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Types of Product Managers – Internal, B2B, Consumer

Product Manager Types

Though there are different types of product managers in the world of software development and technology, we identify 3 broad categories of product managers, They are 1) Internal product managers, 2) Business to Business product managers, sometimes called SASS product managers, and 3) Consumer product managers

The primary difference between these 3 types of Product Managers is their stakeholders. 

Stakeholders are people who you are building the product for or who have input into what you are building. So, some examples of stakeholders are executives that rely on what you’re building to be good. Lawyers at your company that need to be sure what you’re building won’t get the company in legal trouble, etc.

Marketing is also a stakeholder because they need to know what you’re building and they want to have some input because they have to market good stuff.

Internal Product Manager

These product managers are sometimes part of a team called internal tools or something like that. They and their teams usually build tools for other people in their company or organization. They build these tools for use internally as opposed to building for some general user or customer out in the public.

The stakeholder is someone internal to the organization that is building the product. A really good example of an internal product manager is one that works with his team to build a piece of software, for example, his company’s portal where employees can update their upcoming leave details or his company’s website where employees can attend courses.

Business 2 Business or B2B Product Manager

A B2B Product Manager works at a company, which builds products for other companies.

For example, Product Managers in companies like Oracle or Salesforce. The clients of these companies are some other companies, and B2B Product Managers work to solve the problems of these client companies.

Stakeholders or the people that B2B product managers work with their team to build solutions are the client companies.

B2B product managers have to interact a lot with the sales people at their own company and need to make sure what they build meets the business requirements of the businesses that they’re selling to. If you’re a B2B product manager, you’re going to be talking a lot to sales teams.

Consumer Product Manager

A consumer product manager tends to work on products, where the final user of the developed product is an average consumer or the general public.

Examples of companies where a lot of consumer product managers work are, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

The consumer product management role takes a wide range of skills to be successful and as well a lot of vision and creativity. In their consumer role, product managers are trying to maximize usage or some other metric. No one is there to tell them that item X is the best thing to do next.

That contrasts to the business to business product manager, for example, because the salespeople are saying “Hey, we’re going to make $5 million if we build this feature.”  On the consumer product manager side, no one can really predict exactly what is the thing that is to be built for sure.

So the consumer PMs spend a lot of time talking to those users, coming up with multiple different prototypes, user testing, and just analyzing tons of data.

Though there are other types of PMs out there, these are really the big three you’ve got to be familiar with.


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