Product marketing is the driving force behind getting products to market - and keeping them there. This makes the product marketing role dependent on and supportive of customers in order to achieve this goal. Product Marketers require feedback from the market, such as competitive intelligence, win/loss analysis, product usage, case studies, customer feedback and market requirements. As well as showcasing value and shipping products to the market through positioning, internal enablement, field and growth marketing tactics.
While product marketing orchestrates many of these tasks, they certainly don’t always own or execute all of these duties on their own. This requires thoughtful and strategic collaboration between various departments and functions within their organization.
Product Marketing is one of the few roles that works intimately with sales, sales enablement, product, product enablement, partnerships, marketing, communications, client success, engineering and more in order to effectively gain market insights and scale product launches. The best way to work with these cross-functional teams is to consider them as your stakeholders.
Who are stakeholders and why do they matter?
According to Projectmanager.com, “a stakeholder is either an individual, group or organization who is impacted by the outcome of a project. They have an interest in the success of the project.”
It is easy for many of us to believe a stakeholder is just someone you owe work to or require approval from. But in reality, as ProductPlan puts it,
“stakeholders can grease the wheels of progress for product teams...However, stakeholders can also make [your] life difficult when they are not fully onboard.”
Below is an outline of how to work with your stakeholders, align on goals, and most importantly, how to make your next launch a success thanks to your stakeholders!
How to get buy-in from your stakeholders
In order to get buy-in from your stakeholders, it is important for them to be involved early and often. For your stakeholder to be sold on the final product, they must be involved from the beginning. This means when you are identifying market opportunities and requirements, you must collaborate with market-facing teams early and often to build out a case. Also, highlight to your stakeholders that you have shared goals and if you are successful, they are as well. Here’s an example:
- Goals - They are goaled on marketing qualified leads. This is an easy area for Product Marketing to help support through content, messaging and value propositioning.
- Your Support - Support Marketing by informing them of the product strategy and give them a head start on ideating new marketing campaigns and strategies for acquiring new customers.
- Their Support - On the flip side, learn from Marketing what their go-to ads are and the most effective campaign or tactic for them to drive leads. This can inform your work and how to better support the marketing organization.
- Goals - Along with driving sales being a mutual goal, deal size and win rate are KPIs that sales and product marketing can support each other in improving.
- Your support - Sales is also yearning to hear from product what plans the organization has to further differentiate against competitors. This is where battlecards and transparency of the roadmap will help.
- Their Support - This is also your opportunity to probe sales with questions on why they have won or lost, common objections and their perspectives of competitors in the market.
- Goals - If Product Marketers want to be true partners, they must share ownership of adoption of their product and be held accountable for the results, states Fluvio’s Devon O’Rourke. While tactical deliverables differ, their end goals remain the same.
- Your support - Product is eager to hear qualitative feedback from the market to better understand if they are building in the right direction or if there are additional opportunities to support customers. And it is not just feedback that might influence their roadmap that they want to know, it is also positive feedback in the form of testimonials and case studies they care about.
- Their support - Leveraging a Product Marketer’s insights to influence the Product roadmap is pivotal to an organization’s success. Product Management is the key to Product Marketing positively impacting and supporting future solutions.
Leverage your team for support
A mutually beneficial way of incorporating your stakeholders early, is to make them an extra set of eyes. This allows them to be involved before you have completed a tactic or collateral, and increases your chances of them being bought in and aligned on the final result.
Here are some examples of leveraging your stakeholders:
- Product management and sales can help QA your product messaging and positioning as they are both keenly familiar with the product and the audience.
- Customer Success can help validate customer feedback and assumptions.
- Business Development and Partnerships can inform you of perceptions of partners and provide feedback on collateral they use to gain buy-in.
Scale your product launch - together
Unless you are a product marketer at a scrappy start up and also make sales calls, run digital advertising, and present demos, you will need your stakeholders to launch your product beyond the walls of your company.
- Work with your SDRs to ensure they are living and breathing the messaging. Send them any relevant blogs for them to have renewed outreach with their prospects.
- Ensure Marketing understands the relevant buyer personas, are armed with messaging, and possess appropriate collateral so they are able to execute their growth and field marketing duties effectively.
- Ensure Sales are aware of the use cases for your product so they can not only pitch the solution but match its use case with the prospects exact needs.
Leverage stakeholders to report and measure your efforts
There was a recent article about how to measure product marketing, an eBook, template and many other great resources if you are looking to dive deeper into the topic. While there are a variety of unique metrics that measure the success of a product marketer’s role, they all entail driving clients and prospects to use or purchase your solution.
While a product marketer can own measuring these actions themselves, there are qualitative performance indicators that require additional context from team members who are directly selling your solution to the market.
- If only 2% of your audience are converting from an ad, your content and growth teams can tell you why and which target segments are converting most.
- If your sales team has pitched your new solution to ten prospects and only two were interested in learning more, only sales can tell you why that is and what objections their prospects had.
- If a customer purchased the solution but seldom uses it, customer success can make you aware of why that is and what would need to be improved in order to increase adoption.
Make your next product launch a hit
The above steps are intended to help improve Product Marketing’s relationship with internal teams, increase support provided by stakeholders and ultimately improve the way you go-to-market.
There is no mistake that there is power in groups. Together, disparate teams can harness this power to drive product adoption, generate revenue and improve their company’s success. This mutual support structure is a continuous cycle that does not just end with a product’s launch. You must continue to deliver value and receive support from your stakeholders and internal champions in order to unlock greater market value and continued organizational success.