Accelerating Your Career As A Product Manager
- by Elay Cohen
- February 5, 2017
- Sales Skills
My first job in San Francisco was a Product Manager role, moving to Silicon Valley from Toronto in 1999. I always loved building things. I took the job because I thought it would be a great way to learn from the best about technology, marketing, and Silicon Valley.
The first product we built was the Partner Portal at Allegis Corporation in the emerging Partner Relationship Management category. I knew the space from my early work experience after completing an MBA. Dennis Ryan was the CEO. My boss and mentor was Mark Morrissey, who was the VP Products. Dennis taught me how to think about new market categories. Mark taught how to be a great product manager by serving sales and working with customers to define features that solved real business problems. Both taught me so much during those years.
My product management career accelerated exponentially at Salesforce in 2005. Under Woodson Martin and George Hu, I lead an amazing team that created the next generation Partner Portal. As the Senior Director Product Management, I was responsible for defining the product, working with development to build it, working with marketing to position it, training sales to confidently position it, and then working arm-in-arm with sales teams to close deals. After eighteen months of hard work, at an all employee meeting, Marc Benioff called me up on stage to recognize us for the great work we did launching Partnerforce. The product was hugely successful and had a material impact on shareholder and stock price. I was then promoted to Vice President.
The Salesforce Partner Portal that we pioneered and built was recognized in 2016 by Forrester as the guerrilla in its space. Congratulations.
Our hard work and passion for building great products sellers love to sell took me to my next phase of my career. Frank Van Veenendaal the President at Salesforce saw how effectively we collaborated with sales to train, onboard, and execute selling Partnerforce. He and Brett Queener asked me to be the Global Vice President, Sales Productivity for all revenue teams. And then, we embarked on the journey to define a new emerging category called Sales Productivity. We achieved great results. We set the standard for sales enablement excellence. You can read all about it in my book.
In 2013, with my co-founder Arthur Do, we founded a SaaS technology company called SalesHood to help companies accelerate top line revenue growth using technology to improve sales team collaboration and best practice sharing.
From Toronto to San Francisco and from product manager to CEO, I was fortunate to have great mentors guiding me along the way.
Being a product manager accelerated my career, quickly learning how important a great product manager is to everyone in a company, all the way up to the CEO.
How does this career path and trajectory sound to you?
Here are four indicators you know you’ve made it as great product manager.
The time is now for us to hire a Product Manager at SalesHood. We’d like to find someone with a similar profile to me back in 1999. We will mentor you to help you achieve your full career potential and life dreams.
I couldn’t have done it without my mentors.
Here’s a short questionnaire to think about to see if you’re ready for a product management role at SalesHood:
If you answer “very” to all of these questions and you want to join our game-changing startup, reach out.
I look forward to helping our next generation of Product Managers live the dream.
Here is a link to our job. Please spread the word.
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