7 Ways To Boost Your Internal PMM Team with External PMM Talent

Boost Your Internal Product Marketing Management Team with External PMM Talent

Demand for product marketing talent is at an all-time high, with jobs posted daily on LinkedIn and PMA job boards. Executives, especially in tech companies, are looking for someone special who can straddle the lines of product, technical, marketing, and sales to bring their products to market and life.

This demand creates a lot of competition for skilled and experienced PMMs. It can take weeks, if not months, to find the right person who’s willing to become a permanent member of your team. 

While you may not think twice about outsourcing or having project-based help for marketing, software development, or even IT, leaders rarely consider bringing in external talent for product marketing. You don’t think it will work––but it does. Outsourcing product marketing initiatives can accelerate projects and complement your internal teams. It is also the perfect stop-gap while looking for your next PMM FTE. 

Here are seven ways that using external product marketing talent can boost your internal product marketing team.

Download the results of a Aventi-sponsored Gatepoint Research survey on the shift to external talent here

Competitive assessments

Does your team receive frequent requests for competitive assessments? Are adjacent players encroaching with reasonable substitutes? Does your product team believe there’s no “real” competition because “no one does it like we do?” Or, are you losing to everyone’s arch-enemy––do nothing, a.k.a. no decision, a.k.a the status quo?

While third-party tools can help your team keep tabs on different companies, your product marketing (and sometimes product) teams need to read between the lines to understand who and what you are really up against.

Analyzing the competition can be extremely time-intensive and hard to prioritize against the continuous demand on your team executing product launches, PLG strategies, sales enablement, customer enablement, customer journey mapping, content development, and all the other things PMM is asked to own in your company.

Competitive assessments are a perfect place to bring in external product marketing resources. They can be time-based, neatly scoped, and have clear deliverables that your internal team can leverage in campaign strategies, sales training, product planning, and executive reports. In addition, product marketing consultants might know the competition, industry, or marketplace from prior experience and have the technical aptitude to put your competitive assessment on the fast track. 

Market analysis

While competitive assessments are part of the overall market landscape, they are not the only factor impacting purchase decisions. For example, we are familiar with how COVID turned video conferencing solutions into the “must-have” technology almost overnight, and Zoom was able to capitalize on that opportunity.

Leveraging external product marketing talent can offload the heavy lifting of research and facilitate workshops to help you and your leadership team understand the following:

  • Buyer and buyer committee trends
  • ICP expansion opportunities
  • Adjacent market fit
  • PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Environmental) analysis
  • SWOT analysis (product(s), service(s), LOB(s), etc.)
  • Vertical industry trends, pains, needs, and market expansion fit
  • Geography expansion analysis
  • Channel partner expansion opportunities 

Some PMMs may also have experience with pricing analysis or build/buy/partner vendor or technology discovery, which can help your internal product teams accelerate their strategic initiatives on pricing or roadmap expansion. These projects can also be time-boxed and deliverables-based so that your teams get the intelligence they need to inform strategic decisions. 

Differentiation refresh

When was the last time your team pressure-tested your differentiators against the competition, market pains, or buyer trends? Do your differentiators hold up to today’s expectations? Do your differentiators position your products and services as a “must-have” instead of a “nice-to-have” or a “maybe someday?”

External PMMs can bring fresh eyes and a new perspective to challenge your differentiators and the assumptions that helped formulate your product’s positioning. Marrying market trends with pressing customer needs, they can uncover blind spots, tease apart core value propositions, and spotlight differentiators important to today’s buyers.

Often, a differentiation refresh forces conversations about what your customers are buying and its anticipated benefits versus what the company wants to sell. In addition, it helps isolate why a new customer first purchases your products, separating them from long-term customers’ value. 

The differentiation refresh often results in strengthened positioning, updated messaging, new content ideas for demand creation, and new conversation starters for sales. 

