If you’ve been keeping up with our Positioning to W.I.N. blog series, you’ll be familiar with the W.I.N. framework I developed for product marketers.
Here’s a quick recap to get you up to speed.
To position their companies to W.I.N., product marketers need to chart the course for:
- WHO you are going to win with and who you are going to win against
- IMPACT you provide through the value you offer
- NARRATIVE you need to craft internally and externally to convey your value
We’ve heard from marketing executives at Salesforce, Marketo, Enverus & Tealium, and product marketing leaders at 6sense, Gong & Highspot. Now, Aussie software giant Atlassian (the company behind breakthrough project management tools Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, and Trello) weighs in.
In the latest episode of the Marchitect, my guest co-host, Jake Brereton, Co-Founder & COO at LaunchNotes, and I heard from Sean Regan, Global Head of Product Marketing at Atlassian. Sean walked us through how Atlassian’s crew of 80+ product marketers is positioning to W.I.N. $5B in annual revenue. He also shared his pearls of wisdom for building, managing and measuring a product marketing team’s success at a product-led growth company.
Listen to the full episode here, or skim the highlights below.
Meet Tech’s Latest Unicorn Hire —The Dual-Mode Product Marketer
Some product marketers lead strong bottom-up motions. They’re quantitative, consumer-oriented and digital marketing pros.
Other product marketers lead strong top-down motions. They’re natural storytellers, sales enablement experts and love working with analysts and the press.
The product marketers who can do both? The latest unicorn hire of the SaaS talent world according to Sean.
“I think about it as a dual-mode product marketer,” says Sean. “There are bottom-up motions and there are top-down motions. Can you do both? If you can do both, you are one of the rarest, most valuable talents in the tech industry right now. Because the fastest growing companies bring a bottom-up, product-led growth model and combine it with a really effective sales motion.”
But dual-mode product marketers are hard to find. Sean tells us that after interviewing 500-600 candidates at Atlassian, he’s very rarely found someone who walks through the door that can already do both motions well. His solution? If you can’t find them, build them.
“One of the really important questions for us is ‘How do we keep that quality bar high while scaling so quickly?’” says Sean. “I think one of the biggest moves that we've made is an investment in the [product marketing] craft itself… For example, a lot of our quantitative product marketers have never done analyst relations. Great. We're gonna teach them. We'll partner with the leadership team and we'll show them how it's done.”
With a team of 80+ product marketers and growing fast, Sean sees this investment in the development of Atlassian’s product marketers as the key to success at scale.
“I think it's one of the most encouraging things when our founders, our CMO and our CRO are willing to invest in that kind of function. Because it won't pay dividends tomorrow, but it will pay massive dividends both for Atlassian and for the careers of our people."
Measuring Success in a Product-Led Growth Organization
As a product-led growth (PLG) business, Atlassian’s product marketing team looks to their north star metric of net new customer acquisition to guide and measure success.
“We can bring in a new customer number of 100,000 over 12 months”, says Sean. “That’s the magic for us. If we can continue the volume and then transition to a value-driven sale, I think we have the potential to become a top-five global software company.”
So, how does Sean lead his product marketing team to meet their net new customer goal? Key checkpoints along the customer journey. Starting with organic entrance numbers and SERP results. Then, once a customer is activated, looking at their activation indicators and sharing key findings back with the product team.
“‘How are we tracking in Google? Where are we ranking? Are those numbers going up or down? Do we need to run new strategies, new content?’ … And then once we bring those customers in, we ask, ‘How are they activated? Are we landing high-quality evaluators? Are they using the product on day zero, day two, week two? Those are metrics that we start to share with the product organization as it becomes the product's job to retain and expand those relationships”, says Sean.
Atlassian’s Positioning to W.I.N. Framework Breakdown
After sharing how he’s building, managing and measuring the product marketing team at Atlassian, Sean gave us a look at how his product marketing crew is positioning Atlassian to W.I.N.
WHO to Win With
To better understand their ICP, Sean relies on two Qs: Quantitative and Qualitative. Sean thinks it’s important that product marketers look at both the quantitative information about their ideal customers (like analyst data) and the qualitative information that product marketing needs to dig out in order to get the full picture.
“When we’re trying to figure out who to target, we look at the data and insights to guide us,” says Sean. “But then you need product marketers with an entrepreneurial mindset, or rogue element, who say, ‘I don’t care what that data says. It’s useful, but I want to talk to the person who bought the competitor and didn’t talk to us.’” Introducing a qualitative element to the ‘Who to win with’ process, along with your quantitative insights, helps provide a more holistic understanding of who you should sell to.
WHO to Win Against
Once you know who you want to sell to, the next step is understanding who you need to win against. Sean uses a similar quantitative and qualitative approach to answer this question for Atlassian.
He recommends starting with analyst reports and internal win/loss data to get important quantitative information on your competitive landscape. Then, to gather more qualitative insights, Sean suggests looking at review sites and online community forums. You may be surprised to find buyers at the bottom of the funnel and ready to buy—just waiting for you to engage with them!
IMPACT For Customers
Product marketers have to understand not only the value of their product, but the impact their product will have on their customers. Again, Sean combines both a quantitative and qualitative approach here. For the quantitative research, Sean suggests working with analysts like Forrester to prepare a Total Economic Impact model that measures the impact your product has on your customers.
For qualitative insights, Sean says “You have to be like a child. Always asking ‘Why?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Why did you buy this?’” According to Sean, only a sales rep or marketer that’s really curious will ever get to answers beyond what an ROI calculator can provide. You may find a use case for your product that you’ve never even considered. And then it’s the product marketer’s job to figure out how many more people are out there like that, and if it’s a pattern that can be repeated. As Sean says, “You get to impact with curiosity more than anything else.”
NARRATIVE That Ties it All Together
The final step of the W.I.N. framework is packaging all of your customer, competitor, and value insights into a powerful narrative that works internally and externally. For Sean, narrative is a critical part of the product marketer’s role.
“Often in product-led growth companies all actions are guided by bumping a chart,” says Sean. “It’s effective to a point. … But if customers can’t understand everything that you’re doing in a way that’s meaningful then it doesn’t really matter.”
Sean tells us that at Atlassian this can mean building a feature that doesn’t bump a chart, but does make it easier to communicate the value to customers. “Your product marketing team should be sitting down [with your product team] and saying ‘This is the key missing piece of the story. You’ve gotta build it for me,’” says Sean. “And hopefully you’re doing that 6 months before your launch so that you can get up on stage and everybody goes, ‘Wow. What they said in two sentences I want to buy.’”
Ready to learn more about how Atlassian’s product marketing team is positioning their company to W.I.N.?
Listen to the full interview.
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