Sarah Din

Sarah DinShare

VP of Product Marketing, Quickbase
A tech nerd and storyteller at heart, I found my passion in leading marketing for tech companies. I obsess over products that make life easier and am a sucker for good brand experiences. My experti...more
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Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseJanuary 19

This is a question I get a LOT. Everyone wants to know whats the idea PMM team structure. The short answer is there isn't one.

Firstly, the role of a PMM looks different in every company. Secondly, the role of a PMM is not static. The role should evolve based on business priorities. So while you may structure the team a particular way today, know that you might need to change that structure a year from now if your priorities shift, especially at a start-up where things change quickly. Here are a few things to keep in mind though:

  • Look at the ratio of PM to PMM as a starting point, especially if you have a product-led organization. You want to keep this ratio as small as possible because if you have multiple products and launches to manage, you will need more PMMs to help manage them.
  • If your priority is more sales-led then try to focus your team on either personas or GTM segments. For example, if you sell into different verticals, you might also want to think about how you divide vertical expertise within the team.
  • Another approach is to structure a team based on functional areas: Sales-enablement, competitive intel, product launches, etc. This is not my favorite tBH but I've seen people do this. I believe this pigeonholes your team and leaves no room for their growth.
  • A hybrid approach is also ideal for small teams. You want to build a matrix of priorities and then divide them amongst the team but make sure you have clear swim lanes and that each person has ownership of a certain area. This will help career growth, give you a more well-rounded team and it makes it easy for people to move around and work on different, interesting projects.

Currently, my PMM team is structured on the different parts of our platform because that's where I need my team to be focused. Additionally, I also own content strategy so we have that role on our team - since that person is a hybrid for marketing and product content. (Lots of open roles on my team if you are interested, reach out :) )

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

We are in the process of creating an internal messaging hub, where all of our messaging will live. This hub will be on our Confluence site (which is what we use as our internal Wiki for the org). Our goal is to host all of our messaging docs on that hub, and give everyone access to it as a "Single Source of Truth" (SSOT). For the rollout, we also did a focus group with leads from different functions to get feedback on what formats work best for them.

Some teams, such as marketing or product teams, will likely want to review messaging in detail, but for a lot of other teams, you likely need “snackable” versions of your messaging. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to deliver this information in a variety of ways, and you need to deliver it over time so you are reinforcing it again and again to make it land.

Here are some ways we have tailored this content to different stakeholders:

  • Executives: we have created an executive pitch that our leadership team can use for anything from internal presentations to analysts briefings or executive customer meetings, based on our updated messaging - this is our corporate messaging at the highest level
  • Marketing/Product: We have our core value proposition, elevator pitches in different word counts, use cases mapped to product features and functionality, buyer persona overviews, ICPs, and a doc on proof points and customer testimonials. We also link to our competitive intel from our messaging docs, but that is an entirely separate initiative.
  • Sales: Sales pitch decks, talk track, training videos, documentation on objection handling and any competitive positioning docs.
Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

Great question! You can easily spend a lot of time on building the perfect messaging framework, but it can be useless if other teams, especially sales, do not understand it or believe in it - so here are a few things to keep in mind as you work through messaging:

  • Involve them at the start of the process. The first step in any new messaging project should be doing research and gathering input. Do a focus group with your sales team and gather their feedback - they are on the front lines every day and likely have great insight into what challenges customers often bring up, what they respond to, what has worked in the past, etc. In addition to getting useful information, you are also bringing your sales team along the journey.
  • Get sales leadership involved. Make sure they understand the value of messaging, and then make sure that once you are ready to roll it out, that they will support it and make sure that their teams participate. For example, when we rolled out new messaging, we launched a pitch certification program for each of our sales leaders (Manager and Directors), as well as the AE’s.
  • Make sure that messaging is part of the onboarding process. This applies to the entire org, but especially for sales. As they get trained on your product(s) or services - you want to make sure they are learning the right messaging and positioning from the start
  • Make it actionable. At SurveyMonkey, we have developed very detailed internal messaging docs, but we do not expect sales to use those to learn how to position our company and our products. Instead, we used those messaging docs to develop sales pitches for each of our buyer personas/products, including talk tracks, and we also recorded a few videos with sales leaders delivering that talk track - all of this was packaged and launched via a training program for the sales team, which includes role play and pitch competitions. By creating all of these materials - you are giving them something actionable that they can start using right away.
  • Use multiple touchpoints. Treat this like a campaign. You have to get creative and think of multiple touchpoints and various formats to deliver this information internally. Use a mix of in-person workshops, office hours to answer questions, internal podcasts talking about the new messaging, pitch decks they can actually use, one pagers to highlight the company or the product value proposition, etc. Different people learn in different ways, so you want to make sure you are giving them a variety of opportunities to learn.


