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Intel and inspiration for the world's best marketers.

How to Leverage Competitor Product Reviews to Win Sales

Posted by Ellie Mirman on August 15, 2017.

Review sites are jam-packed with competitive intelligence. Customers complaining about competitors’ products. Customers detailing strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Visibility into when and how competitors respond to customer issues. Direct and public customer feedback, without the outreach.

How do you then turn that intelligence into a tool for sales to win deals? Certainly it’s more than sending the review itself around the office. Here are 5 ways to leverage competitor product reviews to win sales.

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5 Ways to Leverage Competitor Product Reviews to Win Sales

1. Develop Sales Trap Questions

What: A sales trap question is one that exposes a competitor’s weakness but puts the onus on the prospects to discover it. In that way, the sales rep is able to abstain from tarnishing the competitor, keeping themselves in a positive light.

How: Identify competitor weaknesses exposed in reviews, especially those that contrast a strength of yours. In addition to calling out these strengths and weaknesses on sales battlecards, couple these notes with questions sales can use in prospect meetings.

Example: Competitor weakness identified as lack of product functionality for X industry. Company strength identified as specialization in the X industry. Resulting Sales Trap Question would be: “We focus on the X industry and have hundreds of customers like you. We’ve found that this industry has key requirements such as A, B, and C. How have the other tools you’ve evaluated addressed those needs?"

2. Use Search to Your Advantage

What: The prospects with whom you have - or have not yet - spoken will likely do online research to see what customers had to say. What prospects see on those review sites - including overall rating and themes in the comments - can make or break a sale.

How: Get ahead of those searches and make sure that your reviews put your best face forward. Do your competitors have more positive reviews? Get your best customers to chime in! Have the best reviews in town? Encourage your prospects to search for real customer feedback online. Let your customers be your best marketers.

Example: Not sure where to start? Search for “[Company Name] + Reviews” or “[Industry Term] + Reviews” and see which review sites come up first. Work with your best customers to get their voices represented there, and then encourage your prospects to do their research.

3. Turn Competitor Benefits Into Drawbacks

What: Every company will promote their strengths. Instead of trying to out-win them on that area, turn that self-proclaimed strength into a weakness.

How: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” The same goes for competitor strengths and weaknesses. Take what a competitor proudly shouts as a benefit of their product and lean into the drawback of that approach. Then, your sales team can reference the competitor’s own positioning against them when a prospect asks about that competitor.

Example: Competitor positions themselves as the “#1 Email Tracking Tool for Sales Reps.” Company has a comparable email tracking tool for sales reps, but couples it with a reporting view for sales managers. Company uses positioning such as, “Competitor Y has a solid tool if your sales reps just want to track who opens their emails. If you want to get visibility into how emails are performing across the team, you need our product."

4. Find the Strengths People Care About

What: You may think your reporting feature is the best, but what customers rave about is the export function in similar tools. Discover what your customers love about similar products, and leverage that in your marketing and sales.

How: Research tangential companies on review sites - specifically looking for companies that sell to the same audience and/or have similar tools. See what customers cite as strengths and, in particular, what gets them excited. This can provide great insight into what will resonate most with your customers. Then emphasize your strengths in those areas.

Example: Say most competitors in your space focus on a certain set of features, but a related company - perhaps a point solution or different product for the same industry - has customer reviews raving about a weekly analytics report. Try promoting reporting functionality to see if those features resonate with your prospects.

5. Prepare for Objections

What: By monitoring your own positive and negative reviews, identify and prepare to handle the objections that are likely to come up. Have a playbook and soundbites for sales reps to address each objection regarding a weakness.

How: Identify weaknesses noted in reviews from your customers. In addition to surfacing the weaknesses to the relevant product/services teams, prepare the playbook for handling the questions about these issues. Also be sure to respond to negative reviews to publicly show how you address customer issues.

