Speaker: Tim Clarke, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Sprout Social
With so many opinions in organizations, what is a best practice to get alignment on positioning with key stakeholders?
Tim Clarke: it's important to remember that positioning and messaging are two separate things, positioning is essentially the foundation of building the messaging house. It feeds into it and it's for internal use to ensure that everyone is on the same page. You can't write your messaging until you know who you're trying to create it for Now. First of all I'd highly recommend this book and encouraging you to look at April Dunford 10 step method to overhaul your positioning. Now, when we look at the alignment, I highly recommend that you form a positioning team, sales, marketing, product, customer success, they all feed into this and let go of any positioning baggage that you have to be open minded and ready to challenge any previous assumptions, Make sure you align on your vocabulary and then document everything in one key template, ideally if possible, bring in an external facilitator to try and have a high level of discipline and objectivity. Get all your key stakeholders together to review and build consensus. This Exum's existing trust and good relationships, so ensure that they understand the value of this work and what the outputs will be through messaging and through assets and make sure that all voices are heard. Listen with empathy and come back to the facts. Once you've got draft one circulate and allow the team time to digest, you could work a synchronously to receive feedback, then have another meeting. Once feedback has been incorporated to review and improve positioning, ultimately informs product decisions what to build what not to build content, marketing, what topics to write about and sales, how to pitch the product and the value it provides to make sure this evolves your timestamp and, most importantly, continue to review it as your market product and buyer changes.
What is the single most important element of a successful product launch?
Tim Clarke: this is such a hard question to answer because there are so many elements that go into making a successful launch. Trying to pick one super tough. I would really recommend that you have a tearing strategy in place. So depending on whether it's a small release, a major release that you know, what are the go to market strategies that are going to be associated with that launch? And my biggest tip is that you ensure you have a plan for everyone involved. A lot of the times we focus just externally on prospects, maybe customers and sometimes we focus just internally on the different teams such as product sales, customer success, marketing, engineering support. And so really making sure that when you build this plan that you have it for everyone for both external and internal for everyone that's impacted by this launch. Now when we look at external rather times we think of new logos or prospects but recognizing again, depending on the type of company and the type of launch that this could also and most likely will impact existing customers internally kind of tied back with the positioning and messaging. Make sure you explain why this launch is essential. Sometimes it could be tied in with revenue generating activities. It could be tied in with adoption but a lot of the times it's also looking at what's the true value value is really something I always come back to the positioning and messaging. What's the value? Both for externally and internally make sure you have a solid sales enablement and launch covering everything internally from market to features to pricing and make these people part of the launch Externally. There's so many great companies that not only launch via social media and email and some of the other tactics but they get their employees to speak to those prospects to speak to their customers and to get them to share it on social. And speaking of these acquisition channels, make sure you're using all of them that are available to you. So it doesn't have to just be some of the traditional ones such as email and social. It could be also looking at some in app messaging, some push notifications. How are you leveraging influences that work with your brand different communities that are out there. Win this world of dark social and dark funnel. Uh, and then most importantly your partners as well. Finally, as a bonus tip, I would always center around a customer and a use case. It seems obvious but you can see some of the great work as an example that salesforce where everything is focused on trailblazers and customers and really emphasizing the value that the product is bringing to those customers
How do you see the role of influencers and communities for aiding in go-to-market strategy and execution?
Tim Clarke: this is an area I feel so passionate about and I spent the last few years working on at Salesforce now we've seen the rise of these terms dark social dark funnel. Ultimately the bio journeys have changed. People aren't necessarily always going to your website or to your brand's social channels to learn about your product, that's certainly part of the journey. But now what we're seeing is that there's so much conversation that's going on, that's hard to measure. And these are going on about your product, about your solution, about your offering in so many great communities that are out there, such as this One pavilion rev genius thursday night sales. There are so many communities that have really risen over the last few years and tied back with the prior question around launches. It's so important that you don't underestimate the importance of your customers, your advocates and influencers going into these communities and platforms like linkedin to speak about your product, make sure you are listening. No one great example from an employee advocacy point of view is gone. Every time they have a product announcement or a new launch, they ask their employees to share on social about this and they get such great organic reach and such a great organic traffic because people follow people and they trust these people and we see this with influences as well. And I was lucky enough to work with many of the great sales influences whilst at Salesforce and one of the keys to success there was really getting to know them to building relationships with them over time, you can't just go to someone say, hey, will you share this on linkedin because it's not authentic. And so it's really important that you include them as part of your launch, and then helped to nurture that relationship over time, just as they nurture their relationships with their audiences over time, Make sure you have an active presence in these different communities, monitor some of these conversations. Another great one to definitely keep an eye on his G2 crowd and make sure you use this as an opportunity for feedback, which is a full loop back to your positioning and your messaging.