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs

While your internal teams may have a great relationship with some customers, establishing and maintaining VoC programs are critical in today’s hyper-competitive market. This is another area where external resources may uncover hidden patterns or bring unique recommendations to advance the company’s customer-centricity and GTM motions. External product marketing talent can help accelerate VoC programs by:

  • Designing and operationalizing VoC programs 
  • Executing components such as gathering and analyzing structured feedback from interviews and surveys
  • Analyzing existing VoC program data such as NPS®, customer satisfaction surveys, product reviews, etc., and formulating recommendations
  • Accelerating GTM inputs such as personas, pains, needs, attitudes, and beliefs 

As a bonus, customers are frequently more willing to talk openly to a third party during an interview process than they are a vendor employee. Your internal resources might not be able to attain the same input and insights available to external PMMs.

Sales enablement assistance

Sales enablement, direct or channel, is essential to achieving the company’s revenue goals. Unfortunately, most internal PMM teams can’t get to all the requests and end up with a backlog of work, especially for companies in hyper-growth mode. 

Whether it’s putting fresh eyes on your existing assets or giving a helping hand in developing new ones, external PMMs can help with the following:

  • External sales enablement content
    • Presentations
    • Product slicks
    • Solution briefs
    • Customer testimonials
    • Videos
    • Whitepapers / eBooks
  • Internal sales enablement content
    • Customer journey mapping
    • Use case visioning or documentation
    • Sales playbooks
    • Competitive battle cards
    • Buyer personas
    • Win/loss analysis

This is a partial list, but it should give you ideas on how other PMM leaders leverage external talent.

Product-Led Growth (PLG) exploration or acceleration

The success of companies like Atlassian, Slack, Shopify, Calendly, and more have spotlighted product-led growth as a viable strategy for building a successful software company. Yet PLG isn’t a simple GTM formula for growth. Instead, it’s a company-wide commitment that squarely focuses on the end-users, not executives, to drive software discovery, usage, and adoption. 

External PMMs with experience in PLG can augment your team to quickly make progress on your initiatives by helping you:

  • Grok your users
  • Build personas and user stories
  • Research the competition and market landscape
  • Design the right narrative
  • Build and nurture an end-user-based community
  • Create compelling, user-based content
  • Develop and execute strategies to drive adoption

Even bringing PLG principles to more traditional, sales-led models can help your team design, build, and execute better sales enablement and marketing materials. Sitting beside your internal teams, external product marketing managers can help you avoid speed bumps, potholes, and wrong turns in a PLG journey. 

Analyst relations assistance

While your best intentions are always to have product and product marketing teams strategically engage analysts for market insights, competitive intel, or end-user trends, soon you find that another year has passed. You are left wondering if there was more value your product marketing and product management teams could have derived from your relationships with Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Omdia, S&P Global Markets, or smaller boutique firms.

Leveraging external PMMs with experience managing and engaging with the analyst community can increase the value you and your team get from your subscriptions and memberships. They can help you create a strategy for engagement and then assist in executing the plan, freeing your team to work on your most important initiatives, product launches, sales and marketing support, etc. 

You and your company still form a relationship with the analysts, but the busy-work of preparing for inquiries, setting meetings, taking notes, following through on active items, and even preparing briefing presentations can be delegated to an external PMM resource. 

As your leadership team develops growth strategies for the coming year, think about how external product marketing talent can be leveraged to accelerate your upcoming initiatives. From performing competitive and market analysis to honing differentiators, positioning, and messaging; producing sales enablement assets to assisting with voice of the customer programs, external PMM resources could be just the support your internal teams need to achieve your department and corporate goals. 

Do you need a rockstar PMM? We’ve got you covered. Let’s talk!

Written By

Heather Nightingale

Heather is not your traditional technology marketer. She has an engineering background in semiconductor circuit design and 20+ years in B2B marketing leadership for software companies, and recently joined Glance Networks as Director of Product Marketing. Prior to Glance, she spent six years helping her clients evaluate, build, and execute successful go-to-market strategies that differentiate from competitors, penetrate new markets, and maximize marketing results.