Product marketing is hard work. Not only must we be an expert on our offering, but we also have to deeply understand market dynamics and competitor moves. We must understand the past, have a pulse on the present, and breakout the crystal ball to predict the future.
Yet, the demand generation function often eclipses product marketing in terms of internal awareness and resource prioritization. How do we elevate the role of product marketing so it too can be recognized as a revenue catalyst?
Over the years I’ve found these five practices most important in meeting the revenue mission head on.
- We have to build credibility with sales. It doesn’t matter how much research we conduct, if sales doesn’t have visibility into our process, they won’t believe the results. Sit in on prospect meetings. Hang out and listen while sales teams are making phone calls. Join forecast reviews. Do whatever you can to understand what the sales team is facing, and find opportunities to show your empathy, but more critically your knowledge. Don’t just talk theory, tell stories of actual buyer discussions. It’s amazing how one anecdote will change sales action and build trust.
Tip: Once a week take a sales person to lunch. Don’t have an agenda, just talk about recent engagements with buyers that you’ve both had. Great ideas often begin on lunch napkins.
- Document & train on personas. Those organizations that embrace qualitative and quantitative persona research are more successful. Product marketers know this. Yet, time is a premium and personas get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list or are allowed to get stale. Sadly, I don’t have a time machine that can make building personas less work, but I can assure you that the effort is completely worthwhile.
Tip: Some of your greatest insights will be shadowing your buyers in their day to day environment. You’ll see first- hand how they work, and you may even uncover new opportunities to serve them.
- End the feature wars, elevate differentiation. It’s almost impossible to sell value when buyers and your team are focused on features and functions. While it is critical to understand the capabilities of competitive products, messaging must elevate the discussion to value differentiation.
Tip: When documenting your differentiation confirm that it is truly unique to you, that it is difficult to replicate and you can prove it is true, and most important, be sure it is something the buyer cares about.
- You are sick of hearing this but I’m going to say it anyway because it’s too important to gloss over. We have to map the buyer’s journey. But more than mapping it, we have to act upon the insights by building a sales enablement library that supports each stage of the process. And we have to train the sales team to understand how to use each of the tools that we develop.
Tip: Include buyers in the review cycle for major assets. It’s easy to get caught up with internal review cycles, but external feedback by the intended audience can turn a mediocre asset into a must leverage tool.
- Measure the right things. It’s easy to get lost by measuring activity, instead of impact. As product marketers we have to go beyond day to day revenue contribution, and also hold ourselves accountable to long-term strategic goals. These might include new segment penetration KPIs, market share objectives, or improvements to win rate or average deal size.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to measure things that are not fully in your control. Cross functional collaboration is the key to sustainable growth.
I hope these tips have inspired you to let your inner revenue catalyst shine!