Our Senior Product Recruiter, Priya Golani, has completed many complex searches for Senior Product Management talent. She shares her insights on what makes a great Product Manager of cloud computing solutions.
1. A Technical Foundation
The top Product Managers who work for elite cloud computing and cloud networking companies often begin their careers following a STEM degree and working in a technical or engineering role.
Through those early experiences, those who have an aptitude or interest in business often moved into market-facing roles. Presales engineering or solutions engineering is the standard next step for many because employers see the immediate value of these candidates’ engineering credibility as the sales cycles moves.
We have also seen an increase in the number of Engineers moving into product marketing roles. The supply & demand challenges of product marketing talent have compounded this making it a popular next career step.
Whatever the career journey, a senior-level product management position is often the chosen career aspiration. Having a technical foundation/background, especially for such complex products and services, is one of the traits that can make a Product Manager stand out.
2. Great Communication Skills
"They talked in a way I could understand what they were saying!" is often how we describe a candidate who stands out. While that may sound easy, it's anything but.
The junior Product Manager touts jargon, acronyms, and technical knowledge oblivious to their audience. On the other hand, a stand-out PM can engage with the customers, partners, analysts, and internal stakeholders and later join a scrum meeting or huddle with their technology counterparts. In all of those cases, they speak the same 'language' as their audience.
3. Pricing & Packaging & Positioning
This is a tricky one. In full transparency, not all Product Managers own pricing, packaging, or positioning. However, we are pointing out the traits of the top Product Managers and those in the top 2% of the cloud computing tech industry - those top 2% have experience in PPP as part of their role. The specificity of this experience makes one Product Manager candidate stand out over another.
When we refer to our work recruiting top Product Management talent for cloud computing tech companies, we recognize that this community is among the highest-paid product talent in the tech industry.
Whether the talent is in PaaS, cybersecurity, ZTNA, virtualization, or cloud storage, this top talent earns a base salary (before bonuses and stock or equity) higher than candidates in any other product category.
These specialized Product Managers we recruit and represent are aware of this fact. Many discuss compensation like this: "I am acutely aware my comp is outside the range for most companies, but..." They are aware there is little or no upward movement on base salary at a certain salary level.
This is why from our experience, these top Product Managers look at making career moves opportunistically and these are the top factors driving their decisions:
- What is the problem I would be hired to solve?
- How does this add new experiences to my skill set/toolbox?
- Am I personally challenged and excited to solve this problem?
- Is it a "first of" solution?
- Who is the CEO and leadership of the company I would be partnering with?
- What is the prospect of an exit/liquidity event if I join this startup?
Understanding the opportunistic nature of top Product Managers helps employers better position themselves to recruit this top talent.
While an MBA is not a prerequisite for many product management opportunities, we are highlighting the common traits of the world's top Product Managers in cloud computing tech companies. The leading candidates we represent all have an MBA and a STEM degree.
To help support the education of the next generation of top product leaders, there are an increasing number of universities that have begun to offer degree programs in product management:
- Queen’s PLS
- Stanford CPO program
- NorthWestern / Kellogg School of Business Degrees:
While many good Product Managers don’t possess all five of these traits, we can definitively say that when it comes to the top 2% of product talent within the cloud computing/cloud network category, they all do.
If you’re struggling to hire top Product Managers with cloud computing or networking experience, reach out and book a consultation with us today!