Product Marketing Sitting on CS Team?

Rachel Yockey
Rachel Yockey Member Posts: 10 Contributor
First Anniversary
Does anyone have a product marketer sitting on the CS team?  We have a gap in getting needed screenshots and feature release notes in a timely manner so we can update our users as we push app updates.  My thought being this person could be a liaison between dev and CS and also be responsible for updating all of our help center and training materials.  Would love any advice for those who've gone through this or have opted for another path to the same solution.


  • Eric Cheshier
    Eric Cheshier Member Posts: 5 Seeker
    Second Anniversary Photogenic First Comment
    edited March 2021
    This is a fantastic idea.  Just today I decided to have some of our specific product overlays join our team calls.  This will put the overlay in a position to engage with our CSM's, and allow the CSM's to be more comfortable with the seller.  We have a wide array of products, and the CSM's are generally not that technical, so product support is critical.  And, they are usually eager to join as it gives them a forum to push their product.
  • William Buckingham
    William Buckingham Member Posts: 39 Expert
    10 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper
    edited March 2021
    Hi Rachel,

    I have been on a CS/AM team when we implemented a similar role, for the very same outcome.   In general, I think it is a pain point which loads of companies have.   

    From my experience, I haven't seen the setup in which the Product Marketer is actually on the CS team/payroll/org chart.  I think the primary reason is that there typically isn't the workload of an FTE worth of CS-specific needs - and CS doesn't want to cover costs for Marketing resource.  Additionally, CS leaders likely have little to no experience hiring Product Marketers. Nor do CS leaders often have experience understanding and reporting on the ROI of marketing professionals. 

    How I would do this is create the following role/expectations as a high-level starting point:
    1. PM Org: Have Product Marketer sit on Product Marketing team
    2.  Unique Role and Responsibilities:  Have this specific PM have liaison role and responsibility specifically to CS
    3. Clear Expectations: Create SLA's regarding what types of releases get what type of product marketing content, and when this will be delivered
      1. I.e. "Any feature release or bug fix touching core product or enterprise-customer apps will have a one pager and video made and shipped to the Customer Success team 48+ hours prior to release. (Exception for urgent and hot bug fixes which should be resolved within 48 hours of surfacing).  
      2. If the above expectation you set is not met, have a previously-agreed upon protocol for reviewing why.   
    4. Recurring Engagement: Create specific engagement cadence for the PM and CS team.  This should include:
      1. How often the PM will attend the recurring CS meeting, not a CS-Marketing meeting, the regular CS meeting.  (Once or twice a month will give the exposure needed to start shoring up understanding gaps the M has regarding the CSM role and pain points.)
      2. Specific Marketing-CS meeting, I think once a month suffices,  to discuss: A. what was shipped last month, what will be shipped this month, gaps between what is needed and what is planned, and feedback from customers to be provided by CSMs to PM. 
      3. How many QBRs per quarter the PM should attend.  This is just a needed level of exposure to the outcome.  
      4.  PM should know what the OKRs of the CS team are, and know which ones he or she could prevent if planned duties are not carried out.
    5. Iteration with Leadership:  Lastly, I believe the PM should have a monthly or quarterly one on one with the CS leadership team to evaluate and review the effectiveness of the partnership. I think the PM's manager should be present for this, as it helps the PM's leader understand the workload volume coming from CS, and general exposure to a key internal collaboration.
    By no means exhaustive, but I think for most organizations it could be a good starting point.  Hope this helps your effort.

    Will Buckingham

    Customer Success Operations Manager, Enablement

  • Sana Farooq
    Sana Farooq Member Posts: 28 Expert
    First Anniversary
    edited March 2021
    Love everything that @William Buckingham outlined!

    Our PMM reports to Product, and Customer Marketing reports to Marketing, but both work very closely with our CS Ops/Enablement and myself.

    Something that really helped us is creating the tiering model ourselves in order to establish the framework of CS needs when the PMM is hired. I attached an example tiering plan for your reference in case it's helpful. This is a few years old and it's evolved considerably since then, but was a great starting point for discussions around the need for the role, and ensuring expectations were very clear despite the reporting structure not being in favor of CS.

    Hope it's helpful and always happy to set some time to chat through it further!
  • Rachel Yockey
    Rachel Yockey Member Posts: 10 Contributor
    First Anniversary
    edited March 2021
    Thank you VERY much Sana!  Everything swirling in my head you already had on paper.  Appreciate you sharing your expertise!
  • Rachel Yockey
    Rachel Yockey Member Posts: 10 Contributor
    First Anniversary
    edited March 2021
    Huge thanks William!  Really great insight on setting clear KPI's and scheduled cadence of check ins to evaluate partnership and impact of the role.  Really appreciate your thoughtful response!