The success of any company depends on its ability to consistently deliver commercially successful products to the market. Product marketing can be difficult, and managing product launches and rollouts can be complex. Hiring a product marketing manager (PMM), however, can help tackle the challenges of product marketing, ranging from further improving the product-market fit to analyzing the competitive landscape to understand how the product compares to competitors.
Imagine the increased success your product development team could achieve with a thorough understanding of the ideal target audience, including the specific product aspects they value and are willing to pay more for and why customers choose your product over others. Emi Hofmeister, VP of Product Marketing at Brex, discusses five signs that indicate it’s time to add a PMM to your team.
1. You have a good product, but adoption is slower than you expected
You launch a product, everything is going as expected initially, and you’re gaining traction. But, after a couple of months, you realize that closing deals feel more complicated than before. Is it that you don’t have as good of a product as you thought? Do some features need to be added? Do you need to target the right buyer?
The PMM’s job is to look across potential problems and complications and identify the right solutions for them so you can move forward and re-accelerate your business. Taking this proactive approach, a PMM can ensure that the company is well-positioned to continue growing and achieving success.
2. You found product-market fit
You’ve found product-market fit, and you’re scaling. In this stage, you might be wondering if you need to bring in another salesperson, an SDR, or a product marketer.
You need to pay attention to two considerations. The first is quality over quantity. Do you want ten good salespeople or ten great salespeople? The other consideration relates to protecting your future. You need a person focused on building and defining your competitive mode and promoting that to your customers, securing the company’s competitive differentiation.
“Being the first to market or the fastest to grow in the market doesn’t guarantee that you’ll win the market.”
3. Your sales rise to a very high level
You may realize that your sales are reaching high levels, but at the same time, you may encounter a situation where there needs to be more structure or control in your sales process. For example, salespeople may make promises to customers that the company may not fulfill, leading to customer disappointment.
By having a PMM on the team, you have someone who can help ensure that the sales process is well-organized and aligned with the company’s overall goals. This strategic perspective provides that the company can sustain its high sales levels over the long term.
4. Your CEO is slammed
As a company scales, the demands on the CEO’s time and energy often increase significantly, so the CEO needs to divert their attention elsewhere.
Understanding the customer is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the company can sustain success. As a CEO, you need somebody on your team who has time to focus on that while helping the company to better understand and serve its target market.
5. You’re expanding
Before you enter a new market, target a new persona, or launch a new product, get the PMM in the game early to help find out how to reposition the product you have today.
Having a PMM can help to identify and assess the potential market opportunity, analyzing factors such as market size, competition, and customer needs and preferences. A PMM can also help define the new product’s positioning and value proposition.
“A PMM is essential for new product success. Their expertise in positioning and value proposition can help to achieve market differentiation.”
- Hire someone who can tell a story about the product they sell. Ask your candidate about the product they support today. How a candidate talks about a product can give you valuable insights into their understanding of the product’s value and benefits and their ability to communicate this effectively to customers. One effective way for PMMs to do this is through storytelling, which can be a powerful way to engage and persuade customers.
- Hire a data-driven decision-maker. When interviewing potential PMM candidates, ask them about a specific instance where they used data to inform a decision within their organization. It can be qualitative insights from the customer or quantitative metrics they’re pulling from the product. By understanding how a candidate has used data to make decisions in the past, you can understand their ability to use data to drive results.
- Hire a curious, first-principles thinker. Tell the candidate that you’ll launch a product in three months, and ask them how they would do it. A successful candidate shouldn’t only outline the practical steps involved in handling the launch but should also give insights into what a great product launch would look like and how it can be achieved.