Jason Oakley Productive PMM

June 09, 2023

Video Transcript

Speaker: Jason Oakley, Productive PMM

Please introduce yourself.

Jason Oakley: Hi, my name is Jason. I've been a product marketer for most of my career. I've built product marketing teams at three different tax companies. And, uh, and now I run a business called Productive PM M where I build tools for product marketers and coach product marketers who are doing the same thing those that are building, um, and founding the product marketing team at their companies.

How do I get sales buy-in on new messaging?

Jason Oakley: So how do you get sales, buy in on new messaging or really anything for that matter? It could be a new launch that you're working on. It could be a new piece of content you've created. How do you get their buy in? How do you get them to adopt it? I think the mistake that a lot of pro product marketers make is you go into your bubble or you go into your corner and you work on messaging in a silo. And so it might be based off what you think is the best source of information for that. It might be based off customer conversations. It might be based off market research. But if you don't involve sales in the process, they really have no buy in a lot of times they don't even know what's coming. They don't think anything is broken or needs to change, then you show up with this new messaging. They need to start using alternatively if you involve them in the process and it doesn't have to be the whole sales team. It could be a couple of key reps that have a lot of influence. It could be with sales leadership. Someone who won is gonna help you create better messaging. They're on sales calls every day, they're talking to actual buyers, they're winning and losing deals. So they're gonna help you create better messaging. They'll also help you test it a lot of times before you roll something out. If you're working with a rep, they might take a slide into a sales call. They might use a piece of messaging in an email and let you know how it goes and give you that real immediate feedback. Then when you're ready to roll it out, you actually have at least a person or a couple of people who are bought into it. They're gonna be ones that are excited about it. They're gonna tell other reps about it. They're gonna give examples of how they use it and how it worked. And so the likelihood of reps adopting it and being excited about it is gonna be that much more and you'll have that much more success with getting buy in when you involve sales in the process.

What strategies can I employ to better manage sales requests?

Jason Oakley: Sales requests. So as a product marketer, it's it, it can feel overwhelming. It's getting hammered with requests from sales and they can feel ad hoc like they're coming out of nowhere and they're all very random. It can also feel like they're last minute. People expect you to kind of be able to turn something around for them on the at the drop of a hat when obviously they have a lot more on your plate. So luckily, these are problems that you can solve with just a little bit of process and a system for how you manage requests, provide a bit more visibility around what you're working on and get help from sales on prioritizing your work or or that particular type of work. So a simple system for how you manage requests or gather requests instead of just asking, you know, people hammering you on slack with requests for a one pager or a slide or messaging. Just having a simple form could be a Google form, could be attached to a Google spreadsheet. It could be um a type form and you attach that to a notion database, whatever you do, you want a way that you can collect ideas from sales. It's not, you know, it's not just requests you have to deliver on. You're not a service center, you don't just have tickets you need to deliver on, but you're gathering ideas, think of it as a way to feature requests, whatever you wanna, you know, um compare it to, but it's a way for you to collect those ideas from sales and you can ask a couple of things in there like what they're, what priority they think it is, why they think it's a priority. Even ask them to describe what an outcome or the, the I call it paint done might look like it's not to say that's what you're gonna deliver. But again, you're just getting more context and understanding from them without having to have a conversation on Slack, you can then have that flow into again, a spreadsheet, a database and notion somewhere where you can have it all. You don't have to worry about leaving what you're doing to go jot that down somewhere. But then you have your call it a request dashboard where you can go in and then prioritize those. And so this is where it becomes important to have a touch point with sales leadership typically, um whether it's team leads or the director of sales, whatever, where on a monthly basis you can sit down and say what are the biggest priorities. It could be things that have been requested multiple times it could be something that sales leadership is saying this is a really weak area in sales right now. We need that type of tool to help us. This is where you can prioritize it. So your team knows, OK, these are the 2 to 3 things we really need to make sure we get done. Then by the other thing I suggest you do is whatever you're using, whether it's a spreadsheet, if it's a page and notion, you can make that stuff available to the sales team so that they have visibility into what your priorities are. That way. If someone's like, where is my thing that I requested a couple or a week ago, you could say, hey, it's here on this list, but I have these other things that we got to deliver on first and that's based on priorities um that we've, you know, got from discussing it with the sales team. So you have a way that you can provide visibility and a lot of times when people understand that they're not going to worry or wonder what's product marketing up to, why aren't they, you know, delivering this thing? What, what are the, what are, what do they do at all sort of thing? Um All that said, you know, put a cavity on that as a product marketer, you want to drive revenue, you want to build bridges between marketing and sales. And so there are gonna be those cases, edge cases where a deal, a rep is working on really important deal and to close that deal, they need your help. And so it's just to say that in those cases, you know, you can, um you can impact revenue, you can build a good relationship with sales by, you know, jumping on some of those even though they might seem last minute. But in general, if you have a system, if you have a process for how to manage requests, how to provide visibility, how to prior prioritize that work. Um You're just gonna have a build a better relationship with the sales team and just not feel like you're overwhelmed by all of these random requests and, and with that system in place, you're just gonna find that reps don't just overwhelming you with random ad hoc requests. They're gonna go through the system that you define and you lay out. So, uh that's my advice there on, on how to manage uh sales requests.

