SVP of Solutions Marketing$ 400k/Year Flexible Long-term
Do you believe that creating a market/message fit is among the most critical and valuable competencies for growth software companies? Do you thrive on the challenge of understanding different products, markets, competitors, and buyers and using that understanding to create the messaging and positioning insights required to win? Do you aspire someday to build your startup and want to develop world-class skills on how to position and message new technology products?
If so, you may find your dream job as an SVP of Solutions Marketing. Unlike traditional product marketing roles, this isn’t just a content jockey. Our SVP SMs are strategic visionaries, operating like founders over the products they are responsible for. We focus on deeply understanding the buyers of our products, not just asking them what they want. We create a competitive positioning for the product that is dripping with secret sauce, not a list of superficial feature differences. And we create messaging that is as clear as it is edgy and inspiring.
Aurea Solutions Marketers work across a wide variety of products, covering a diversity of industries, business problems, and competitive markets. SVP SMs are seeking new ways to apply technology products - individually or in combination - to create the highest business value impact for customers while establishing clear and distinguishable difference from competitive offerings.
Day-to-day, Solution Marketers:
Conduct market research on products and their competitors, talking to both analysts and prospective buyers and through internal review of software through hands-on use and specification reviews
Talk to existing customers and target buyer personas to understand and develop buyer personas, understand the way products are used, and clarify the business problem they solve
Develop business value hypotheses and messaging frameworks for products or combinations of products, and test those with prospective buyers
Create the killer product positioning and "pitch message" that describes how Aurea products create value in a manner that no one else can replicate
Evangelize your solution message to prospects and customers in meetings, webinars, and at company events
Deeply understand high-value business problems companies are seeking to solve and the ideal buyer profile to whom they are meaningful
Create compelling value propositions based on one or more Aurea products
Develop a distinctive competitive positioning for the product that differentiates it from competitive offerings
Distill this value proposition and competitive positioning into a simple, provocative message
Evangelize this messaging internally and externally
As a Solutions Marketer, you will be work with several new technologies, products, industries, and business problems daily. Our comprehensive remote training and supporting playbooks and methodologies will equip you with the foundation to develop and develop as you take on each new solution challenge.
We provide a unique, self-paced remote training program that will help familiarize you with the playbooks and methodologies you will need to excel, including:
Prospect/customer engagement and how to elicit relevant information through structured interviewing
How to uncover and assess high impact business problems and quantify the value of solving them
How to develop differentiated solution positioning that convincingly addresses the business problem
How to create simple and clear messaging that is both profoundly insightful and provocatively original
Our curriculum includes several bite-sized training videos, where we explain how we create killer solution positioning and messaging.
Of course, the most valuable learning comes from a real-world application of these tools and skills in a variety of different business contexts. With our broad and ever-growing suite of software products and a who's who of the world's greatest companies as customers (including Apple, Disney, Daimler, and British Airways to name but a few), you will gain unrivaled opportunity to build expertise creating market/message fit - an invaluable skill that many SVP SMs ultimately leverage in their startups.
We believe that most of the software companies we acquire failed not because of their product, but because of their product positioning and market messaging. We purchase dozens of products each year that never achieved critical scale or growth velocity because the market/message fit was off.
The first thing we do after acquiring new business and product goes back to first principles by trying to understand what the product does and, more importantly, what valuable aspects of the business problem are that we are trying to solve. By rediscovering and deepening our understanding of the useful core of the business problem, we can reposition the product or products by focusing on that core.
Our approach begins with communication and information gathering - reading the "clone spec" our Technical Product Management team creates about the existing product. Then doing hands-on trials of the product, and talking to existing customers on how they use the product and what business problem they are trying to solve. You conduct competitive market research on the solution space to understand the relative positioning of existing competitors, and then using the insights develop a set of "value hypotheses" that can be tested with new prospects that fit our ideal buyer profile.
It will generally take 3-5 messaging iterations before the value proposition hypothesis "locks" - a situation determined by achieving a prospect qualification rate of 20% or higher. Once the value proposition is defined, the work turns into making the positioning distinctive and differentiated. You set the basis of competition in a manner that favors the advantages of our products while diminishing the importance of competitor weaknesses. We've achieved adequate differentiation when our competitive win rate from qualified opportunities is 40% or higher.
With messaging and positioning clear, we then use our standard framework to distill it into a series of messaging frameworks we call M3, M2, and M1. M3 is the "elevator pitch," M2 is the "5 page PowerPoint pitch", and M1 is the value realization/solution demonstration story. We enable the sales teams with this messaging hierarchy and then fire up the jets. Solutions Marketers are the key to fixing broken software companies.
What does a good Solutions Marketer look like?
SMs should combine strong business acumen, an intense curiosity that drives the rigorous analytical investigation, and evident thinking, writing, and presentation skills. They are top-down strategic thinkers, able to master and distill complex concepts into provocative and straightforward messaging. Most of our Solutions Marketers followed earning a top-tier MBA with a fast track career at a prestigious strategy consulting, private equity, or venture capital firm - but then reached the mid-career epiphany that they wanted to be part of changing the world rather than just coaching from the outside. Aurea's Solutions Marketing group provides a rare opportunity for them to make that leap at this stage in their career.