Example: Customer complains about product speed in a negative review. Company representative responds to acknowledge the feedback, address whether this is something that has been or is being addressed, and invites additional feedback. Company provides a soundbite to sales to address this comment if it comes up in a sales conversation.

How to Find Relevant Review Sites

If you’re not sure which review sites to target, here are a few ideas:

  1. Start with some popular review sites: Capterra, G2 Crowd, TrustPilot, TrustRadius, GetApp, Software Advice, or Yelp

  2. Check out App Stores: iTunes/Apple, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Salesforce AppExchange

  3. Search for "[company or industry name] + reviews” and see which sites come up

  4. Ask customers which sites they leveraged in their product research and evaluation

  5. Don’t forget about employee review sites like Glassdoor - there can be a lot of juicy intelligence hidden in reviews by employees

Have other tips for turning reviews into sales and marketing tools? Let us know!

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Market Intelligence: The Advantage Millions of Businesses Miss

Posted by Jonah Lopin on July 27, 2017.

Millions of businesses understand what’s happening internally, but they’re blind to what’s happening outside the four walls of their company.

Most companies have awesome data on their own marketing campaigns, lead generation efforts, product roadmaps, budgets and hiring plans. They use mature products like HubSpot and Salesforce.com to track and optimize their efforts.

But when it comes to understanding and acting on what’s happening externally - with competitors, customers, and partners - many companies are radically underinvested. When it comes to understanding what’s happening in the market, most companies operate in an informational vacuum.

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How are competitors shifting messaging and positioning? What are the most meaningful product and pricing changes in your market? Are companies in your space shifting marketing investment to new platforms? What’s their hiring plan? What’s their partner strategy? Are they winning or losing customers at an accelerated rate? What content strategies are working for them? Most companies can’t answer these fundamental questions. They operate as if they’re alone in the market.

The best companies in the world are investing in capabilities to bridge this internal-external information gap. There’s a massive opportunity for millions of companies to find actionable insights and opportunities using market intelligence software.

We’re building Crayon to help every company on the planet tune into actionable market intelligence hidden in plain sight, outside the four walls of their company.

The 3 Reasons Most Companies Are On The Sidelines

Why aren’t most companies doing this already? What’s stopping the majority of companies from gathering and acting on market intelligence at scale?

Most companies are on the sidelines because actionable market intelligence is hard, and there’s never been a software platform that solves the problem.

It’s historically been very difficult to track thousands of data sources and extract meaningful signal without being overwhelmed by the noise. It’s even harder to translate market intelligence into actionable, ROI-positive opportunities for the company.

Challenge #1: Digital Footprints Are Hard To Track

The digital footprint for a modern company – all the places online where that company has a presence – is large, distributed and complicated. How do you track an ever-changing set of thousands of sources across tens or hundreds of companies in your market, and keep up with it in real-time?

A decade ago, the digital footprint for most companies was pretty simple: corporate website, blog, and a few social media profiles. But those days are over. Today, the digital footprint for most companies is spread across thousands of places online, and the corporate website is just the tip of the digital iceberg.

There are review sites and forums where products and services are being discussed, job boards and employee review sites, native apps in the iTunes and Google Play app stores, partner pages on other corporate domains, content being published on sites like YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes, SlideShare, and Medium. And don’t forget the Wikipedia page, financial results (if they’re public), and patent applications.

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It’s impossible for mere mortals to get their arms around the digital footprint for a modern company without software to do the heavy lifting.

Crayon’s software detects digital footprints at scale to yield complete intel on companies in your market. We’re tracking more than 160 million pages across 7.4 million domains, and we’ve triangulated the digital footprint for over 2.2 million companies.

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Challenge #2: Separating Signal From Noise

The second challenge blocking many companies from building actionable market intelligence programs is that digital footprints are extremely noisy.

If you tapped into every change in a digital footprint, you’d drown in a sea of data. The footprint for a given company changes frequently, but many of those changes are immaterial.

