A B2B POV on Product Management

If you’re reading this - you’ve probably considered a product role in a B2B or B2C company. This article unpacks the main differences based on my personal experience and views.

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B2B product managers (PM) have to be good listeners

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Every type of product manager has to be a good listener to be able to prioritize the problems and ideas coming from their stakeholders. As a B2B PM you must use that quality to be able to pick the best ideas. Pushing back on your stakehodler requests can’t happen as often as in a B2C PM role because every customer matters.

Having a small/medium base of customers often means that they will be driving the product vision and priorities. Be prepared for that. It might be exhausting, and you often won’t feel in control of the decisions that are being made.

A B2B PM has to be more attentive to the issues and ideas coming from the head of customer service, business leads or a CEO. Any feature change will impact the day to day of your users, some of them might not be as tollerant as a massive amount of B2C users, as a B2B user is very unique and has a specific problem that your B2B product solves.

Executing every request might create a feature havoc, so try to find the balance by listening closely to your stakeholders and communicate to them any delays and the progress of their demands.

TLDR; As B2B pm you are expected to be more attentive to stakeholder requests as they impact direct company revenue and growth.

Customers > everything else

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Customer feedback is the most common source of product ideas among B2B product managers. As a B2B product owner, you often rely on qualitative feedback and so do your stakeholders.

Your typical day would consist of talking to a customer to gather direct feedback or meeting them in person to observe how they interact with your product. Conducting a webinar for your customers, in accordance with sales or marketing teams, is also a common B2B PM responsibility.

If your company consists of a medium customer base (a couple of thousand users), be ready to prioritize your premium customers’ requests and have to shift your focus on their demands quite often.

You will find yourself building features that cater to a handful of customers, but those customers will probably have the most impact on your company.

TLDR; your day to day will be focused on the customer. The premium customers are leading the business priorities.

Launch Day

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There are very extensive processes to detect any B2C product bugs, user regulations or branding risks before launch. It takes time and patience on the PM side. Many months could pass before your feature is available to real users.

A B2B product launch happens rather quickly. The users you’ve based your new product on, are at your constant availability, you can gather the feedback quicker and hand it over to the development team.

B2B customers are more accommodating to product changes and tend to be cooperative as they (hopefully) depend more and more on your services.

TLDR; use your customers availability and cooperation to quickly gather feedback and launch your B2B product independently from other development teams.

The point of this is not to prove that one option is better than the other, but I hope it provides you insights on what it is like to be a B2B product manager.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.