Too often the primary measurement of a product marketing managers performance is the number of leads they generate. Is this really the measure that reflects their individual performance? First, for most organizations, what’s classified as a lead is really a response to a marketing initiative like an email or direct mail campaign. Let’s call these what they actually are: responses. Second, the number of leads generated is rarely a reliable predictor of how many of deals will be closed, particularly in complex B2B selling. Third, the definition of a good lead is rarely consistent among salespeople, let alone across an organization.
So if generating leads are not a meaningful measure of individual contribution, you could always go to another common measure: deliverables. Data sheet. Check. Sales presentation. Check. Demo script. Check. Deliverables are necessary for sure, but are they a measure that reflects an important outcome, like selling more stuff?
How about measuring performance based on outcomes. Whoa. Wait a minute. You’re asking me to measure my product marketing managers based on revenue? Yeah, I am if it’s a measurement that is valued in your organization. I’m not suggesting they go on sales calls or become sales engineers. And I’m not advocating that they should be compensated on individual deals. But there are ways that you can measure Johnny’s contribution to the overall success to the products he supports in the market.
Arguably there are a whole range of issues that could negatively impact the product marketing managers ability to deliver on a given revenue goal with discounting being the elephant in the room.
What can product marketing managers do to positively impact revenue when they aren’t the ones doing the selling?
Become the experts on your buyers
A huge contribution to outcomes is to be the expert on your buyers. Product marketing managers are often confined to the four walls of their offices with little contact with real buyers in the market. Set a quota that requires them to interact with potential buyers, outside the office and write up what they learn. Start with eight or ten per quarter. These are interactions that are not conducted as part of a sales call.
You have plenty of experts on your products. Who’s the expert on your buyers?
Identify and correct bottlenecks in the funnel
Conduct ongoing analysis of deals looking at the each step in the funnel. Identify where deals are getting stuck and focus on corrective measures. Identifying patterns over a series of deals and avoid drawing conclusions from a single deal, which could send you on a wild goose chase. Removing a bottleneck in the funnel can have much more impact on sales throughput than generating more leads.
Removing bottlenecks improves sales throughput, effectively increasing the volume of deals your sales channels can deliver.
Take ownership of win/loss analysis
This isn’t the forensic style of win/loss analysis where you look for the person to punish for not winning the deal. It’s the type of win/loss analysis where you identify patterns that can lead to potentially huge revenue improvements. I advocate having product marketing managers own this activity in collaboration with their product manager counterparts. Each has a different filter on the activity that results in identifying different insights.
Its easy to assume the problem is with the product or price, but is that really true?