The home page changed… but only by a few pixels. There’s a new online review…. but it’s only 1 sentence. There’s a new LinkedIn post… about their office dog Mr. Tickles.

Crayon’s solution to this challenge involves an ongoing investment in separating signal from noise at scale. We use algorithms, machine learning, and humans working in concert to filter out the noise so you can pick up on important signals. For example, only 6.1% of the website changes detected by Crayon are meaningful enough to be delivered to customers; 93.9% of website changes are nothing but noise!

Once we’ve got signal separated from noise, we classify each signal into over 100 discrete insight types, and give you the ability to filter and analyze insights based on date, topic, and relevance.

The net result is a market intelligence platform that’s comprehensive without being noisy; a tool that helps you analyze what’s happening without fighting through an avalanche of data.

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Challenge #3: How Do You Make It Actionable?

You’ve got your intel. Awesome. Now what do you do with it? How do you make it actionable? This is the third challenge that’s historically blocked large-scale investment in market intelligence.

Enterprise value isn’t created by market intelligence, it’s created by the decisions, actions, and strategic insights that result from market intelligence. This is a subtle but critical distinction: Competitive intelligence isn’t about what your competitors are doing, it’s about what you do in response.

Competitive intelligence isn’t about what your competitors are doing, it’s about what you do in response. twitter.png

Companies don’t just need market intelligence, they need a prescription for action. They need a playbook and methodology that helps them figure out how to use the intel to drive action. The challenge is that most companies have historically lacked a playbook for making market intelligence actionable.

Crayon has woven a prescription for action into our software platform, methodology and training process. Crayon customers drove more than ten thousand strategic and tactical actions using Crayon intel last quarter alone.

There’s A Massive ROI on Actionable Market Intelligence

There are three drivers of ROI when you automate market intelligence at scale:

  • 100x Efficiency Gain
  • Lift in Key Metrics
  • Strategic Advantage

100x Efficiency Gain

Market intelligence software drives a 100x efficiency gain: 10x better intel, 10x faster.

First, Crayon software will find 10x more valuable intel than what you could have found manually. Digital footprints today are massive, and manual efforts can’t capture all the changes taking place, and then separate signal from noise.

For example, in a partner directory with 1,000 listings, a human is unlikely to note the 889th partner was replaced with a new firm. On a website with thousands of pages, a human will likely miss product integrations removed from a solutions page and newly published case studies.

Second, you’ll get the intel 10x faster. Rather than waiting for a human-based workflow to deliver intel, you’ll get the intel in real time.

The end result? Your team has 10x better intel in 10x less time. That’s a 100x efficiency gain and a massive ROI.

10x better intel * 10x faster = 100x efficiency gain

Lift in Key Metrics

Every team in marketing, from Demand Generation to Sales Enablement to Communications, as well as some teams outside marketing, will see their metrics get better as a result of market intelligence when they learn to translate market events into actionable opportunities.

From increased campaign performance in Demand Gen, to better sales win rates against the competition, to better PR and content marketing results, market intelligence drives a lift in key metrics across multiple teams.

Here are a few examples:

