What role makes for the easiest transition into product management?

The easiest transition into product management is from the pre-sales role. Why? You’re already doing 80% of the job. It just happens to be around existing products and features instead of new ones.

Transition into Product Management – 5 Factors Coming From Pre-Sales

  1. In a pre-sales role, you’re gathering business requirements from prospects in the exact same manner as you would from customers in a product management role. The difference is you have to satisfy those requirements with existing products/features instead of new ones.
  2. In a pre-sales role, you have to be proficient at using those business requirements to sell outcomes (solutions that can be quantified) so that buyers see the value and ROI. In a product management role, you have to create a business case that shows the value to the customer as well as your organization.
  3. In a pre-sales role, you need to be well-equipped with customer stories and real-world use cases that support the value of what you’re selling. In a product management role, you need those same stories and use cases to sell your plans internally, and you’ll have a whole lot of them from your time in pre-sales.
  4. In a pre-sales role, you have to be credible with customers when talking about situations where the product is going to improve their business. Ditto for the product management role. The difference in a product management role is that you’re selling to an internal audience as well as external, and your time in pre-sales and all of the situations and use cases you’ve dealt with are your best asset.
  5. The art of persuasion is paramount to your success in a pre-sales role, your ability to get buyers energized about your solutions! That same persuasion is paramount to your success in a PM role when it comes to your constituents in development, marketing, sales, the executive team and customers.

The second easiest transition into product management is from the client services role. Why is this role second?

Granted, you get more exposure to HOW customers do things at a more granular level which is invaluable in a product manager role, but this role doesn’t get the high number of repetitions like the pre-sales role in terms of client interactions. That makes it harder to identify business/market trends at a macro level, something that’s paramount to success in product management.

Regardless of which role you’re coming from, the transition into product management requires you to focus first and foremost on the success of the customer.

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