What steps can I take to establish a solid partnership with the sales team?

Jason Oakley: What can you do to build a solid relationship with the sales team? I think first is to think of it less as a team, it can get pretty um intimidating to think that you have to influence or build a relationship with the sales team. Because, um, you know, I think a lot of times people that might be a daunting task for someone, especially if you're new to product marketing or, or, or someone who's the first product marketing, product marketer in a company and breaking into that sales team can sometimes be overwhelming, a little bit intimidating. The best way to think of it is you're trying to influence or build relationships with individual sales people. Uh So you try to figure out who are some of those key relationships you need to build, you could build it with maybe it's some of the more tenured, um you know, high performing reps, the people who have a lot of influence, the ones who are um often sharing advice or, or have a voice in sales meetings, people who can be in your corner when you're trying to roll something out can be in your corner and help you, whether it's refining messaging or, or building out collateral and then can help you drive adoption to that across the sales team because they have that influence. It's a lot easier to build relationships with individual people. And over time, you know, you'll turn around one day and you'll see that you've actually built a strong relationship with sales, uh, because you focus on the individual relationships, um, not trying to, uh, you know, have a good relationship because you just feel like sales should work closely with product marketing. At the end of the day, you're working with people. I also think that as product marketers, sometimes we can have our backups backs up a bit and know that we wanna have, we don't want to just respond um by default to ad hoc requests and, and, you know, we put systems in place and I definitely think we should so, uh that you can have a system for managing requests and providing visibility and prioritizing work and you just won't get anything done if you're just responding to every ad hoc sales request. But there is a knack for, for being able to identify moments where you can have impact on and a really important deal or you can do a really big favor for a sales rep that's not gonna take you forever to do, but it's something where you can help them. And those are moments when you can build a better relationship with sales you can also influence revenue, which is going to also, you know, just help your credibility and show your value as a product marketer. And I just think over time you, as you start to get involved in things like deal support, you start to gain credibility by being able to reference deals you've worked on and, and real situations where messaging worked or didn't work with a particular buyer or, or person you didn't sell to. Um And I think it's those moments where as a, as a product marketer, you build, build credibility where sales teams want to work with you because they know you have the experience and they know that you can actually help them. And I think that those are some of the ways, you know, in order to build a good relationship with sales, you need to be credible with them, you need to be at the same level with them and it's, it takes time to do, but I think you do it with one rep at a time, one deal at a time. Um And, and you will find over time that, that credibility and that relationship builds. So that's my advice.

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