  • Sales Enablement: Improve Competitive Win Rate
    • A competitor sunsets one of their products and you train sales to use that intel to win competitive sales situations.
    • You find candid reviews on a competitor’s product and craft a sales battlecard to increase your win rate.
    • A competitor makes a splashy announcement, and you get ahead of the news in real-time and enable the sales team to understand and position effectively against the new development.
  • Demand Gen: Improve Campaign Performance
    • A competitor launches a new AdWords campaign, and you turn their idea into an a/b test that opens up a new family of high-conversion campaigns.
    • You see revenue drop and assume it’s related to something you’ve done, but then find a competitor introduced aggressive promotional pricing into the market, so you launch a promotion in response.
    • A competitor implements an SEO best practice on their website, and you adapt the best practice to work for your site and roll it out.
  • PR/Comms: Improve Share of Voice, Traffic, & Inbound Links
    • You identify a journalist that’s writing about the competition but hasn’t written about you, and reach out to build a relationship.
    • You benchmark your PR effectiveness around a recent event relative to the competition, and identify ways to outperform them around coverage at future events.
    • You see a competitor mirroring your messaging, and start to shift messaging to maintain differentiation in your campaigns.
  • Content Marketing: Improve Traffic, Inbound Links, & Engagement
    • You see a competitor adopting new channels, like SlideShare or iTunes Podcasts, and you shift investment to those channels so as not to fall behind.
    • A competitor launches a new content campaign, perhaps a series of videos on YouTube, a set of webinars, or a Pinterest contest, and you craft new campaigns based on those ideas.
    • You identify “white space” in your market by identifying topics no one else is talking about, where you can create content that truly stands out.
  • Product Marketing: Improve Competitive Win Rate, Launch Metrics, & More
    • A competitor contracts their support hours, and you drive forward an initiative to expand your support hours to create a marketable differentiator.
    • A competitor launches a new product that competes with you, and you see a gap in the feature set, so you update battlecards and train sales to highlight your relative strength.
    • A potential customer asks a question on Quora or Reddit, and you engage to pull them into a sales conversation.
  • Other:
    • Product Management: A competitor launches a feature that’s also on your roadmap, and the team reviews videos, documentation, and forum discussions showing how the feature was implemented and how customers are responding to it.
    • Partnerships: A competitor drops a strategic partner, and your team capitalizes on the opportunity to pull that player into your partner program.
    • HR/Recruiting: A competitor closes an office in a geography where you have a presence, and you move quickly to recruit displaced employees.

The net impact of actionable market intelligence is positive results across many teams. All the metrics get better. Your team gets better campaign results, wins more deals, gets more press, and wins more customers. Companies that build market intelligence programs enjoy a lift in a wide variety of metrics across teams.

Strategic Advantage

You’ve probably got a great corporate strategy and a great marketing strategy.

But the market doesn’t sit still, and you’re not alone in your market.

If you don’t have a systematic way of adjusting your strategies in light of shifting market dynamics, you’ll miss important opportunities to get ahead, or you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of a shift you didn’t see coming.

For example, consider a set of signals that indicate your competitor is investing in artificial intelligence. The first signal is they’ve posted two engineering jobs for data scientists. The second signal is they included the term “machine learning” in a newly published “product brief” on their help site. The third signal is they get a booth at an AI-focused industry event.

A market-aware organization would connect the dots and realize their competitor is actively pursuing artificial intelligence now. The strategic action might be to accelerate your own plans to invest in artificial intelligence capabilities. Your strategy might have called for waiting 18 months to invest in AI, but it might make sense to accelerate those plans.

What if a competitor is slowly changing messaging across their website to more closely mirror the language you’ve been using to tell your story to the market? What if a competitor you’ve been battling in the mid-market is moving upstream to the enterprise? You need to understand these strategic developments in real-time.

There’s no simple formula for how you’ll respond to strategic issues. Anything can happen in the market, so almost anything might be justified as a strategic response. The important thing is to be plugged into an ongoing, agile cycle of market intelligence assimilation and strategic adjustment. The important thing is to have complete knowledge about what’s happening in the market, so you can act (or not) from a position of informational advantage.

This Isn’t Obvious Yet - You Can Be The First In Your Industry

The vast majority of companies haven’t awakened to the market intelligence opportunity yet. That’s great news for you! You can be first in your market to use actionable market intelligence to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

There’s a good chance if you don’t make the investment soon, someone else in your market will beat you to the punch. By the time you see their case study, you’ll be playing catchup. Wouldn’t you rather have them read your case study than vice versa?

What We Believe

We believe the external market environment is today’s greatest untracked frontier for millions of companies. This is as important to understand as your website and your sales team, yet most companies have severely limited visibility.

