In this Ask me Anything (AMA) session for Prioritised members, our line-up of experts shared their thoughts and insights on being successful in B2B product management.
Our expert panellists included:
- Alison Burnett, Director of Product Management at Salesforce
- Louise Bernstein, Director of Product at Hubspot
- Jason Knight, Product Director at FullCircl
- Megh Gautam, Director of Product Management at Dropbox
- Hosted by Marc Abraham, Group Product Manager at Intercom
Watch the video in full or read on for the summary.
- In B2B you have to prioritise more tasks and business goals. It’s important to always be looking at how you can provide value to the business that you’re working with.
- Spark the right conversations to build the right products. It’s your role to leverage those around you and create insights from key conversations.
- All teams within an organisation are working towards the same goal so it’s important to collaborate effectively and rationalise your product decisions with them.
Working in a B2B setting as a product manager
From a product manager’s point of view, there are many more personas to be aware of in a B2B context. You have to work harder to prioritise tasks and business goals, Louise says. You have a big responsibility to help the company that you’re working with grow—there’s an added responsibility to drive long-term success. She says to think long-term about what you’re trying to achieve and where the biggest opportunities lie when working in the B2B market.
Spark the right conversations to gain the most effective insights
Asked the best ways to engage with customers, Alison recommends always starting by looking at the data. You can use this information to open up conversations with the right people. Having a continuous conversation with the people in your industry will also help, adds Megh. You can use this opportunity to create more product features for more customers outside of your primary target market.
Be aware of what is going on in the sector; your competition, market trends, where the direction is going, says Alison. Speak to everyone to get a grasp of how the company and the industry see their worlds. Jason explains that the key is to know enough to have a coherent conversation with the right people. You’re there to have a good collaborative conversation with customers and industry experts. Consequently, it helps to understand the industry that you’re in but you don’t need to be an expert to spark the right conversations. “You need to have enough context to get the right answers and consequently build the right products and features. You can build this over time.”
Your superpower is leveraging those around you, Louise adds.
Drive collaboration to reach business goals
Maintain objectivity as much as possible when working with customer success, marketing, and sales teams, Megh says.
To prove your worth and rationalise your product decisions, you must show that all of the decisions being made are valuable to the end business goal, Alison says. Show the thought process that goes behind your choices and link it to what provides the business and customer with the most value.
Lousie adds to find out what stories other teams within the business are trying to tell. Work with them to gain insights and utilise your roadmap to provide them with knowledge on what is coming up soon. You can create effective relationships with these teams over time, Alison explains. “In B2B product management, different teams are working towards the same goal but we see each other as different,” Louise says. Educate teams about how you think like a product manager so you can provide different experiences of how you reach the ultimate business goal.
Despite team collaboration, Jason explains that the only key metric that most companies care about is revenue. For product managers in B2B, he stresses the importance of discovering multiple metrics that are personal to you. This will ensure that you are always looking at ways to provide value to the people using your product.
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