As the community continues to swell it’s becoming near impossible to touch the tip of the iceberg with these round-ups, but here are some of the highlights from the last week in Slack.

For complete access to questions like this and more, here’s where you need to be.

Q: We’ve experienced a surge of inbound leads but are having a hard time actually turning these into meetings, despite the fact that the individual filled out a form to request a demo. We’re working to update our process, which I think was the reason for this low conversion. What are your favorite ways to reduce friction in the meeting schedule process? What pieces of tech do you use?

A: Some great answers came in for this one:

“How many inbound leads do you have? I recently built a process where I estimated -  and then tested and verified - that a single SDR should be able to make several attempts to contact nearly every free trial/inbound lead - in this case ~300 a month, ~12-13 / business day x 5 touches/attempts across call, voicemail, email and LinkedIn. If connection was made, the SDR was armed with a discovery questionnaire/worksheet and could qualify the lead into one of three categories.
“I’m not sure you can solve with tech alone, but if you want to remove friction from the scheduling process the go-to tools are Calendly and Acuity Scheduling. Or if you want to go the automated/bot route, Drift, Hubspot, and Chili Piper.”

- Lin Shearer, Founder and Principal Consultant at Spark Consulting

“On our marketing team, inbound requests are received through Marketo to our demand-gen marketer, who then forwards the requests to a member of our outbound prospecting team depending on the territory in which the request was received.
“We use an email integration app called Groove that provides templates that our outbound team pop into a quick email once they get the request. As Groove is integrated with our sales team's Google calendars, our outbound team includes a scheduling embed link in their follow-up email so that the prospect can directly schedule the meeting.
“After the meeting is on the calendar, our team has a standard discovery form that we ask prospects to fill out, with varying degrees of engagement. But I would say any calendar integration that allows someone to directly book time would be helpful.”

- Ben McNelly, Marketing Manager at Ellevation Education

“This is a perfect case for Chilli Piper, Hubspot, or Drift. All of these tools can schedule meetings with the sales team's calendar if integrated with your existing form/lead submission process. Calendly can do this too, but it's not specifically designed for this purpose compared to the others.”

- Saad Asad, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Utmost


Q: How do you distribute competitive intelligence to sales teams? Battlecards? Something else? How do you make sure they can see it?

A: The consensus here was battlecards paired with regular lunch sessions to dive deeper into a competitor or product line and share changes and updates on a more granular level - after all, there’s only so much detail you can fit into a battlecard. This’ll provide your reps with more talking points during sales conversations, and also give them an outlet to ask questions and share frontline feedback.

In terms of making sure they actually see and use it, go in hard with how it benefits them. If they understand value, they’ll soon see adopting these kinds of assets is a no-brainer but it’s on you to communicate that value with benefits and use cases.


Q: How do you organize content libraries for sales teams? Any tools that can show usage stats?

A: These were the go-tos put forward in Slack:

  • Highspot
  • Guru
  • Hubspot
  • Seismic.

Q: What’re some of the “hard skills” that I should start learning to become a product marketer?

A: Here’s what App Annie’s Senior Director of Product Marketing, Steven Rahman, had to say:

“If you want to be a product marketer, and there was one hard skill, the hard skill that I always work on, and look for, is the ability to write well. The ability to persuade through the written word. The ability to communicate effortlessly.
“To develop that skill, read lots of novels. Read great writers. Listen to moving speeches. Tell a story to someone you just met...and keep telling that story to strangers until you get it right.”

Q: Who knows a B2B tech company that could be seen as a best practices example for messaging and content? Any suggestions on who’s doing it really well?

A: These names were put forward by the community:

  • Hubspot
  • Drift
  • Intercom
  • Hotjar
  • Zendesk
  • Privy
  • Brainshark
  • Influitive
  • Cvent
  • Zuora
  • Gong.

Hope that helps!


Q: Does anyone have a good guide or resource for creating PMMs? Like if someone new joins your team (without PMM experience) what skills do they need to acquire to become a great product marketer and how do you help them build that muscle?