We believe millions of businesses can create meaningful enterprise value by accessing market intelligence at scale, and making it actionable.

We believe most companies are on the sidelines today because there’s never been a great software platform to solve the actionable market intelligence problem at scale.

We believe you can be the next Crayon case study. We’ve driven tens of thousands of strategic and tactical actions for thousands of customers, and we’d love to get you off the sidelines. If you believe what we believe -- or you want to chat -- leave a comment below, shoot me an email at jonah [at] crayon.co, request a demo or get a free report.

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Until next time!

Jonah

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How and Why to Learn from Aspirational Competitors

Posted by Ellie Mirman on July 12, 2017.

"We are disruptors in our space, we don't have direct competitors."

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Many times I have heard that statement, especially from startups, and it has been followed by the refrain that looking at competitors doesn’t matter. But does that mean you have nothing to learn from other companies? Does that mean you don’t compete for attention? No company exists in a vacuum, and it can often be the less direct competitors and the broader market forces that can provide great insight and inspiration.

There are multiple types of competitors:

  • Direct competitors: Top companies that come up in competitive sales situations. These are the obvious competitors, the ones everyone across sales, marketing, and product know well.

  • Indirect competitors: Major players in the industry that are well-known but don’t go head-to-head in sales conversations. This can be a wide-ranging list that can even include partners with whom you integrate or run comarketing programs.

  • Aspirational competitors: Leading companies in the broader industry that can inspire marketing opportunities. These are companies that you admire in regards to their marketing or management practices.

What is an “aspirational” competitor?

In every industry and every profession, there are the companies and individuals you admire. In the SAAS world, perhaps it’s Salesforce or Workday, in the area of design, perhaps it’s Apple or Airbnb, in the area of culture, perhaps it's HubSpot or Netflix. There is some amount of overlap in your industries, business models, or professions, but there is not a classic competitive relationship where you go head-to-head in a sales cycle. These are “aspirational” competitors - admirable companies who you compete with for attention but not sales.

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Why watch your aspirational competitors?

"By the time there’s a case study in your market, you’re too late.”

It’s very possible that the companies that lead the way in their specific area of expertise will end up sharing their lessons learned in a blog or presentation. But how much time passes before that happens? How many more companies pick up on those best practices and start executing in that way in the meantime? If you wait for that blog post to come out and neatly tell you what you can learn from these leading companies, you will miss out on the true opportunity.

By monitoring their moves, you can see marketing tests in progress, such as new social strategies, content focus areas, new expertise added to their teams, and more. This allows you to follow along before the lessons are published, so that you have the opportunity to test these strategies for yourself.

Get early warning of true competitive threats

On top of the inspiration you can gain from tracking your aspirational competitors, this monitoring can double as watching for early warnings of competitiveness. If you are truly a disruptor in your space with no direct competitors, your major threat is unlikely to be a new startup popping onto the scene. It is more likely that the threat to your business would be for a major player - perhaps one tangential to you - creeping into your space and launching a similar solution.

By monitoring small “innocuous” moves, you can see if one of these companies is moving in your direction. You may see them publishing more content related to your niche, targeting keywords related to your solution, or making subtle changes to product packaging to set up for a new launch. Early warning can help you prepare to compete head-to-head with a strong competitor.

What can you learn from aspirational competitors?

The specific opportunities uncovered by monitoring aspirational competitors will vary from industry to industry, but you're likely to see at least some of these situations arise.