Lastly, your messaging should be easy for anyone - in or out of your org - to grasp. If your messaging really tells the right story, sales will WANT to learn it.

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

When:

I like to think of testing in 2 stages. The first one is when you are just getting started and want to understand what are the big pain points you are solving for and what do customers care about. That is the first round of market research you will do to build your actual messaging.

The second round comes once you have built a basic messaging framework, but now you need to wordsmith. For example, Do they like the word "Measure" or do they prefer the word "Understand". At the end of the day - you will use this data, plus your judgement to create your final messaging.

How:

You want to make sure you test this in a variety of channels and with a variety of customer types (across segments, industries, etc).

Test in different marketing channels

  • A/B testing on your website is probably one of the best ways of testing messaging if you get decent amount of traffic to your site
  • Test it on social channels - see what people respond to most - and this can be free
  • A/B test email copy - Most companies are already doing email marketing - pick a few to test your messaging in
  • SEM ads - if you are already running paid ads, just test your messaging against a control. SEM ads are typically quick to implement, and it can give you a wealth of data
  • If you have a SaaS product - test your new messagin in-product
  • If you have an outbound sales motion, test your messaging in your sales outreach emails or call scripts

There are DIY market research products out there that are affordable (shameless plug, but as a PMM, I regularly use Audience which our online DIY panel that really is very affordable for quick projects like this). We used this to develop our own messaging internally - very Meta I know.

Focus groups. Do a few focus groups and get a mix of current customers as well as potential customers to give you feedback - the information you get from these interviews is usually worth every penny. I have also seen a few apps out there that help you source very specific audiences for user research.

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

The first thing here is to make sure the research you are doing is done with the end goal in mind. Meaning, think of how you are going to deliver this messaging, what is your final framework and format. If you are using a traditional value proposition framework for example, it might look something like this at a very high level

  • You audience
  • Their biggest challenge
  • Your solution/offering
  • How you solve their problem (solution/benefit statements)
  • Your core differentiators

So when you do your research, make sure you are collecting data for each part of your messaging framework. The harder part is actually coming up with the right variations to test.

For example, when we did our quant surveys, we wrote several questions to test messaging for each of the sections (outlined above) in our unique value proposition. Once we got the data back, we looked at what rose to the top and it made our job significantly easier. You also want to look at all the research, find patterns and themes that start to surface, and then boil it down to the most essential message from there. I like to start with the value proposition, before I dive into developing an elevator pitch - because the elevator pitch should be a synthesis of everything above, but just written in a more customer-facing, conversational format.

Research can be complicated, but honestly we have teams here to help so i feel fortunate. For anyone interested in some templates we created to run concept testing for our messaging, I am happy to share them, just reach out to me directly.

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

This really depends on your where you are as an organization, and what your overall goals are, but here are a few thoughts and ideas:

  • If you are trying to move up-market as an org, you can try to measure brand perception with different segments over time. While brand perception is not entirely isolated to messaging, messaging plays a huge role in how your brand is perceived and this can be a great indicator of how customers are responding to the story you are telling about your org. Most orgs have a brand tracker that runs at a regular cadence, it can be as simple as adding an additional question to your brand tracker.
  • If the goal is to educate sales and inspire confidence - Measure sales confidence before and after you train the team on new messaging (we work with sales enablement to run a survey quarterly to measure this) - this can help you show/prove impact internally
  • You can potentially look at performance of campaigns over time (pre-messaging rollout and post-messaging rollout) and see if the new messaging is able to increase the performance of any paid or demand gen campaigns.
  • Analyst briefings - if you have access to any analysts in the space, you can also test your messaging with them and use thier feedback to determine success.

