Our Product Practice and Marketing Practice recently joined forces to wrap up a large recruiting engagement for a high-profile cloud networking company considered to be a leader in their category. The engagement was for a strategic Product Marketing talent who could take global GTM strategies to the next level, at scale. We learned a lot during this engagement.
For anyone interested in doing the same for their enterprise cloud networking organization, here are the top three challenges we encountered doing this recruiting assignment and how we overcame them.
Supply (Low) vs. Demand (High)
For many earlier-stage companies, product marketing hires come after demand generation, ABM, and content marketing hires. For this reason, not every organization has a product marketer, or they have very few.
This is usually the case within the growing community of next-generation cloud networking providers, whether security, SASE, PaaS, or ZTNA. The supply for product marketers with this specific set of experiences remains relatively low compared to the ever-increasing demand.
To overcome this challenge, we wrapped a team around this engagement to deliver qualified candidates at scale and fast. Our team pragmatically approached the cloud computing category, blueprinting the org structures and making targeted reach outs to the market.
Our research team fed our recruiting teams with a steady stream of top talent to assess. Although supply was limited on the front end, from our client's point of view, they had a good selection of candidates to choose from.
When supply is low, an outbound targeted approach is needed to help sell qualified passive candidates on the opportunity and showcase all the benefits if they were to make a move.
Technical vs. Value
For many tech companies, product marketing is focused on sales enablement and the strategies and assets needed for an effective and impactful release. Decks, demos, webinars, content, etc. While a big part of product marketing, sales enablement and GTM planning does not encompass the entire product marketing function.
This siloed and somewhat diluted understanding of product marketing only adds to the lack of standout talent in technically complex products like cloud networking or infrastructure solutions.
Whereby the average product marketer of a technical product will focus on speeds, feeds, and tech specs; our experience has taught us the world's top cloud companies want more. They want talent who can deliver value-based messaging.
To overcome this challenge, our recruiting teams held our standards to a high bar. Our MVP (minimal viable person) candidates were product marketers who could communicate a value-based narrative around the products they had been hired to launch.
Included in our evaluation of candidates was exploring their career trajectory into product marketing. For example, how much of their career had been on the business side vs. the engineering side? If a candidate had a STEM background, had they also done their MBA?
Applying a holistic examination of a candidate's career and trajectory in marketing technical products results in a successful hiring outcome. Focus more on those with a strategic product marketing experience delivering value-based messaging vs just a good technical PM.
Titles are a Funny Thing
The ability to source, identify, connect and qualify talent for top cloud networking companies is a skill our clients value and why they continue to retain us for their strategic hires across Sales, Product and Marketing, and especially Product Marketing.
One of our top recruitment skills is our ability to identify the talent; even when someone's title or the information available publicly doesn’t sound like the person you'd be seeking.
Like their counterparts in product management, most product marketers didn't pursue a career in product marketing, it just happened. Either organically or by happenstance, the needs of an employer opened the door for them to pursue product marketing. For this reason, many product marketers retain titles that are not reflective of their scope of work.
We often see those whose titles are:
- Product Manager but has a product marketing scope
- Product Marketing but has product management responsibilities
- Marketing Manager but is a product-centric marketer
To overcome this challenge, we lean on our research team to help support the scope and scale of our efforts. Our subject matter expertise recruiting for product marketers enables us to leverage our knowledge of org structures and who is most likely to be responsible for the function.
Our ability to get to the people who matter as quickly and efficiently as possible ensures our Recruiters talk with the top product marketing talent across North America and put that talent in front of our clients.
Titles are funny things especially when looking for product marketers. In order to ensure qualified talent isn’t missed, it’s important to look beyond the titles and dig into a candidate’s experiences.
What are your challenges when recruiting Product Marketers? Book a consultation with us today to discuss how we can help scale your product marketing function.