Content Marketing & PR Best Practices

  1. Learn what content performs well - See where companies are investing their content marketing efforts, the type and topic of that content, and brainstorm analogous content you could create that could perform similarly well.
  2. Learn what social strategies work well - Which channels work best for these companies? How often do they post and what do they publish? Identify strategies to test yourself to see if you have similar luck.
  3. Find opportunities for content comarketing - Since you do not compete head-to-head, that may open up opportunities for comarketing. Is there a content gap you could fill? Do they have a key topic that you could add to? Comarketing with a bigger player can help boost your content marketing efforts significantly.
  4. See what stories get news coverage - News coverage can help with SEO, branding, lead generation, and more. Your aspirational competitors are likely to be ahead of you in this area, so what can you learn about the stories and content that get them coverage?
  5. Jump on relevant social conversations - If you are solving a new market problem, it is likely that prospects are not yet seeking out a solution like yours. One way to get in front of the right people is to jump into tangential conversations. When your aspirational competitors are active or mentioned on Quora, Twitter, etc., that can be a good opportunity to jump in and contribute.

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Partnership Opportunities

  1. Identify relevant events to join - Especially if you are a disruptor in your market, it may not be obvious which events to attend. Looking at events your aspirational competitors sponsor, speak at, and attend, can provide good targets for you.
  2. Jump on opportunities to contribute content - These companies may run their own events where they need speakers, create content where they need input, or other situations where there is an explicit call for expert input. This is a great opportunity to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
  3. Identify complementary product opportunities - Watching for changes in product packaging and monitoring product investment through features released, removed, or enhanced, can surface ideas for complementary product integrations. There is more effort involved to integrate, but this can lead to a productive, long-term relationship.
  4. Create links to additional companies - In addition to monitoring your aspirational competitors, it may be worthwhile to monitor their competitors to see how their specific industry niche sees each company. This can provide an opportunity to build partnerships with other companies in the same tangential space.

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Campaign Strategies

  1. Inspire new campaigns and tests - New campaigns launched (and each of their components, like landing pages and content offers) can provide great inspiration for campaigns to test yourself. You can leverage your competitors' resources by way of letting them test and launch many campaigns and implementing the best ideas for your company.
  2. Inspire design tests and changes - Changes to webpage designs, call-to-action placement, page layout, and more, can inspire tests to run on your own website. An aspirational competitor may have more traffic and data to play with, so you can piggy back on their great ideas and tests.
  3. Identify potential marketing channels - When another company has more resources, there's all the more reason that they will explore and try more marketing channels. Monitoring where and how they leverage different channels can provide direction for which channels you should try as well.

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This list is simply a sampling of the many ways you can turn your admiration of leading companies into a strategy to improve your own marketing efforts. As a company bringing to market a new type of solution (market and competitive intelligence software tools), Crayon focuses as much or more on our aspirational competitors as we do the new startups popping on the scene and the old school firms in the broader market.

We see our best customers doing the same, whether it's by tracking every move an aspirational competitor makes in Crayon Intel Pro, or tracking major content and design updates from a broader set of companies with Crayon Intel Free. (You can sign up for a free account to track unlimited companies here.)

Have you leveraged aspirational competitive intel in other ways? We'd love to hear about it!

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8 Key Product Marketing Metrics: Marketing Leaders Weigh In On What To Track

Posted by Ellie Mirman on June 28, 2017.

The challenge of measuring product marketing success is not a new one. Nearly every marketing leader I’ve asked about measuring product marketing impact has stated how difficult it is. Especially with marketing moving more and more in the direction of data-driven decisions and results, it becomes quite the challenge when marketers are unable to attribute tangible results to a team’s effort. 

While it is difficult, it is not impossible, to measure the impact of product marketing. In fact, we may simply be at the earliest stages of developing tools and strategies for measuring the role. Product marketing is a diverse function serving many different stakeholders, and the role and priorities can vary significantly from company to company.

“Virtually every other aspect of marketing is almost purely data driven today, but product marketing has lagged behind. I think this is partly due to the lack of tools and technologies that target the product marketing function, but it is also challenging because product marketing serves so many different constituents that are all using different metrics, tools, and time horizons to measure themselves.”