Messaging impact so many functions across an organization, in my opinion, its hard to attribute a single KPI to messaging. If done well, messaging drives growth and revenue and makes a significant impact to your brand overall.

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

If I had to pick one thing, it is your core value proposition. Everyone should understand what your solution/benefit statement is. We use this format "We help you, so you can..". Secondly, everyone should know what makes your product unique - why are you different/better than your competitors.

Next, you want to make sure that people really know your elevator pitch - this does not have to be the long, detailed pitch but the quick elevator pitch you would want them to use if they were, lets say at a dinner party and their friend asked where they work -- what do you want them to say?

I mentioned this in an earlier questions, but you need to treat messaging like an internal campaign. You have do the work around rolling it out to customers, but you also need to roll this out internally.

  • Make sure you bring key stakeholders along the journey - get their feedback in developing it so they are bought in from the start and feel a sense of ownership
  • Make sure you have a well-thought out rollout plan - deliver the message in different formats and deliver it over time to ensure it lands
  • Make it fun and engaging - swag also helps! We created stickers with our new messaging (but you can do Tshirts, etc)
  • Make the information easy to access and available for self-serve
Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

If you have differing opinions across your org, you definitely need to bring some data to the table. Testing is a critical part of developing successful messaging, and testing or market research does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

Even if you don’t have a huge budget, you can still do some amount of testing to gather insights that help highlight what resonates with your market. You also want to do a mix of these to get a holistic view of what works and what doesn’t across various channels. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Test in different marketing channels
    • A/B testing on your website is probably one of the best ways of testing messaging if you get decent amount of traffic to your site
    • Test it on social channels - see what people respond to most - and this can be free
    • A/B test email copy - Most companies are already doing email marketing - pick a few to test your messaging in
    • SEM ads - if you are already running paid ads, just test your messaging against a control. SEM ads are typically quick to implement, and it can give you a wealth of data
    • If you have a SaaS product - test your new messagin in-product
      If you have an outbound sales motion, test your messaging in your sales outreach emails or call scripts
  • There are DIY market research products out there that are affordable (shameless plug, but as a PMM, I regularly use Audience which our online DIY panel that really is very affordable for quick projects like this). We used this to develop our own messaging internally - very Meta I know.
  • Focus groups. You will likely spend a little bit on incentives with this, but do a few focus groups and get a mix of current customers as well as potential customers to give you feedback - the information you get from these interviews is usually worth every penny. I have also seen a few apps out there that help you source very specific audiences for user research.

Lastly, another approach we took was to do Analyst briefings. These are experts in your space, leverage their opinion to get consensus internally as well (along with the data from all other tests)

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

You want your ICP to give you a good sense for all of the above. Its hard to give you specifics, because this will vary by org. 

We defined our ICP per product (we have 8 products in our B2B portfolio), pulled sales data for the past 365 days, and did an in-depth analysis on that to define a few things such as:

  • Top segments we win in (and trends over time) for each product (SMB, Mid-market, Enterprise)
  • Top industries or verticals where we have been closing the most deals, with the highest AOV (per product)
  • Top geographies (with the most deals closed or highest AOV) (Per product)
  • Top personas/roles/seniority of buyer types purchasing each product

Once you have your complete list of attributes, you want to cut this data in different ways to see where you see some trends and patterns that tell you a good story about who your ideal customer is, and how they buy. I also like to do repeat this process over the course of time to see how things are shifting;

Sarah Din
Sarah Din
VP of Product Marketing, QuickbaseSeptember 24

The format that has worked for us to-date is segmenting users by functional roles / buyer personas and use cases. For example - Let’s say your product caters to both HR and IT - you want distinct messages for HR and for IT - because the challenges HR faces are likely very different than what IT cares about. But to take this a step further, even within HR itself, you might have a product that solves for either recruiting, or onboarding or employee engagement (or all) - Isolate the top use cases and develop messaging around that specifically. The key is get specific!

At the end of the day, put yourself in your customers’ shoes - what will help close that deal is messaging that is tailored to their immediate challenge, and shows them the ideal world that only exists with your product/solution!

Credentials & Highlights
VP of Product Marketing at Quickbase
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Lives In California
Knows About Enterprise Product Marketing, Influencing the C-Suite, Messaging, Product Marketing I...more
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