Profile
Sherry Wu

Sherry Wu

Senior Director, Product Marketing, Gong
About
Ex-consultant who stumbled into PMM after grad school and never looked back. I've had experience leading GTM and product launches at 40-person startups as well as F500 technology giants. I've been the first product marketer and the hundredth produ...more

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Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingJuly 19
I love this question. As PMMs, deciding WHETHER to launch a product in the first place is just as important as an actual launch. When planning a launch, it's important to define hurdle criteria & go / no-go milestones to determine when you launch. You can re-evaluate your launch if any of those criteria are not met. Some of the criteria that I've looked at include: 1. Customer impact. If customers aren't able to use it, it's not the right time to launch. In your beta program, you should be asking customers if they are willing to use this feature right away. If there are barriers to adoption identified, then that should be a signal that the product is not ready for prime time. This could be due to a number of factors (the workflows don't work for their teams, they don't trust the data, they're unwilling to budge from their existing system, etc.) 2. Timing & availability. If you have a great offer, but your company can't deliver the product right away, you should reconsider the timing of the launch. If you launch pre-maturely, then you get into situations where your prospects and customers are constantly asking yourself for the thing that you promised at launch, which erodes trust in your company's ability to deliver and puts your sales & CS teams in a tough spot. 3. Internal readiness. Are you thinking about launching a product in a new geography? What does it take to support that product in that geo? Will it be a good experience for customers? If your product is translated in Spanish (for example), but you have no Spanish-speaking teams on Sales, Support or CS, it may be pre-mature to launch / enter that market.
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Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingJuly 19
See my answer above - the KPIs that you choose when launching a new feature of an existing product should always be tied to business outcomes. When you launch features vs products, oftentimes the business goals can be framed in terms of product adoption and cross-sell / up-sell. Here's an example. Let's say you have two products: A and B. This feature is available on Product B only. Let's say launching this new feature may entice customers who have bought Product A to add on Product B. Your goals here would be to ensure that customers who have bought Product A are using this new feature (set goals around adoption, e.g. % of Product A customers who have activated this feature within 90 days), and create pipeline for customers of Product B (e.g. $XX pipeline from existing customers, 100 accounts from existing customers with open opportunities).
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14266 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingJuly 19
There are two categories of KPIs - business KPIs and launch performance KPIs. For both types, the KPIs you choose to track depend on the goals of your product launch. Let's say you're introducing a new revenue-generating product. The main business goals of the launch might be to create brand awareness for your company and create $XX pipeline for your new product, and close $XX ARR within two quarters (depends on your sales cycle). Increasing brand awareness * Business KPIs: Ask your comms team (if you have one) for any KPIs that they use. Set a benchmark there. * Launch KPIs: As part of the launch, you might decide to issue a press release, pitch industry trades journals, and create a product landing page. KPIs here might be # of views on the press release, # of successful placements with media, and # of visits to the product landing page. Create pipeline for the new product * Business KPIs: Pipeline goals should be discussed with sales and DG partners. Let's say you want to generate $500K in pipeline from 100 marketing qualified leads. * Launch KPIs: As part of the launch, you might decide to host a prospect-facing webinar and send out an email blast to prospects. Now you're looking at KPIs related to the performance of each of these tactics -- # of webinar registrants, % of webinar attendees, email CTRs, etc. The main takeaway is that your business and launch performance KPIs should go hand in hand; the most important thing to do as a PMM is to frame your goals in terms of business outcome. Think about the goals you want to hit as it relates to product adoption, pipeline, revenue, etc. Too often, PMMs can get stuck in measuring only the launch KPIs, because that's those are easier to measure. But, it's important to identify those business KPIs even if you can't immediately measure them -- it ensures that you're tying your launch to business objectives, highlights the need for better visibility & tooling that you can build in the future. 
