All related (36)
Dana Barrett
Former Head of Product Marketing, AsanaOctober 15

I look for a couple of things: 

  1. Can they proactively identify and solve problems?
  2. Are they coachable? Do they have a growth mindset? 
  3. Are they able to drive cross functional alignment, with peers and senior stakeholders?
  4. Are they acting as a mentor and coach to others on the team and/or cross functional partners that have less experience or are struggling?

When ICs demonstrate the skills above, I will often put them on the bigger and more strategic projects, or ask them to run a whole program (e.g., sales enablement). As their remit grows, there is typically a point at which either a manager role opens up (and I encourage them to apply), or their program becomes so big that I give them some direct reports to ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth to complete the work.

Madeline Ng
Head of Marketing, Google Maps Platform, GoogleMay 11

My first question would be to determine if this person would thrive as a people manager. Often in product marketing, the trajectory up is through individual contributor to people manager, but it's not necessarily the best path for everyone.  

Good reasons to want to be a people manager: 

  • You like helping people grow in their career, and you've shown that through mentoring others (even when it wasn't your job)
  • You have shown that you are a "giver" and not a "taker" in the larger organization
  • You are comfortable as a player and a coach and focus on having your team succeed vs. your own success

Bad reasons to want to be a people manager:

  • You feel like it's required to move up to a level in your role / job ladder
  • You want to push your grunt work onto someone else (surprise! there's grunt work at all levels of an organization)
  • You feel like you deserve it from being an excellent individual contributor

If I think an individual will bet set up for success as a people manager I normally start by having the person lead a more junior member of the team, or lead a complex project that would require them to give feedback to others and also to teach. It's a good proving ground to see if people management is a fit and then paves the way for full advancement to people management.

Mike Berger
VP, Product Marketing, ClickUp | Formerly Momentive, Gainsight, MarketoNovember 11

I look for a combination of:

  1. Impact - have they played a significant role in driving positive business outcomes for the company
  2. Skills - have they achieved a level of mastery necessary to successfully coach others
  3. Leadership - have they recognized and elevated those around them, not just focused on themselves
  4. Collaboration - do I hear positive feedback from others across the compnay who have interacted with them

All weighted equally to me, and all super important.

Lindsay Bayuk
CMO, PluralsightOctober 27

I look to see if that person is already leading teams. A great product marketer already leads through influence. They will already lead cross-functional teams through launches or campaigns and they will already lead their team through challenges. I always look to promote someone who's already doing the work without being asked and without having the title. 

Christiana Rattazzi
VP, Industry & Solutions Marketing, OktaNovember 1

I touch on this a little in another question. That said, a Manager should have a solid grasp of major PMM skills alongside leadership abilities. Some attributes I look for are:

  • Evangelism - whether promoting core value proposition or the work of the PMM team, this person should be skilled in championing the interests of customers, the market and the team. Their opinion and perspective should be influential.
  • Diplomacy - PMM is so cross-functional (and often, the starting point for important projects) that a Lead should be able to work through stated and unstated priorities across the organization with understanding, grace and... ruthless priortization.
  • Empathy - any great product marketer will be able to listen to the market, the prospect's business problems and understand how the company relates to it. Bonus points goes to the Lead who can move beyond what you're hearing now to where it'll go in the future.
Julien Sauvage
VP, Corporate and Product Marketing, ClariDecember 6

The ultimate test is: are you passionate about helping people grow?

If not, and that's ok, then people management might not be for you.

People learn and grow with new experiences. I like to nurture learning for people looking for experiences & stretch goals, with tactics like: yearly rotation, having a major/ minor project (90/10), or doiong monthly lunch n learn within the team.

Another big one for me is empathy. I know a lot has been said and written about that - it's true. If you can't put yourself in your directs' shoes, it will be harder 👟

Finally, I'd say... planning. It's best way to be strategic and impactful while making everyone in the company aware of what’s coming up and the associated success metrics. 

Leandro Margulis
Head of Product Marketing, ProveSeptember 7

For any promotion, I look for the person to already be performing at the next level, and have an interest in doing so. Not everyone wants to be a people manager. That said, if they do and they are already managing contractors, agencies, and other people are working with them from other departments, we can put a plan together to make this happen and provide any additional coaching if needed to support the person's success.