There’s been loads going on this last week. A couple of issues that cropped up over and over were how to recruit beta customers, and (our old favorite) what the exact job description of a product marketer is. We’ve also had chats on scaling your PMM team and what the best three words are to describe the role of the PMM. What’s your three?
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Q. Does anyone have any recommendations for resources on scaling your PMM team? We’re rapidly growing in both the number of products we sell and the number of employees, and our PMMs feel like they’re being stretched thin (jack of all trades, master of none)!
A. Jonathan Hinz, Senior Director of Product Marketing suggests segmenting the team:
“The core PMM owns value, customer intelligence (CI), messaging/narrative, and go-to-market (GTM) readiness. This puts a ton of value into pre-market delivery. The other half of the team is segment/industry-specific marketing. Then the other slice is customer marketing (customer comms, advocacy, services).
“We currently have two major products and a handful of stock keeping units (SKUs), but in cases where more products are involved, it may make sense to group inbound (aka technical) PMMs and then align them to the products. Outbound can manage sales, build vertical/industry content, and drive marketing efforts specific to their segment/vertical/industry.”
Q. How do you recruit beta customers? We are currently doing it through sales reps and it's not working (no surprise). Also curious if anyone has advice on how to reach a potential target audience for the same purpose.
A. This seems to be a hot topic in the PMM world, as we’ve had a couple of separate Slack threads about it in the last week. Kranthi, Founder of ThoughtFlow.io, gave this advice:
“A year back, I built an interface to extend Mindmaps, and posted about it on LinkedIn. Here are a few tips:
- Start with "who would want something like this", and craft a before/after statement for them,
- Leverage hashtags on LinkedIn to reach beyond your first degree network,
- Identify other Slack communities where potential users hangout and learn from their conversations,
- Post it on your status (I didn’t have much success on groups). It helps to have a close network of followers who like, comment and engage as soon as you post,
- Listen way more than you explain.”
And here’s a round-up of the rest of the suggestions that came in:
- Set up a Google Form or Sheet and share it with sales and customer service with your ideal beta candidates, and have them suggest accounts that fit those personas. From there, you can create a shortlist and confirm the participants, then either the product manager or PMM owns messaging to the customers.
- Use your website to recruit beta candidates - create a form and ask users to submit their information if they want to know when a beta becomes available.
- Use lots of email lists of both customers and leads, garner significant website traffic and source suitable social media profiles. Just remember, though, that a new product may have a new audience, which you can't always reach through these methods.
- Write a simple offer and post it to your channels. The basic outline should be ‘We're looking for BETA testers to try out early features of [product]'. Then be very, very specific about what you're looking for as far as feedback and timeframe. In return, offer them free access/updates/use of the product. Or, if the product is a little more mature, you can offer a discount for trying out new features. The FREE thing works best and you can expect 20% to 40% of the users to actually give you feedback, so take that into account.
Q. I’m relatively new to product marketing and in the midst of shaping my job scope. I was wondering what exactly the role of a PMM is? And how does that differ from digital/content marketing for a product.
A. For a great place to start when figuring out exactly what a PMM does, check out our article on it here.
But we also had some more great advice for this question. Start by having a look at product marketing job specs for junior-level roles. Then, start to think about what tasks you've seen that you would enjoy the most and that would be relevant to the role at your company. You can do the same for metrics and focus - whether it’s revenue or retention, etc. Next, meet with product experts in your current organization; they will give you insight into what they need the most, their upcoming product releases, roadmap and what targets you can help them hit. Once the role is signed off, it’s best to let the rest of the company know (through a presentation or just in a group chat) about the importance of the role and how you’ll approach it.
In a separate thread, Anand Vatsya was also asking for the precise job responsibilities of a product marketer. Here’s this list he came up with:
- Audience/market research
- Competitor analysis
- Product positioning and communications
- GTM strategy and conducting successful product launches
- Sales enablement
- Content creation
- Consumer behaviour, feedback and experience (before and after the product launch)
- Driving product demand and adoption.
Q. Our sales presentation decks are in need of a makeover and I was wondering if anyone had used or seen any examples of sales presentations for complex B2B software/hardware products that were impactful? Our current decks are so technical and verbose - they really embody the whole ‘death by powerpoint’ thing.
A. The general consensus here is that Andy Raskin has some articles that are definitely awesome -
This presentation by Nils Davis, which is a mini-training deck on how to make your presentation better without any design skills, was also recommended because the ideas in it provide useful guidelines. Nils says that it’s a lot less about the template than the story being told during the course of the presentation - it needs to be focused on the prospect’s needs, rather than your needs. A good tip is to start saying “you” and “your problem” a lot more in presentations than “we” and “us” or “our.”
Q. I work at a B2B tech company. I started in customer care and now I’m the first product marketer we’ve ever had. I’m excited about the opportunity but miss the customer interaction. I’m looking to think outside the box and find ways I can engage with customers within my new role and benefit the company. Does anyone have any advice?
A. There were a couple of good methods recommended on the channel for this question:
- Speak to sales and ask if you can join sales calls. No one is going to invite you to customer meetings, events, etc. You’ll need to make the case by proving your worth via messaging, adding value to meetings, etc. Start by attending customer calls (via sales) and provide feedback to sellers on how they can improve. If your company does user groups, go to those and network with customers.
- Go to events to pitch.
- You can also work with support to improve net promoter score (NPS), understand win/loss analysis to gauge what your customers like or dislike, etc.
- Customer panels are an amazing opportunity to understand gaps in the products.
- What about supporting an ambassador/influencer program?
Q. What are three words that describe the role of the product marketer?
This simple question generated a great chat last week, and it started at a recent PMA event and spilled over onto our Slack Channel. The VP of Strategy at PROS says “We shape how people perceive and understand the world around them. So ‘changing the world’ is what we do. That’s why it’s the best job!”
‘Define the narrative’ was another interesting one, because “product marketing sets the tone, and tells the stories the world needs to hear.” We also had ‘keep it simple’ and ‘customer empathy plan’.
Individual words mentioned include challenging, diverse, collaborative, rewarding, humbling, exciting, cross-functional, strategic, unique, invigorating, frustrating, ideating, executing, transcending, connecting and finally ‘keep it coming’!
Let us know what your three words are in the comments below!