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11566 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingJuly 19
In my experience, this is one of the toughest things as a PMM. You always see the potential upside for making an announcement, and you can spin a story out of anything / convince anybody why something matters. But really, you need to exercise a lot of restraint to avoid overloading your sales teams (in B2B companies) and customers with the sheer volume of releases. I like to group features into regular channels (e..g monthly newsletters and webinars) so customers can appreciate the feature velocity but only have to think about digesting information once a month. For small features, it's not just about the splashiness of the feature, but the impact to customers. Here are a few examples: * Planned downtime -- this is not splashy, but users should know and be informed to plan around it. Think about the channels that you have to reach your target audience. Users may be active in the product, or it may be more effective to deliver notices via email. A multi-channel approach works well here. * Small polish features / improvements to their experience -- let's say you have a small improvement that isn't going to break workflows, but is just going to improve quality of life. Oftentimes customers will discover this improvement on their own. But, it can be helpful to highlight these features in some sort of monthly newsletter, to demonstrate how your team is continually delivering features to delight users.
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9588 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingJuly 19
I've worked at Series B startups all the way up to F500 companies. The theory behind product launches is the same - you want to align your launch to business goals. But, the HOW (the tactics and resources) and the WHO (the team) behind executing a product launch are really where there are differences. At a F500 company, you've got dedicated teams for naming, brand, sales enablement, web, social, and more. PMMs might focus only on launch messaging at a larger company, and spend a lot of time on stakeholder management and alignment. At a smaller company, you've got fewer stakeholders to get in a room, so you can move very quickly, but PMMs will often end up wearing those hats worn by other teams (e.g. writing email copy, landing page copy, thinking about naming and branding, etc.)
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8917 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingMay 11
I answered this question previously, so I won't go into too much detail here. However, I thought this question was interesting because it asked for the Director-level take as well. A lot of what I do as a Director is not just think about myself as an individual PMM, but think about the function as a whole. As a Director (or, even taking away the title -- just as a leader/people manager), what I'm thinking about is -- how can I set my team up to achieve successful outcomes? So, in addition to understanding the business, customers, product, etc., I'm also thinking about: * People- who is on the team, what are their strengths and areas for development? What motivates them? * Processes - one person might run a launch one way, another might run a launch another way. How do we make the quality of our work consistently excellent, delivered predictably and on-time, without having to recreate the wheel every single time? How do I drive alignment on behalf of the team with other stakeholders? This helps remove confusion and frustration when engaging with x-func stakeholders. This also takes away a lot of stress and ensures we can confidently achieve the outcomes we want. * Purpose - how do I set a vision for the team so that everybody is rowing in the same direction? How do I make sure that everybody knows what good looks like, is bought into that vision, and knows how to get there? In terms of a 30-60-90, this will totally depend on the state of people management when you come in, but I'd ask to see if there's a team charter (if not, create one!), whether there are career paths, and diagnose the health of current systems for collaborating with stakeholders and prioritizing initiatives.
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6350 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingMay 11
It totally depends on what's already there when you've arrived ;) What's easier to answer is what is OFF the table -- pricing refreshes, website overhauls, launching a strategic narrative. Those are big, time-consuming initiatives that shouldn't be undertaken without a foundational understanding of customer, market, product (and that takes time to develop). Some examples of quick wins I've delivered include: * Creating a single resource for product releases -- this made our CS org insanely happy, because nobody could keep up with all the changes in the product. * Setting up a monthly blog to share with customers -- this made our sales and customers happy, because the company wasn't publishing ANY external collateral on what was new. * A readout of any customer interviews you've done. It's likely that the leadership team hasn't done extensive customer research for some time. As a PMM, you're able to offer fresh perspective on customers' careabouts, reasons for buying, challenges, etc. * Setting up a launch calendar to help product and marketing teams get visibility into key themes and major launches.
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5748 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingAugust 31
Homework exercises will vary, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer here. As an interviewer I usually look for a few things: * Tie the GTM plan back to the business priorities. Tell me why the launch matters and what business impact it is expected to have. Tell me how you would measure the impact. * Be clear on your target audience. Tell me how you selected that audience -- tell me your thought process. * Account for the market / competitive landscape in your positioning. Do some light research on the other players in the market, and be able to speak to your decisions on why you've chosen to position the product in a certain way. * Ability to estimate resources and timelines required. PMMs need to be able to pull together resources across many teams. Sequencing and planning are very important. Tell me how you'd approach sequencing of activities and show me a timeline. The company you're interviewing with should be able to provide specific questions they're looking to answer. Make sure you answer those ;) And if you have questions, do NOT hesitate to reach out to the hiring manager! Homework assignments are an evaluation of core PMM skills, including your ability to develop clarity in the face of ambiguity. Think of the presentation as a pitch deck. I usually find it helpful to block out my key points in slides. I try to figure out -- what is the story I want to tell about this launch, what is the information I need? What do I want the audience to walk away with? And then I'll work in the actual content as I do my research. This helps me make sure I'm covering all my bases and answering the questions that the interviewer wants to have answered.
