We’d say we’ve got another batch of cracking questions for you this week...but you’re probably sick of hearing us say that, so we’ll just get stuck in.
Cough, cough: if you haven’t already, here’s the link you need to join in.
Q: I am looking to convert my highly technical product roadmap to a value-based roadmap our sales team can show to the business audience within the prospective customer base. I was wondering if anyone has an example of any templates and level of information that is shown?
A: Here are how some other PMMs managed the transition:
“I did this at our company via Aha! (roadmapping tool). They have a function called roadmaps which can be publicly shared (or gated as well if you’d like).
“In terms of the level of depth, we usually only showed the master feature (the high level thing that solves the pain of the customer — not the minutia of how that thing needs to function/work). We remove any and all dates (hard) and just generally put up Q1 focus areas or big rocks.
“Internally, I organize all of our features based on customer/prospect requests but I remove this info and just organize by various products.”
- Farhan Manjiyani, Product Specialist at Qu POS
“In the past, I’ve broken down our technical work at a high level as innovation/new marketable features, enhancements/baseline improvements and maintenance/tech debt. This segments the audience as prospects and customers for new marketable features and customers for baseline improvements.
“I’d coordinate with sales on reviewing the technical roadmap to distil what you and sales think are marketable features and lay those out for those audiences (prospects, customers). Sales just want to know if/when they can pre-sell and what’s safe to communicate. You don’t need complicated roadmaps for that — just some +/- on confidence when the product will land.”
- Dave Shanley, Founder at Content Camel
Here’s an example of Loom’s external roadmap using productboard.
Q: I'm seeking some best practices for crafting a new messaging strategy. Our B2B SaaS company is shifting our approach from selling individual products to selling ourselves as a comprehensive multi-solution platform. I'm happy to do my own research, but if anyone knows of any articles that were especially helpful, or any success/horror stories they could share, I'd appreciate it!
A: This came in from Lin Shearer, Founder and Principal Consultant at Spark Consulting:
“I’ve tackled this challenge for two similar situations - once for eBay Enterprise/Magento and once for Apttus. The key is tying the suite to an overarching story and process. In the eBay Enterprise/Magento case, we built a story around the end-to-end consumer lifecycle - and showed how the portfolio helped merchants across that lifecycle deliver a personalized, exceptional experience. For Apttus, we built the story around the driving commercial excellence across the revenue lifecycle - from sales to contract to billing to rev rec.
“This would also be a great opportunity to build a new corporate narrative structured as 1) old game, 2) new game, 3) the overarching goal of the game from your customers' perspective = what nirvana looks like and 4) challenges for reaching nirvana juxtaposed with the tools you need to overcome these challenges (i.e., your product suite) > Proof points that you have delivered nirvana with your product suite = case studies.”
Q: I work in the B2B space in a market that’s pretty crowded. We have noticed that webinars aren’t very effective anymore. Has anyone here tried out a marketing vehicle that replaces the old school webinar format and been successful?
A: Webinars aren’t dead just yet and there are still plenty of people seeing success - one PMM in Slack said theirs get 750-1,000 registrations and 500-600 participants, not too shabby, eh?
Before we explore some alternatives, here are some ideas you could try to make webinars work for you:
- If you have competitive separation, instead of focusing the webinar around what the pain is, talk about why you solve the pain better. People have probably heard about their pain countless times already so there’s little incentive to tune in and hear about it again.
- Contradicting our previous point, don’t talk about your product at all. Keep it product-adjacent, of course, but covering a topic that’s valuable to your market and demonstrating your expertise around that area will a) leave your attendees feeling enriched and b) assure them you’re a knowledgeable force to be reckoned with.
- This one’s pretty standard, but play around with your times - they can make a huge difference.
- Don’t call it a webinar. Sometimes, the word ‘webinar’ can have a negative connotation. People recall the old days when they were stale but today, with all the technology we have available to us, that’s really not the case. Position it as a summit, session, digital festival, show, anything else that fits the bill of what you’re actually doing.
If you want to stay away from webinars altogether, another option could be an offsite event - but this poses geographical barriers. Or, how about an Ask Me Anything (AMA)? Or a Q&A style video? If you record the video with real customers onscreen and participating, that’ll help you maintain some of that interactivity element.
Q: For marketing software releases, do you include everything in the blog post/email or do you only include new features that provide value to customers, feature updates/enhancements? What marketing activities do you use for small patch releases?
A: This one depends entirely on the scale of your release so it sounds like the first step you need to take is determining what tier your launch is in. Here’s our framework to help with that:
And then here’s a checklist to help you gauge how hard you go with your marketing activities:
This isn’t prescriptive but be careful not to over or under launch by straying from the checklists too much.
Q: What type of role did you have before entering Product Marketing?
A: This one was a poll and the results were...
- Marketing Generalist (34%)
- Customer Support (12%)
- Strategy/Consulting (12%)
- Brand Marketing (10%)
- Product Manager (10%)
- Tech Sales - e.g. Account Executive (10%)
- Business School (8%)
- Sales (2%)
- Advertising Agency (2%)