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A strong product marketing strategy is mandatory if you strive to get your product seen by the market and your end consumers. It involves building value for your idea by positioning the product aligned to your target audience’s needs.
While product marketing might sound like a separate exercise in the collective effort of scaling your organization, it doesn’t always work independently. Driving demand for your product is the core proposition of product marketing. You can ensure a perennial pipeline of demand for your product by building alliances between the product, sales and marketing teams. That is where you can leverage the power of “smarketing.”
Smarketing is when you bring marketing-qualified leads (MQL) and sales-qualified leads (SQL) together for an integrated approach.
While sales and marketing enable many processes that help you position the product better, it is the product that sells. Sales and marketing create strategies that canvass product marketing. While your marketing teams analyze the canvas of promoting a product, they are essential to analyzing trends in the market that influence how the needs of your target audience evolve. Your sales team creates and redefines pitches to introduce your product to the target market and various stakeholders. An in-depth understanding of the market and an ever-evolving process of pitching your product should be integral to your product marketing strategies.
Related: How to Strengthen Your Company Through Sales-Marketing Alignment
How can a sales team catalyze product marketing?
The sales team is in direct contact with the target audience or the mediums through which the target audience becomes accessible. They are constantly pitching to clients and customers in various capacities. They know the user behavior better than any other team on board. What are the consumer’s pain points regarding the problems your product is trying to solve? What are their inhibitions regarding the product? What are the points of friction in this process? The sales team’s conversations with clients or end consumers can inform and strengthen your product marketing practices.
How can a marketing team catalyze product marketing?
A marketing team is closely aligned with the product team and often functions independently. It is important to integrate the two as the marketing team has its eyes on how the trends in the industry that your product occupies move and shake every minute. Your marketing team also looks closely at your competitors’ processes and progress. What are your competitors doing that you aren’t? In what ways are the problems of the user changing? What kind of an audience does the product attract, and what are their motivation levels? What metrics make them an MQL, and how are those evolving? The marketing team can help address these gaps by repositioning their messaging and building a better narrative through their strategies.
How do we know if this is working?
A study by Product Marketing Alliance states that on a scale of 1-10, product marketers believe they have an average influence level of 6.3 out of 10 on their company’s goals and strategies, while they rated their influence on the product as 5.9 out of 10 .
While smarketing is essential, you need to build certain pillars that moderate these processes. Set down metrics to measure these processes. Conversion rate, retention rates, user touchpoints required to make a sale, retargeting strategies, overarching strategic narrative, customer lifetime value, close-ratio, lead to customer rate, and the consistencies of these processes are essential metrics one needs to track to achieve cohesion .
While sales, marketing and product teams walk into rooms with individual ideologies and processes, a smarketing strategy needs to be led by one vision. This vision, in this case, has to be of the product marketing team. Data takes center stage in a smarketing practice. The sales and marketing teams should supplement these processes and help refine them with their insights to boost the product marketing practices further. This will bring cohesion in thought, approach, execution and analysis.
A product’s messaging is important to the functioning of the entire organization. A 2021 MoEngage study concludes that consumers are most frustrated with inconsistent brand messaging. The sales, marketing and product teams need to be aware of and integrated with the positioning and messaging of the product as that will go on to become a prime piece of communication. A smarketing approach will help create a messaging that considers the broad market and the personal preferences of your prospects.
This approach will help create an integrated messaging that can be consistent in all communication about the product. This will help sales, marketing and product teams and help support teams service clients consistently. The alliance of these teams is essential for this consistency.
Related: Separating Your Marketing Team From the Others Is Limiting Your Success
The founder’s role in smarketing
The founders (or a founding team) play a fundamental role in leading this alliance between the sales, marketing and product teams. The founder can help ensure that the alliance is on track with the vision and aligned with the messaging of the product. They can also help veto conversations that overlap into jargon and redundancy to streamline the practices of a smarketing team. The founder’s role here also helps ensure consistency of promises made to existing and new customers. The founder’s understanding of the brand’s promise should permeate through the practices of all the three teams and should influence all the strategies and processes. This is what makes brands stand out from a clutter of targeted communication.
It is important to ensure that the founder’s vision is also in sync with the sales, marketing and product team. It will help build a pipeline of leads that are primed and serviced well from the beginning with a team that is fully informed by both sales and marketing practices. The product marketing team can also help create a seamless servicing and feedback loop between the marketing and sales teams and their independent process, further helping the end consumer.
An alliance between sales and marketing will bring a smarketing approach to product marketing. As per a 2020 study by LinkedIn, 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth. This will help attract new customers, understand the customers better, target buyer personas, position the product better, learn about competitors’ markets and practices, enhance the product offerings and generate a better demand for the product. This, in turn, shall boost the revenue and help capture a larger market size for the product. This alliance helps keep your product relevant and in demand for longer than having teams work in silos.
Related: How to Align Product, Marketing and Sales Goals