- Rob Bois, Sr. Dir. Product Marketing, Fuze

After talking with many top marketing leaders and product marketing pros, I pulled together the takeaways in our new Guide to Measuring Product Marketing, which covers:

  • The Role of Product Marketing
  • Challenges with Measuring Impact
  • Key Product Marketing Metrics
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Metrics
  • How to Overcome Measurement Challenges

For a sneak preview, here are key metrics being used by the best marketing teams today.

8 Key Product Marketing Metrics

While even the most experienced (and humble) marketers will admit metrics are a constant work in progress, there are already some common approaches to measurement. These key product marketing metrics typically fall into three areas.

Key Business Metrics (& Leading Indicators)

1) Overall Revenue Goal

Pretty much every product marketing team will list overall revenue among their metrics, a reflection of the diverse nature of their efforts that are ultimately meant to impact this goal. This includes new acquisition and upsell/cross-sell/retention targets, and depending on the business and organizational goal, there will be a different level of focus on each. This can also trickle down into related goals, like number of new customers acquired, retention rates, and average revenue per customer.

Two of the most important metrics that we focus on within product marketing is number of signed customers in addition to average customer value (ARR). Given the long-term and strategic nature of PMM projects, measurement is sometimes difficult on individual initiatives. That said, results of the business and your company’s go-to-market efforts are the best proxy for your PMM team’s performance.”

- Derek Stangle, Director Product Marketing, Toast

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2) Win Rates

Sales success as measured by win rates is a key contributor to the company’s ability to hit revenue goals, and can more closely reflect product marketing’s efforts. Measuring overall win rates as well as slicing this data by sales team, product, and competitor, can uncover strengths and opportunities and more closely direct and recognize the effort of the product marketing team.

"We want to dominate the relevant market with each product, so we look at market share, competitive win/loss rates, brand perception based on an external survey, and overall revenue growth.”

- Prashant Kaw, Sr. Director Demand Gen, DevTools, Progress

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3) Product Launch Metrics

Product launches are a microcosm of the product marketing’s go-to-market strategy. They represent a focus on driving awareness, demand, sales, and usage of a new product or feature. As such, product marketing can set specific goals around each of those areas in conjunction with other teams like demand gen.

Sample product launch metrics include:

      • Trials started or demos requested
      • Content views, including product page views and video views
      • Press coverage for the announcement
      • New customer or upgrade revenue
      • Product usage or adoption of a new feature

Be sure to set a timeframe for product launch metrics - for example, to increase Feature X usage by 10% within 90 days of launch. This is key for helping attribute results to the launch effort, and to be able to close out the campaign and report on results.

“Our ‘one metric that matters’ is opportunity dollar value. This has the added bonus of being fairly easy to figure out on a macro level. Each campaign then has micro goals (e.g. awareness, traffic, conversion, etc.). For product marketing, we look at revenue dollars influenced (e.g. from ABM projects and proofs of concept) and inbound marketing metrics for down-funnel CTAs (measuring if our crafted story performed).”

- Jenn Steele, Senior Director Product Marketing, Indix

4) Product Usage

Product usage is another metric that can lead to overall revenue, specifically if the company has identified that usage of features A, B, C correlate with higher retention rates, higher revenue, or more upsells/cross-sells. Tracking product usage is likely a shared responsibility with product management, and product managers may very well also be tasked with improving certain usage metrics. Product marketing, however, may lead campaigns around improving usage of key features in order to impact retention and revenue.

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5) Customer Happiness and Retention

Similar to product usage, customer happiness metrics - such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) - can correlate with other key revenue metrics and be a relevant product marketing goal. Retention rates are an even more direct metric to align customer happiness with revenue goals. 

Qualitative Feedback

6) Internal Qualitative Feedback

Quantitative metrics don’t tell the whole story, so most teams will leverage qualitative feedback as well. Specifically, internal surveys to various stakeholders serve as avenues to measure the impact on each of the teams that leverage product marketing output.

