here alludes, sure this can play a factor in easily influencing product roadmap (never an easy task no matter where you sit).

However, I've found the best way to influence the roadmap is by first, by building relationships with PMs and finding ways to support them early in their shaping/scoping process. This can be through market research, customer connections, or data analysis from the field (sales/success). 

More important than where you sit, I think it's the ability to identify these ways to provide value early on vs. being a project manager who's just seeing if the feature is on track (albeit, also important). 

Every SaaS org I've been in, there's always been a tension between Sales <> Product <> Customer - 

"customer X is threatening to leave because we dont have Y feature

"I keep losing a bajillion (anecdotal) deals because of Y feature"  

"Sales keeps overpromising and asking for one-off features that only their single prospect wants"

One thing that PMM can do in this situation is help all sides of this triangle looking at and reviewing the same sets of data - especially as part of regular scoping/shaping planning session. For example, capturing 'at-risk' or 'churned' reasons related to product feature categories/roll-ups, or using these same roll-ups as part of your 'Win/Loss' statusing within Salesforce. Doing so in Salesforce can allow not only the count of submissions (or upvote/downvotes) to be reviewed, but also the associated ARR, segment, region, industry, etc... associated with the product feedback and also allows for easy dashboard visualization and drill-down capabilities. This can help Product see, not only what customers are asking for, but what non-customers are looking for in a quantified - with all stakeholders looking at the same data. 

While this doesn't guarantee influence over a roadmap, it creates the instance where all parties are looking at the same data/speaking the same language. From there, creating points for these groups to provide additional feedback/context on this data to product, along with product walking through their thinking/prioritzation during this session can also be massively helpful in creating greater alignment between these orgs. 

Again, I don't mean this to sound easy in writing this by any means, but some tactics as part of a larger process I've found to be successful in improving communication and understanding across teams. 

Rehan Mirza
Rehan Mirza
VP of Growth, VerifiableMarch 27

Recently PMM has been very involved with top-of-funnel marketing and campaigns, so a lot of the typical metrics you might suspect in a campaign are ways we measure success for these (Leads, MQLs, MQL>Opp conversion, Opportunities generated).

For more middle & bottom of funnel content - we use a tool called Pathfactory (content tracks of content) that allow for visibility into what content is being sent out by sales, what is getting viewed, how much time spent on assets, and having this link in with opportunities influenced in Salesforce, which gives us a sense of revenue impact.

Separately, this quarter, we're focused heavily on partnering with Sales Enablement to impact a very particular layer of the sales funnel where we were seeing the highest levels of drop-off (early discovery/pain). In focusing on this, we're working on additional tooling in SFDC to capture what is impactable vs non-impactable reasons (impactable by SE/PMM training). Once breaking out the impactable %, we're focusing our efforts this quarter on activities/trainings/content that supports for early "Why Change" opening perspective messaging (via slides or whiteboard), additional discovery training/questions refinement, and a revised First Call Deck that provides more wide-angle messaging beyond product features (cliche, but check out Andy Raskin on Medium). The goal here is to zoom in on an early-stage in the Sales cycle where we're experiencing dropoff and seeing opportunity and measure the imporvement we're able to have here through a quantifiable metric.  

Rehan Mirza
Rehan Mirza
VP of Growth, VerifiableMarch 27

If you're on this forum as a PMM, you know that one of the biggest challenges for the PMM org is "What the hell do we measure!?" - an age-old conundrum that PMMs always struggle with. This is especially pronouned in an enterprise B2B environment vs. a fast-moving B2C environment where immediate usage/feedback may be available. 

To me, the most primary thing I'm looking for is how effective the person is in relationship/ stakeholder management. In Product Marketing, you have many constituents across Sales, Product, and customer teams, as well as within Marketing itself. It's easy to get pulled in a lot of different directions with competing priorities - so how these stakeholders are communicated & collaborated with, along with how they're supported becomes something I really try and pay attention to when looking at how a PMM is advancing in their development.

