Making the move from B2C to B2B product management is not always a straightforward process. To be successful in B2B product management, PMs need to learn a new approach. The customer journey or path to purchase looks different for B2B and B2C businesses. In B2B product management, every purchasing decision involves multiple stakeholders: finance, accounting, procurement, and other teams involved. So, what does it take to be successful in B2B product management? Intuit Director of Product Rosa Welton shares insights on how to be successful in B2B product management.
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From interview to onboarding to success
“When I was interviewing for the role at ServiceNow, I had a prompt for a case preparation. And the prompt was pretty high level. Define a roadmap for this new product area, that that I was going to run on customer success. Now I had a high level brief, I had a write up from the team on what they had learned so far about what customer needs existed, what the competitors were doing. Some early research had been done, as well as getting input from our leadership on what this could look like.
“So pretty high level, it was a space that I wasn’t familiar with: enterprise software. It was a customer base that I wasn’t familiar with. And it was a system that I really, I knew nothing about. I didn’t know what the architecture looked like. I didn’t know what data existed, how it was collected, how it was used, or even really how they measured success. So really kind of high level and, and I had to go for it.
“And so what I did … is talk about what my experience had been within each of the parts of go to market. And the deliverables here, expected outcomes from the conversations and the preparation. But I could address them in voiceover in terms of how I had done it, who I had partnered with, and what the outcomes were.
“I think this helps you see how your b2c background and experience could be translated. And applied to what can be an unknown context of a b2b product, b2b sales, etc.”
On the value of a Customer Advisory Board
“What really helped was having a strong relationship with the account managers. So that they would trust us enough to introduce us to these customers. And the customers over the course of let’s say, two years, which is when we ran it, they became a really helpful conduit. Not only as a group, but for one on one conversations. To say, hey, you know, I heard you had this need for your particular industry. Here’s what we’re thinking about. Can we co-create? Can we work on something together?
“That was a valuable part of getting us to a point where we drove up usage, we drove up satisfaction with the product, and really helped. We could do webinars like this, with some of the customers who were really into what we were doing. And how they had gotten some value out of it.
“The customer advisory board, I had never done it. I probably wouldn’t have done it unless my product marketing friend had suggested it. But I’m glad we did. Because it really helped us understand what real customers needed.”
On following what drives you
“The big takeaways, if you’re moving from b2c to b2b, are these. Think about how you’re going to tell your story when you’re preparing for the interview. Have your stories ready. Have your wins in place. Use prep, practice interviews. Think really carefully about all the parts that are translatable to a b2c and b2b context. And what the elements are for that product that you’re building.
“Then when you’re in the role, think differently about it. There are pivots that you may have to make. Lean on the people who are there who have potentially deeper experience with b2b customers b2b products. Don’t be afraid to relearn what you know. But be confident that you’re there, you’re in the right spot, and you have great product experience from b2c that can help you in the b2b context.
“I’ll I just add one more thing. When I hear from people on LinkedIn about, is one better than the other? Should I do this? Do I need a stint in both? I haven’t had such an organized or structured career path. I like to pursue problems that are interesting, that are with great people that I can learn from and where I can keep growing. And so sometimes there’ll be one or the other. Rather than check off the box, think about what really drives you and where your best strengths can be applied.”