“I think of my role in product marketing as a sales accelerator. So that means my job is to do a number of different things to help the company be more effective in selling. I send a survey to the team at the beginning of every quarter. This helps me understand what they need, but also how I’m doing as a product marketer in supporting them. I believe in getting as much feedback as possible from every team I work with, but especially Sales.”

- Aaron Levin, Product Marketing Lead, BetterWorks

Sample sales survey questions include:

      • On a scale of 1 to 5, how supported do you feel?
      • What assets (collateral, videos, etc.) have you used in the last month that have made you more successful?
      • If Marketing could do one thing to help you succeed, what would that be?
      • Compared to the previous quarter, how would you rate lead quantity and quality?
      • Compared to the previous quarter, do prospects seem to have greater, less, or the same level of awareness of our company?

Similar surveys can be run to get feedback from each of product marketing’s stakeholders - from sales to product management to executive leadership.

7) External Qualitative Feedback

External surveys can also provide useful qualitative feedback that can be turned into quantitative measures. For example, if product marketing is working on driving awareness of specific differentiation, surveys that ask prospects how they see each company in the market can show whether the differentiation efforts are or are not working. 

With any qualitative feedback, there’s an opportunity to both draw out quantitative measures as well as qualitative themes. The quantitative measures - e.g. 60% of prospects correctly described Acme as a fictional corporation from the Road Runner cartoons - can help provide concrete goals to target. And the qualitative themes - e.g. sales reps cited the videos have been great but wish they knew which video to send to which prospect - help provide actionable feedback and direction for potential action items.

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“When it comes to the qualitative vs. quantitative debate in marketing, it all comes down to balance. I’ve seen too many good marketers sacrifice quality to hit short-term goals, which only ends up hurting your team in the long run. If your primary goals are centered on producing quality work, the metrics will take care of themselves (to paraphrase Bill Walsh).”

- Ben Austin, Product Marketing Manager, Carbon Black

Specific Asset Usage

8) Usage of Product Marketing Assets

Finally, the most direct and tactical measure is usage of a product marketing asset, such as a datasheet or case study. If a piece of sales collateral is used frequently, that can be an indication that the sales team finds it useful. A similar conclusion can be made if the product team implements the input provided based on product marketing’s market analysis. While this type of metric can be somewhat disconnected from bottom-line business goals like revenue, it can more directly reflect the value attributed to product marketing’s effort.

"I prefer to measure success based on areas where Product Marketing has greater ownership, including number of direct customer/prospect engagements, sales cycle length, product/feature adoption, sales enablement surveys, and providing roadmap guidance.”

- Darr Gerscovich, B2B Enterprise Marketing Leader with experience ranging from large corporations (Yahoo, LinkedIn) to small SaaS tech companies (Ensighten, DroneDeploy) 

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Oftentimes, product marketers will choose a combination of metrics, or the key metrics at a given time will change based on current priorities and company stage.

“When you're just starting out, measuring product marketing is a little bit more ‘Do we have X?’ and as you get more sophisticated, it's more ‘How is X performing?’"

- Juliette Kopecky, VP Marketing, Talla

It is product marketing's strategic and interconnected role that, while difficult to measure, leads to great business impact. Sitting at the intersection of many departments and executive leadership means that many of the above metrics have hints of each of those team's metrics.

“Product marketing’s role is to quarterback the go-to-market of the organization. That includes everything from identifying and segmenting the target audience, to crafting the messaging, to supporting the go-to-market needs of Product, Sales, and Marketing.”

- Jessica Iandorio, SVP Marketing, Mirakl

Whether you’re just establishing your product marketing metrics or a pro evaluating each of these key areas, we’ve turned the above into a guide and template to make this easier. Download the Guide to Measuring Product Marketing + Bonus Template here.

Product marketing measurement is indeed a work in progress, but many companies are circling in on good practices around how to measure and report on the effect of this team. Have additional metrics or approaches that you use? Please reach out and share - we’d love to hear from you!

Download the Guide to Measuring Product Marketing