Sales will if Marketing won't

My move into product marketing was an accident. (I mean, really, how many people plan to go into product marketing?) As a sales rep, I created my own sales tools, presentations, and demos for a product and shared them with my peers. Sales skyrocketed. I was asked to train the other salespeople in the company about my tools and techniques. Eventually, the VP of Marketing discovered what I was doing. He said, "Hey! You're doing the product manager's job. Why don't you become the product manager?"

Doesn't this happen in your organization, too? Sales reps are creating their own marketing materials because the marketing people haven't done them, or at least haven't created tools that the sales team finds valuable.

In manufacturing, there is a role known as the "Expeditor," who bypasses process to get an order out quickly to the customer. I find many product managers and product marketing managers are expeditors; they're constantly bypassing process to achieve a short-term goal. Salespeople tend to be this way, too. "Do whatever it takes to get the product to the client." But if every order must be expedited, the process is broken.

I find that good product marketing managers have a knack for finding patterns and addressing them with sales tools and customer-focused collateral. And great product marketing managers create a splash in the marketplace to let people know they've solved a pervasive market problem.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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