How would you describe a day of work as a Solutions Marketer at Aurea?
SMs focus broadly on three different areas of work. The first is data gathering, through independent market research and, most importantly, through customer and prospect interviews. The second is a rigorous analysis of business problems and solution hypothesis generation and iterative testing. And the third is message creation/distillation and evangelism, both internally and externally with customers and prospects. Time spent communicating with prospective buyers - both in the development phase and in the evangelism phase - typically encompasses 50% or more of the working week for the average Solutions Marketer.
How many products or solutions is a Solutions Marketer responsible for?
Unlike the approach, most companies approach to Product or Solutions Marketing; we intend to build a team that is broadly skilled at quickly making mastery in a given business problem and solution area. Consequently, our Solutions Marketers are not pigeon-holed in a particular product category or industry vertical and get broad exposure to a range of software products, market segments, customers, and business problems. SMs will typically focus on one product or solution assignment at a time, but once market/message fit is found and our teams are enabled, they will move on to something completely different in their next assignment.
What other organizations does a Solutions Marketer interact with?
Solutions Marketers will spend the majority of their time interacting with three other functions. They will spend time with the Commercial Product Management Team and consume the deliverables of the Technical Product Management team to understand the products we acquire deeply. They will spend time with Sales and Account Management - on the front-end to facilitate customer, and prospect introductions for data gather and hypothesis testing, and on the back-end for enablement and message evangelism. And they will spend time with Demand Generation to translate their messaging into content artifacts and lead generation campaigns. They will also work regularly with members of the company's Executive Leadership Team (ELT), including the CEO, in the process of finalizing critical product and solution strategy decisions.
How will the quality of my work be evaluated?
Your work will be evaluated both qualitatively and quantitatively. All of the Solutions Marketer decisions are captured in a set of template deliverables that are reviewed for feedback by our senior executives, including our CEO. You will use this feedback both to improve your output in the short-term and also to learn how to refine your approach in the long-term. Also, all of the work outputs have defined "quality bars" - precise definitions of what constitutes quality work. Finally, the core test of market/message fit is the extent to which the positioning you've created resonates in the market and translates into commercial market momentum. We measure this through MQL/SQL conversion rate (which assesses the strength of the value proposition) and SQL/Deal conversion rate (which evaluates the power of the competitive positioning). In our experience, market messages that achieve or exceed our conversion rates have achieved market/message fit.
What does success in this position look like after a year of work?
In a year, a Solutions Marketer will have made demonstrable impact on our business by having taken ~4 products (roughly one per quarter) that we've acquired, and refactored the market message and positioning in such a way such that the product has been successfully "relaunched" in the market and our sales and marketing teams are finding success generating leads, converting opportunities, and closing deals based on the messaging and positioning you've defined. These products are on a growth trajectory and able to grow at our target economics (ARR>cost of customer acquisition). You may also have worked with one or more of our "Gold Accounts," helping to craft multi-product business solutions and value propositions that justify high price points by solving significant and highly valuable business problems. Net-net, you've made an impact that is distinctly measurable via the economic bookings growth of products and customers.
How much travel is required?
Aurea is a virtual company that embraces the concept of remote work. Most of your work - data gathering, hypothesis generation, and testing, and messaging and positioning development - will not require travel. However, Solutions Marketers working on large account solutions targeted toward our field sales force will visit with customers and prospects in the field. Similarly, Solutions Marketers will often play a visible and evangelical role at customer events. As a general rule, Solutions Marketers should expect to spend an average of 20% of their time on the road, with the travel burden itself likely to be spikey (weeks of heavy travel followed by weeks of no travel).
How much time will I spend developing market/message fit for an individual product or solution?
Our process is designed around the expectation of the market/message fit, determined for every individual product or solution after 90 days of deep work. During this period, a Solutions Marketer will focus exclusively on that single product or solution. This approach enables the level of rigor, analytical granularity, customer contact, and revisions generally required to achieve market/message fit. We "time box" this process at 90 days and finish. If market/message fit is not completed (as measured by our conversion metric), the operation failed, and we will either determine that we do not want to take that product or solution to market or, less frequently, we will re-initiate the 90-day process again from scratch.
Will I be managing a team?
Solutions Marketers are among our highest-end individual contributor roles. The value of the role derives from high horsepower talent and insight, not from organizational scale. That said, more experienced Solutions Marketers will ultimately be placed in a position to evaluate the work of and coach less experienced Solutions Marketers. We expect that Solutions Marketers will migrate into a coaching role after 2-3 years of experience working as an individual contributor, and will then be responsible for a small team of SMs (generally 4-7).
What is the career path for Solutions Marketers?
Because of their broad strategic grounding and commercial acumen, Solutions Marketing is generally an excellent grooming experience for future General Managers. Many Solutions Marketers spend 2-3 years (or more) in an individual contributor role and another 1-2 years (or more) in a senior coaching role before aspiring to move into a Commercial General Manager role for one of our businesses. The nature of our recruiting and organizational structure is that Solutions Managers can apply, via Crossover, for these more senior positions when encouraged to do so by their manager. With a company growing as fast as Aurea, the set of impactful roles and opportunities also increases rapidly.