Product marketing is an essential function in any company, but it plays a particularly crucial role in B2B companies that sell complex products or services. In these companies, the product marketing team is responsible for helping salespeople understand the products they are selling and the customers they are selling to.
Product marketing is a challenging role and requires a certain level of dynamicism to understand multiple job functions and make sure everything is operating cohesively. It requires a deep understanding of the product, the market, and the customers, as well as strong communication and analytical skills.
In this blog post, I'll provide you with an overview of product marketing at a sales-intensive B2B company, and share some real-world examples to help you understand the role better.
The Role of Product Marketing (and how it's different than sales enablement)
At a high level, the role of product marketing is to help salespeople sell more effectively. The line gets a little blurry between product marketing and sales enablement, so I will try to focus on the differences.
It is a product marketer's job to have a deep understanding of the product, the market, and the customers, and be able to communicate that knowledge effectively to the sales team. They also need to be able to create compelling messaging and content that will resonate with customers and help differentiate their company from competitors.
The line between product marketing and sales enablement often is murky. Sales enablement is responsible for providing the sales team with the tools, resources, and training they need to sell effectively. This includes things like sales training, sales playbooks, and sales collateral.
Ultimately, sales enablement teams also work closely with the product marketing team to ensure that the sales team has access to the most up-to-date messaging and content.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key responsibilities of a product marketer.
Understanding the Product
One of the most critical aspects of product marketing is having a deep understanding of the product or service that the company is selling. This means knowing everything from how it works to how it's made, and being able to explain it in simple terms that the sales team can understand.
For example, if you work for a company that sells a SaaS product, you need to know everything about how the product works, including its features and benefits, how it integrates with other systems, and how it compares to competitors. You also need to be able to explain all of this to the sales team in a way that's easy for them to understand and remember.
Understanding the Market
In addition to understanding the product, a product marketer also needs to have a deep understanding of the market in which the company operates. This means knowing everything from the competitive landscape to the trends and challenges that are affecting the industry.
For example, if you work for a company that sells marketing automation software, you need to know everything about the marketing technology landscape, including the different types of tools available and how they are used. You also need to be aware of the latest trends in marketing, such as account-based marketing and personalization, and how they are affecting the industry.
Understanding the Customer
Finally, a product marketer needs to have a deep understanding of the customer and their needs. This means knowing everything from the pain points that customers are experiencing to the benefits that they are looking for in a solution.
For example, if you work for a company that sells cybersecurity software, you need to know everything about the customers who are buying your product. This includes understanding their needs, such as protecting their data from cyber threats, and their pain points, such as the fear of a data breach. You also need to know how to communicate the benefits of your product to these customers, such as how it can help them avoid costly data breaches.
Now that we've looked at some of the key responsibilities of a product marketer, let's take a look at some real-world examples to help you understand the role better.
Example 1: Salesforce
Salesforce is a great example of a company that has a strong product marketing team. Their product marketing team is responsible for creating messaging and content for Salesforce's various products, including their CRM, marketing automation, and customer service solutions.
One example of Salesforce's product marketing in action is their "Customer 360" messaging. This messaging emphasizes the importance of a complete view of the customer, and how Salesforce's solutions can help companies achieve this. This messaging is reinforced across various channels, including their website, marketing materials, and events.
Another example of Salesforce's product marketing is their "Trailhead" program. Trailhead is a free online learning platform that teaches users how to use Salesforce's products. The program is marketed as a way for users to "earn badges" and advance their careers, which has helped to build a loyal community of users.
Example 2: HubSpot
Another great example of product marketing in action is HubSpot. HubSpot sells an all-in-one marketing, sales, and service platform that helps businesses grow. Their product marketing team is responsible for creating messaging and content that resonates with their target audience of marketers and business owners.
One example of HubSpot's product marketing is their "Inbound Marketing" methodology. This methodology emphasizes the importance of creating valuable content that attracts and engages potential customers. HubSpot's product marketing team has created a wealth of resources around this methodology, including blog posts, ebooks, and webinars.
Another example of HubSpot's product marketing is their "Growth Suite" solution. This solution combines their marketing, sales, and service products into one package, and is marketed as a way for businesses to grow more efficiently. HubSpot's product marketing team has created a range of content around this solution, including case studies and customer testimonials.
Tips for Getting Started in Product Marketing
If you're interested in getting started in product marketing at a sales-intensive B2B company, here are some tips to help you get started:
Learn as much as you can about the product, market, and customer. This means reading industry reports, talking to customers and salespeople, and attending industry events.
Be a strong communicator. Product marketers need to be able to explain complex concepts in simple terms that the sales team can understand.
Be creative. Product marketing requires a lot of creativity, from coming up with new messaging to creating engaging content.
Be analytical. Product marketers need to be able to measure the success of their campaigns and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Be adaptable. The market is constantly changing, and product marketers need to be able to adapt their strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
Did I miss anything? Let me know!