Over the past month or so I’ve produced a lot of content around product marketing and product-led growth. I’ve covered individual topics like positioning, customer intelligence, go to market and more.
This article will look at the role of product marketing for SaaS platforms and help you formulate your customer acquisition strategy and product roadmap. Those that will benefit from reading this article are working across the SaaS organisation including:
- Marketing teams
- Sales teams
- Product development teams
- Customer success teams
All of the above are directly involved with the development and selling of your SaaS product and therefore are intrinsically tied together to deliver results and growth. The following information will help you understand how to upsell existing customers as well as develop your launch plan.
What is product marketing?
According to the Product Marketing Alliance (PMA) - Product marketing can be summed up as the driving force behind getting products to market - and keeping them there. Product marketers are the overarching voices of the customer, masterminds of messaging, enablers of sales, and accelerators of adoption. All at the same time.
However concise that is, it really doesn’t explain what it is and potentially how it differs from inbound marketing. And on that point, my explanation would be that product marketing is a specific skill set for taking SaaS products to market and inbound is a strategy for using content marketing for lead generation. In effect, inbound marketing is a smaller part of the overall marketing mix.
What are product marketing managers (PMM’s)?
Product marketers sit at the crossroads of marketing, sales, product and customer success. They are also regularly in touch with other internal departments like finance, IT, the C-Suite and engineering. By deeply understanding the needs of the customer and being able to adopt the position of the user, they use their experience to knit your organisation together for faster growth and revenue generation.
Forget traditional marketing methods, once you establish product-market fit and your marketing strategy your product marketing team will bring your product to market.
How do product marketers help?
When your PMM’s are set up for success, they help your business in a number of ways, these include but are not limited to:
- Representing the voice of the customer - before, during and after launch
- Unlocking new opportunities and teeing marketing and sales teams up for success
- Ensure what your company delivers is what your target audience actually want - and are willing to pay for
- Clearly articulating your product’s value in a way that resonates with the market
- Driving customer adoption and advocacy - and therefore the business’ bottom line
- Ensuring company-wide alignment
And whilst they help your company achieve its goals in this way, PMM’s often have a varied role and on a day to day basis you will find them performing any of the following tasks:
- Mastering product positioning & messaging
- Crafting your product’s story
- Managing product launches
- Driving alignment across the organisation
- Creating and delivering sales collateral
- Conducting customer and market research
- Analysing and optimising campaigns and products
- Reporting on product marketing metrics
- Working on the product roadmap
- Onboarding customers and ensuring they’re set up for success with your product
- Content marketing initiatives - such as blog posts, landing pages, email copy, etc.
- Managing the website
Surely you can see how valuable working with or employing a product marketing manager (PMM) is for your SaaS organisation?
The depth of the role doesn’t stop there though, and there’s a lot of work involved in successfully launching a product - and making sure it continues to be successful over time. Here’s a visual representation of the steps product marketers take when growing a product.
Product marketers in product development
When your platform is in the development stage, product marketers come into their own. Along with other internal teams, product marketers will go heavy on research in this phase taking the lead - and that includes competitor, prospect, customer and market research.
Their core focus here is speaking to the market, understanding what they want, and defining those must-have requirements. PMMs will spend a lot of time immersing themselves in the product during this phase to ensure they understand it inside and out and, as well as the Product team, are subject matter experts in it.
PMM’s help product teams deliver better products by:
- Fuelling them with real prospect and customer insights so they know what people do and don’t like, what there’s demand for, how users are using the product, and more
- Ensuring all releases are tied to organisational goals
- Fine-tuning existing products based on customer feedback to ensure ongoing usage and revenue
- Helping to build out product roadmaps and bringing fresh ideas to the table
- Ensuring other internal business areas are positioning products correctly
How PMMs enable your sales team
The role of your PMM in sales is enablement. Their job is to help your sales team close more deals by providing them with the tools they need to increase revenue. They do this by:
- Equipping reps with sales collateral (like battlecards, product sheets and sales scripts) so they’re able to deliver stronger pitches with shorter sales cycles
- Ensuring reps aren’t over or under-selling your products through standardised sales processes
- Delivering product training - including the product’s specifications, positioning, pricing, benefits, etc.
- Providing key learnings and feedback to help make all sales reps top performers
- Optimising the buying funnel and providing more, high quality leads
- Helping them personalise their pitches to various personas, segments and markets, so every sales conversation is relevant
Because they understand how to align sales and marketing it’s your PMM that should set the customer acquisition strategy and build your playbook.
PMMs in Customer Success
In our final section we look at the role of product marketing in customer success. Product marketers bring valuable insights and so help build better customer experiences. They achieve this by
- Providing in-depth data on things like a customer’s goals, pain-points, drivers, traits, and so on, so they can provide tailored conversations
- Ensuring their Customer Success colleagues are armed with everything they need to successfully handle complaints and objections
- Reducing the number of complaints received by a) ensuring sales aren’t overselling the product, and b) taking feedback on board and making changes based on customer requests/demand
- Equipping customer success with the collateral and training need to up or cross-sell products
- Providing customer-driven feedback on how their processes can be improved
By working closely with sales marketing and customer support, your PMM can deliver a great product line and a superb product marketing campaign. However, you mustn't confuse your PMM with a product manager, they are two totally separate roles. And although they often have to understand the product inside out, your product manager will be more technically aware of the platform.
So I hope you enjoyed reading this article, its been designed to help you understand not only why you need a product marketing manager, but also why their skillset is far superior than many of today's inbound marketing specialists. We don’t say that because our team are both product and inbound marketing specialists, but because we want you to make the right choices for your business.
Are you a SaaS platform in need of help with your product strategy? Then speak to the team here at Digital BIAS and take your product strategy to the next level.