The transition from Key Account Manager to Product Manager. How to transition into product management?


Vivek is our Alumni, and moving forward he shares his remarkable journey from an electronics engineering background then working as a Key Account Manager, and finally making the shift to becoming a successful product manager in Tektronix. Through his experiences and those of fellow professionals, we explore the challenges and considerations of transitioning from sales to product management. Discover valuable insights from the HelloPM course, the importance of effective communication, stakeholder management, customer prioritization, and debunking misconceptions.

We hosted Vivek Raghunathan as our Alumni of The Week, and he shared amazing insights on how he was able to transition from a sales role to a product management role

The journey from Key Account Manager to Product Management

He shares his transition from an electronics engineering background to his current role as a product manager at Tektronix. He gained valuable experience coming from a customer-facing end, which helped him understand customer problems and the functions that could offer solutions. His interest in product management was sparked during his time, working as Key Account Manager.

The transition from Sales to Product Management

Vivek discusses his journey from sales to becoming a product manager. He started in account management, honing his skills in managing partners and negotiations. Wanting to have a more direct impact on products, he transitioned to product management. However, he faced challenges in finding the right job interviews due to the various types of product management roles available. To gain more experience, he took side internships before pursuing a traditional product management role in a SaaS company.

Transition Considerations and HelloPM

Vivek explores the options and considerations in transitioning from sales to product management. With domain knowledge and familiarity with customer problems, he felt confident shifting within the same domain. He received an offer for a startup product management role after interviews and also considered an MBA, but ultimately realized it might not be the best path for a role transition. His research led him to discover HelloPM as a valuable resource.

Initial Work and Adaptation in Product Management

He highlights the initial work required for successful product management and the importance of collaboration. Despite the initial intimidation, coming from a non-technical background is manageable with proper preparation, effective communication, and taking ownership. Each company’s product management style should be approached differently, considering specific requirements and perspectives on product management tasks.

Communication and Stakeholder Management

The importance of communication and stakeholder management in product management is emphasized. Understanding and articulating stakeholders’ needs, including customers, managers, and salespeople, is crucial for alignment. Empathy and considering the listener’s perspective are key. He mentions conflicts that arise between technical teams and product managers while highlighting the realistic challenges in product management.

Customer Prioritization and Interview Experience

Two key aspects of product management are discussed: customer prioritization and the interview experience. Collaborating with the sales team and understanding revenue-generating features are vital for prioritization. Frameworks like WSJF help in making informed decisions. Interviews for product managers vary, focusing on problem-solving scenarios and assessing candidates’ communication and thinking skills.

Overcoming Misconceptions of Product Managers

He also debunks the misconception of product managers as mini-CEOs, emphasizing the importance of alignment with sales and stakeholders. he suggests understanding role expectations, focusing on tasks that contribute to future growth, and taking up side projects for additional experience. Being proactive, getting hands dirty, and seeking opportunities to gain practical knowledge are advised for aspiring product managers.

We hope that Vivek’s journey gave you a sneak peek into how even from an account manager role you can kickstart your journey as a product manager. All you need is a structured approach and a community that can help

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