Additionally, with PMM being a strategic and highly cross-functional role - instead of a list of set metrics, I'll look to how the PMM is able to bring together and run a cross-functional project that has clear outcomes and success metrics related to that (we've moved to OKRs, and also have project-team goal-setting & feedback tools within Culture Amp that support this agile team structure). 

I think what's most important is for the individual to know, depending on the team's overarching priorities (aligned up to practice and company-level), how the work that they're doing contributes and which of the projects they are running are seen as critical projects for them to demonstrate competence and success in to align with their career progression objectives. Though, one thing I've also learned in my career is to make sure that you've had this conversation / and gaining alignment with your own manager on this, before extending this clarity out. Because if the individual really leans in and delivers, but you aren't able to hold up your end (I've been on both sides of this), it can really torpedo morale and lead to the frustration of people feeling like they're on a neverending treadmill.

Rehan Mirza
Rehan Mirza
VP of Growth, VerifiableMarch 27

Culture is something we think about a lot - think it's a bit of a requisite to do so when it's in your company's name. We have a saying here which is "Culture comes first, whether you're conscious of it or not" - so in my mind it's clear you absolutely NEED to be actively cultivating it and maintaining it.

There's a lot we do to cultivate and maintain culture at the company-level (Culture Amp), at the Org-level (Customer org), and the practice-level (Marketing overall). While I'll speak to some of the things we do at a team-level (PMM). 

Being a distributed team (in both SF and Melbourne) our systems of communication (Slack, Zoom, Asana) become of critical importance to set the places in which we collaborate. These become even more essential as the team grows and scales. 

One thing, that doesn't necessarily scale, but I think is absolutely critical is the importance of weekly 1:1s (1hr) - this becomes even more critical when people get busy. Beyond creating a sense of connection, these meetings can often unblock/accelerate at a rate beyond the time you put in. As a feedback-driven company, real-time/continuous feedback is something really prioritize, both in-person and in-product ( I wouldn't be a true PMM if I didn't mention Culture Amp has a Performance Management solution). In our current performance process, we alternate quarterly between a performance development cycle (employee self-reflection & convo w/mgr focused only on development) and a performance measurement cycle (employee self-review, manager evaluation, peer feedback, and measurement processes related to comp/promotion). Having the set space & cadence to hold development-only conversations has really allowed me to understand at a personal level, what's most important to my team and then allows me to be an advocate to work towards getting those opportunities for them.    

Also, as a manager, on a regular basis I am going into the Culture Amp platform to understand what we're excelling at as a company/org/practice and team - from there, I can see where areas to focus are that would have the highest impact and commit to only one action that I plan to take over the quarter. This past quarter, I conducted "Stay Interviews" with my entire team (1 hr long convo. This was a great exercise in learning both what motivates my team, potential things I could be doing differently, and what potential triggers may be for them to cause them to leave. Holding these with every member of the team reduced the "uneasiness" around the questions and allowed it to seem more like a process than a "gripe session". I found myself leaving these meetings with a new sense of focus on what I could be doing to empower, engage and retain my team over the long haul. (Link to the questions I used) 

We also hold sacred our weekly kickoff/wrap-up (2x week; 30 min) team meetings at the beginning and tail-end of the week. This helps us stay connected throughout the happenings of the week, but also gives us additional time to catch up and connect (this is even more critical in the current times of COVID). Knowing in-person catchups are calso critical, we also have a quarterly budget set up to have the SF team visit the Melbourne office or vice versa. 

From more of a core values perspective - the two principles I think are most critical for a great team culture are trust and transparency. In my mind, trust comes from the commitment to do always be doing what's right for the other person (even ahead of what's "right" for the company), as team relationships are what carry throughout your career. A few of the things I mentioned above help build that trust and also give you the information necessary to operate with the best interests of your teammates in mind. With regards to transparency, not only does it lead to greater information-sharing (critical in a distributed team), but it's one of the core underpinnings of trust. I've especially found that if there's trust and transparency throughout a process or decision - even if the outcome isn't what the team member/individual wanted, they buy into it more if they buy into the process. 

 

Credentials & Highlights
VP of Growth at Verifiable
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Francisco
Knows About Consumer Product Marketing, Solutions and Platform Product Marketing, Building a Prod...more