Get comfy folks, this week’s a long one and it’s still only the tip of the iceberg.
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Q: I’m looking for ideas on ways to collect feedback from Sales and CSMs re new features. Currently, my only input is a CSM sync meeting as Slack deletes messages. Does anyone have any other ideas?
A: There are various different approaches you could use and each will largely depend on the type of output or feedback you’re after. For sales, you could do a post-training/post-demo survey using something as simple as Google forms. This can be a really easy way to collect different types of data when things are top of mind.
If the feedback’s more functionality-oriented, providing your sales and CSM teams with access to a roadmap tool (like UserVoice) can help in the long-term as it gives them something to show prospects.
Finally, if it’s for something lightweight, using a Slack survey integration like Polly can quickly summarise the insights you need.
Another option could be feedback boards and apps like Feature Upvote. This’ll allow all relevant teams to add ideas to a board where other people can then support those ideas, as well as allow you to categorise the feedback (e.g. "under consideration", "in progress", etc).
Q: Does anyone use tracking software to measure sales collateral performance? If so, which would you recommend?
A: These were the go-tos given in Slack:
Q: We’re in the final stages of selecting a sales enablement platform and have narrowed it down to Seismic and Highspot, with Showpad likely in third. Does anyone have any feedback or preferences on either platform?
A: Here are a few reviews from fellow PMAers:
“We use Seismic today, but like any tool, it's not useful if you just dump stuff in there and expect sales reps to find it. I think tagging your assets is extremely important as the search within Seismic relies heavily on the tags. As long as you can manage what goes into the platform, expire it as it becomes outdated, and have sales buy-in from the start, you should be okay.”
- Parag Pathak, Product Marketing Team Lead at IBM
“We just rolled out HighSpot and it's been really well received by the sales folks.”
- Lindsay Marsh, Senior Product Marketing Manager at BeyondTrust
“We use Highspot at Upwork. Adoption was slow the first four months but after our latest QBR it was voted one of the best sales tools next to Gong.io (which is high praise).”
- Kyle Beeco, Director of Product Marketing at Upwork
Q: I'm looking for best practices and more efficient workflows to easily funnel and/or represent customer feedback/requests to product teams to get new features or workflows in roadmaps. I'd love to hear you do it!
A: Here are a few ideas other product marketers are currently employing…
1. Put biweekly calls in the calendar. This often works better than simply stuffing feedback into something like Jira because it allows for two-way communication and joint decisions.
2. Get your whole customer-facing org to use a standardised product feedback form for feedback and requests. Then, feed all those forms into a central repository where anyone can search for and access them.
3. Easier said than done, we know, but make sure product marketing’s represented in planning meetings so you can ensure the voice of the customer’s a focal point throughout. Another idea for these meetings is to make them thematic rather than feature-focused.
Q: Our team is looking at doing internal surveys with our salespeople to better understand the parts of our platform that they need more marketing support with. For those of you that have done internal surveys like this, what kind of things should we keep in mind? Did you ask specific questions about each part of your company's software, or did you keep it more open-ended?
A: First things first, make sure you’ve got a hypothesis you can use the questions to test specifically. Without this, you run the risk of receiving lots of responses that are essentially pretty unhelpful.
We’ll pass over to Fiona Finn, Senior PMM at Clio, to answer the rest:
1. Be really clear with your intentions and the value for the team in taking time out of selling to take part in the survey i.e. sell it to them - have a spiff or chance to win some gift cards if you're not getting traction.
2. Keep it as short as possible.
3. Engage with Sales Leadership to rally their teams around engagement and outcomes too. I often gamify it with sales leaders and challenge them against each other - they're competitive, so if you tell an AE manager he has engagement of 5% and the SDR manager has engagement of 50%, that can do surprising things.
4. Timely delivery is important too - if you work on a monthly sales cadence don't expect any responses at month-end, the second week in when the focus is back is perfect.
5. If you can, use a tool like Google forms to capture emails so you can follow up with people for interviews or additional context.
6. Share your findings and woo them for participating. They'll be more likely to engage in an ask again!
Q: Would love to get a bit of perspective around survey tools. Right now I’m evaluating SurveyMonkey and Typeform, does anyone have any strong preferences to one or the other (or use another tool they LOVE)?
A: Overall, Typeform got the majority of votes here. In terms of other tools, SurveyGizmo and Formstack came well-rated by a couple of PMMs.
Q: For those of you with a dedicated content marketing department in the organization, how have you aligned product marketing to their output and ideation? Was alignment difficult to achieve? What were some of the tactics or PMM deliverables that were most impactful? Simply speaking, how did you get buy-in to encourage content to see the value in leveraging Product Marketing as a resource and not an obstacle? And lastly, were there any product-specific content resources that have worked best for your companies, specifically focused at the top and bottom of the funnel?
A: Great question and lots of answers came in for this one.
“What has worked for us is using a 'hub and spoke' model of creating content. We are in a very techie field - conversational AI platform for customer service. Product marketing writes the 'hub' aka knowledge briefs about various topics. Content marketing takes those and creates the spokes - multiple content assets in a different format - eBooks, videos, blogs, infographics etc.
“Product marketing also owns most of the whitepapers, but we write the outline and the dense technical parts and then hand it over to content to complete them and add bookends.
“Another thing that has worked for us is looking at the content needs across the sales cycle. Early stages (awareness, education) is content marketing and late-stage content (evaluation, justification, onboarding) is product marketing.”
- Priyanka Tiwari, Director of Product and Content Marketing at Interactions.com
“Our content marketing team got very SEO (search volume) focused and started to drift a bit from the product, so, I met with them and talked about a better approach and now we meet with them monthly and each PMM gives them a rundown of what topics, themes, and products to expect.
“Now they build that into their content plan along with search keyword posts so that it's a happy combination. They add SEO value to our topics and we make the blogs more product-driven. This has worked well. We're measuring the traffic to product pages and it's very positive.”
- Marcus Andrews, Principal Product Marketing Manager at HubSpot
“In the past, I’ve experienced content marketing split off from PMM as a pure marketing function, so my team wrote the briefs and provided direction and topics. We took a content-as-product product management approach to what to produce and where to focus. I think it’s really important to have a strategy and focus the team efforts.
“We started with messaging so that we were aligned and could scale what content prospects and customers cared about and then we ran brainstorming/gamestorming sessions to collect topics and then scored them with a strategic cost/benefit template. This makes sure that if you’re focused on expansion, for example, you’re not just producing all top of funnel content.”
- Dave Shanley, Founder of Content Camel
Q: Does anyone have management of a customer advisory board as part of their remit as PMM? Or where does that responsibility fall in your organization?
A: There were a few different responses for this one. Some PMMs owned their customer advisory board themselves, others owned it alongside Marketing Ops, and others again with Product Management.
Q: What are your best practices for customer interviews for research purposes?
Here are a couple of good’uns put forward by PMMs in the community:
#1 - Don't write down what the customer is saying. Instead, record the session on your phone and then transcribe it later, that way, you won’t miss a single word.
By doing this you can spend the time making notes of what you're thinking during the interview, write how the customer reacts (body language) when you ask certain questions (what makes them happy, angry, sad) and write down other things that stand out during the interview - information that's harder to recall later.
#2 - Do the interviews in pairs. One assists, writes something down and if he/she sees something's missing, they ask it. It seems like twice as much work but you do the same transcribing, but have no chance to ask the question again.
Q: Can anybody point me to good product naming frameworks that you've used in the past or any good resources on the topic?
A: Here’s a good resource from Price Intelligently on whether the name of your freemium offer could be losing you revenue. Other than that, the general consensus is "It's best to call it what it is".