Adam Haskew
Jul 24, 2020

Our Acting Like a Top 25 ISV webinar series is dedicated to helping all ISV’s in the ecosystem improve their commercial success. We bring in experts to offer tips and tricks any ISVs can leverage to build a stronger business and sell more with Salesforce. So far in the series, we’ve covered insights and strategies for building a subscription business on Salesforce. In our latest installment of the Top 25 series, we dive into the topic of product marketing for Salesforce ISVs.

At face value, product marketing seems like a relatively straightforward proposition built on the concept of clearly articulating product market fit. In reality, however, businesses must understand the nuances of the customers’ challenges and craft language that speaks directly to them.  

For ISVs specifically, the product marketing challenge goes one step further. Beyond addressing customer needs and motivations, ISVs must also balance their messaging directly to Salesforce. The task becomes twofold: walking the tightrope of differentiating your company from the competition and clearly articulating added value to the Salesforce ecosystem.

So, how do you do this? Glad you asked.

We gathered CodeScience CRO Sean Hogan and OwnBackup’s Matthew Hutchison, VP of Product Marketing, and Steve Malone, Director of Demand Generation to discuss how to approach product marketing.

Watch the full webinar here.

Laying Out the Playbook

As we explained in our first installment of the Top 25 ISV series, leading ISVs align core business functions of strategy, finance, sales ops, marketing ops, and legal ops. This alignment extends into other business critical areas. In short, successful ISVs know how to get — and keep — key teams on the same page. And this becomes the basic challenge of product marketing. 

As the above graphic illustrates, product marketing alignment falls into three key categories: unique market messaging, cross functional alignment, and marketing channels. Each category requires a unique approach.

To achieve this, Matt Hutchison explains “it boils down to developing a point of view and getting people to buy in, and that starts with your internal folks.” The OwnBackup team accomplishes this by developing core master docs that serve as a source of truth for all positioning, market analysis, and enablement efforts. After everyone sees positioning from the same perspective, sharing the message becomes easier.

“If you’re not taking that leadership position with messaging,” adds Sean, “it makes it a lot harder for the rest of your organization to execute around it.

Putting the Wheels in Motion

Once core positioning and messaging materials are solidified, the rest of an organization, especially the marketing team, can execute. 

“Going out with a tight message that aligns all disciplines elevates the performance of our growth channels,” says Steve. “This has helped us turn good channels into great channels, which has had a positive impact on our pipeline and brand.”

In terms of messaging to Salesforce, alliances, which tend to straddle the line between sales and marketing, can leverage the same messaging across the Salesforce ecosystem. From a tactical perspective, cohesive messaging is the first piece of the puzzle. The remaining pieces revolve around best practices for communicating to customers and partnering with Salesforce.

As our panelists explain, there are several ways to endear yourself to end users and Salesforce, including:

  • Develop a provocative point of view. Finding a compelling angle and communicating it clearly is fundamental for getting buy in across the board.

  • Don’t get comfortable. As the current COVID situation has shown, even the best laid plans can be thrown out the window. Aim for agility and be ready to adapt messaging if necessary.

  • Leverage AppExchange reviews. This content is gold for selling to customers and Salesforce. Social proof can be pivotal for building trust with both audiences.

  • Work closely with Salesforce AEs and SEs. Show how your Salesforce solution helps Salesforce AE/SE’s drive customer success to crush their numbers. Strive to create win/win messaging and keep that message very targeted.

To hear all of our panelists expertise, including responses to insightful questions from the audience, watch the full webinar today. Stay tuned for the next Acting Like a Top 25 ISV session!


Companies build their Salesforce businesses better with CodeScience. It is our mission that no ISV navigates Salesforce alone. If you’re looking for guidance on your product, help supporting your customers, or just need to ask an expert, get in touch today!

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