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3298 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingMay 11
Come with data and frame your initiatives for your leaders. Part of your first 30-60-90 days will involve understanding what's working well and not-as-well in the GTM. Talk to sales, CS, and RevOps to get a picture. Are you seeing steep discount rates in a certain segment? Are reps complaining that it takes too much time to find collateral? Is your win rate against a certain competitor low? Is your churn rate high? Look at the data, dig in to understand the why behind the trends you're seeing, then make the case for some PMM and team investment with senior leaders. And if you don't have the data at the ready, find a way to get it (without boiling the ocean). "Hey, VP Sales, you mentioned that rep productivity is a top priority for you this quarter. As I was meeting folks in my first week, I noticed a lot of AEs complained that material is super hard to find. I ran a 5-minute survey with the team and it turns out that 70% of reps spend over 2 hours each week just searching for product collateral. If you could get your reps back on the phone for those 2 hours this week, would that be a worthwhile initiative for you this quarter? If so, I can lead the charge with support from your sales enablement team." Why something like this works: * Clearly articulates the business problem in a way that's aligned with your stakeholder's priorities * Backed by data - it's irrefutable * Shows collaboration and leadership -- you're proposing to lead the initiative, while bringing along your leader's teammates for the ride * Make change less frightening -- show that you've got a plan and an idea. Even if you don't get buy-in on the idea right that second, it will help illuminate that you're thinking about the business and know your stakeholder's careabouts. It's also a great way to check in (again) on whether your initiatives are aligned with those of the business; it might turn out that the VP Sales (in this example) is worried more about competitive pressures rather than rep productivity, which helps guide you to work on something that is urgent and important to the business (which will definitely be appreciated by leadership).
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2470 Views
Sherry Wu
Sherry Wu
Gong Senior Director, Product MarketingMay 11
An effective 30-60-90 will help you make progress across 3 pillars: * What is your point of view on the company's current market standing? Where are there future opportunities? * How do you define and establish the PMM function? * How do you create scalable, repeatable processes for GTM success? The first 30 days are all about discovery. It's about deeply understanding the business, marketing fundamentals, and product. 1. What are my company's business priorities? Why? What are some of the KPIs that our company cares about? 2. What market does my company play in? Who else competes in that space? 3. Who are our customers? What are their jobs to be done? Not only should you be reading up on market reports, you should take the time to set up interviews (with both existing customers as well as churned). 4. What does our product do? How does it work? Why does it matter for our customers (i.e. what value does it deliver)? 5. What is our current GTM motion? What has worked well to date? What hasn't worked as well? Take the time to meet with your cross-functional stakeholders in sales, sales enablement, product, and the extended marketing team to understand their challenges and priorities. By the end of the first 60 days, you can use all of that investigative work to codify your roles & responsibilities, cross-functional processes, and methods for communicating with stakeholders. You can draft up a roadmap for key initiatives (launches, campaigns, collateral refreshes, etc.) to address gaps in your GTM, and get started on some of the urgent and important ones. At the end of the first quarter, you should have a comfortable grasp on what you need to do to take your product to market, who you should work with, and how to execute on your key initiatives. You'll also have some learnings from the initiatives you've embarked on in month 2 (for example, let's say you wanted to start the company's first-ever product release blog -- what did you learn from that, how would you do it better for the future?). The exact initiatives that you choose to undertake will totally depend on the priorities of the business and stakeholder input. While I've given some general advice above, the most important thing is to be adaptable! Check in at the end of the month (with yourself and your stakeholders) -- ask if anything should be adjusted, and re/de-prioritized based on what you've learned.
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Credentials & Highlights
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Gong
Formerly MaintainX, Samsara, Comfy, Cisco
Top Product Marketing Mentor List
Studied at MBA (Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley); BA Political Economy (UC Berkeley)
Lives In SF Bay Area
Hobbies include Climbing, hiking, backpacking, reading, collecting vinyls
Knows About Building a Product Marketing Team, Competitive Positioning, Competitive Sales Enablem...more
Work At Gong
Vice President, Product Marketing
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