A: Here are some pointers from Pluralsight’s Product Marketing Manager, Sapphire Reels:

“One of the activities we make new PMMs do is a monthly competitive update that we deliver to the business. It's a great way to get them researching and understanding the competitive landscape. That update also includes how we can position better and implications for our strategy.

“Product marketing is also responsible for listening to customer calls every quarter. Each PMM summarizes their notes and then we ask new PMMs to synthesize those notes into a quarterly insight. This helps new PMMs learn how our customers are experiencing our sales process and product.

“In the vein of building relationships, we make a list of key stakeholders that they should meet within the first month, too. Additionally, we have a ‘What is product marketing deck’ that we ask all new team members to take new cross-functional partners through. We also send them through our sales onboarding.”

Spoiler: we’ve got an uber in-depth new starter onboarding checklist in our membership plan. ?


Q: For anyone that has gone through the motion of moving customers off of legacy products or technologies, what tactics have you used to encourage transition?

A:

Tip #1: communicate often and early - transparency and openness helps.

Tip #2: give your customers the tools and time needed to understand what they need to do, what will change, and how they can seamlessly adjust.

Tip #3: lead with the benefits of the move so they see it’s an upgrade and a way of getting more value from you. A comparison chart of your existing platform versus the new platform could be a nice way of doing this.

Tip #4: don’t keep important details to yourself. If they’re going to lose some functionalities, for example, it’s best they know about it early rather than it being sprung on them and throwing a spanner in the works. For the least friction, you should provide solutions in this kind of scenario - i.e. you won’t have feature X, however, you can still complete Y by doing [insert workaround].

Tip #5: move a subset of your customers over early and get their feedback. This way, you can iron out any kinks before you move the masses.

Here are a final few words of advice from Xero’s Senior Product Marketing Manager, Chris Sumida:

“A thorough comms program is key (with full legal sign-off, especially with tricky messaging on a sunset). We found live webinars with our product managers demoing migration options extremely valuable. Tons of questions were generated (and unique use-cases uncovered) that we flipped into downloadable migration guides for more self-guidance than relying on our CX teams.”

Q: How does your company define ‘enterprise’ customers?

A: Most people defined enterprise as 1,000+ employees in-line with Forrester and Gartner’s definitions.

“If you're just looking for a basic percentage, I'd say go with the analyst's standard of 1000+ employees. Internally at my company, we use $1B in revenue as we sometimes come across companies with 5,000 employees, but only $500m in revenue - which is too small for us to chase, or 200 employees but $2b in revenue, which is fair game.”

- Nicola Kinsella, Director of Product Marketing at Fluent Commerce


Q: Who are your favorite, trusted, tried-and-true full-service B2B market research firms?

A: Cascade, MMR Research Associates, Illuminas and Reframe Strategies came in on Slack.


Q: Has anyone here done guerilla marketing at massive tradeshows in lieu of buying a booth space?

A:

“We sent two salespeople to Miami to just hang out in the hotel bar where the show was. It was a brand-specific event (so not a massive trade show) and it's really helped us get more customers in that brand.”

- Carly Chalmers, Marketing Manager at HigherMe

“At our last big show, we set up meetings with partners ahead of time and got partners to schedule meetings with prospects for us. For the meetings, as it was a big show, we made sure someone got there early and claimed the same table near the Starbucks at the convention center so we were easy to find each day, and rotated people at the table so we didn't lose it. The people in the Starbucks line also got to see the company stickers on our laptops for extended periods of time - in retrospect, we should have worn branded shirts as well.”

- Nicola Kinsella, Director of Product Marketing at Fluent Commerce

“This was our recipe for success back in my marketing manager days. For conferences we didn't want to blow our budget on, we’d grab the lowest possible sponsorship so you get the attendee contact list and have access to walk around the conference with your branding.
“A few weeks prior to the conference, we’d have the SDRs hit the phones to book meetings (even with non-decision makers!) then rent out a meeting room (or two) at the conference center or a hotel across the street so your sales team can cycle in and out of it throughout the conference weekend for their in-persons/demos. Boom, you just saved your company $50k-100K.”

- Chris Sumida, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Xero