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2 November 2020 – 6 November 2020


2 November 2020Monday
15 tweets

Hi folks! My name is Ulan Karazhigitov and this week I will be sharing my thoughts and experience for PMMs. I was doing Product marketing at @Microsoft last 4 years in multi country region (24 countries, Central and Eastern Europe). I am currently based in Almaty, Kazakhstan.


Plan for the week:
Day 1. How to get job offer from Microsoft. Hiring process.


5. Why Change management is the crucial part of adoption of your product or service.


Here is my linkedin profile -


Let's start. Hiring process at Microsoft (MS).
There are thousands of applicants sending their CVs to MS' recruiters for each opened role, which resulting in MILLIONS of CV every year.


CEO Satya Nadella once said: "I was lucky to join Microsoft in 90s, because I am not confident that with nowadays tough competition in labor market I could pass even the screening phase"


Generally, there are 3 options:


1. Career site. Imagine you are recruiter and you have 1K+ cv landed into system and you have only 7 days to pick the first list. AND you always have several roles opened simultaneously. Even with the help of AI algorithm it's impossible to go thru each application.


So, recruiters will only see internal candidates or ex MS (alumni) and people with more or less similar experience from other well known competitors and organizations. Career site is literally a lottery with the very small chance to land you even 1st round of interviews.


2. Fresh grad/MBA. That was my option 4 years ago. I was doing Full Time MBA from @DukeFuqua at Nazarbayev University and HRs from Microsoft picked our cohort. There is special program called MACH (ms academic college hires) now being renamed to ASPIRE. I applied and won :)


3. Referral. This one may get you directly to hiring manager, skipping recruiter. Formally, you still will follow formal process, but it will take far less time period. Moreover, if you will be hired, then your referral will get nice cash bonus for successful recommendation.


Overall recruiting process takes from 3 weeks to several month. For me it was 2 last month of MBA program.


Given the amount of applicants you have to be ready and do a homework to successfully pass the round. Read, get in touch with insiders, be aware of essential points of the role. Be prepared. You may get situational case-like question. i.e launch of new product etc.


If it's role for specific region (CIS, russian speaking countries in my case) than you also should be aware of local market situation, key competitors, some penetration and adoption rates per countries.


That's it for today. Don't hesitate to post you reactions and questions :) Have a nice day. Stay tuned!

3 November 2020Tuesday
14 tweets

Happy 2nd Day! Roles and responsibilities within the Marketing team (at Microsoft subsidiary). It differs form market to market, so I'll share experience from Central and Eastern region, ok?


PMMs are part of Product Business group (BG) - Cloud BG Lead responsible for Azure products, Modern Workplace - for Windows, Office365 and Security. BG Lead - manager for PMMs. Marketing director - manager of BG Leads.


Product marketers may vary in customer segments -enterprise, smb, corporate,
industries - banking, retail, oil & gas, mining etc
products - productivity, security, Data and AI etc.
Hence, there are different expectations from the PMM.


Sometimes experience in given segment or industry is more relevant than product knowledge per se. Especially in highly regulated sectors like Finance or Public sector.


BGs and PMMs partly responsible for both - revenue/sales and product adoption and usage. This unit is developing product strategy in given market. Key collaborators are MarComs (marketing communication managers) and Sales unit. Marcoms are execution power.


As we discovered org structure a bit, let's move to PMM role. PMM is at heart of product, market, developers and clients.


Product feedback to core engineering team. PMMs are customer facing role. We know customer feedback from the day 1 and if it significant enough we are delivering customer's needs and pain points to developers. As an example, look at MS Teams during pandemic period.


A lot of educators and K12 orgs switched to distance learning mode, but Edu as the segment wasn't core audience for Teams. But given high importance of the continuation of edu proccess, MS reprioritized roadmap to edu users and now there are a lot of pure edu functionality.


vast majority of feedback came from PMMs, because PMMs were first to react and deliver workshops to edu orgs. Our main goal is always deliver value to customer, therefore we listen carefully to their experiences.


Market. Sometimes there are market blockers and other obstacles i.e regulations and industry legislation. In such cases PMMs may drive either clear explanation of use cases from govt entities or policy changes, working closely with consultants and experts.


Here is example from my experience... oh stop. I am under NDA. Let's skip it 🤣


One of the core area for PMM - to extract value from product to customer. We are segmenting customers, roles (HR, CFO, C-level, BDMs, etc). Next step is to develop go to market strategy via various channels and activities. After budgets are set and potential return estimated...


... PMM starts to work with sales team to pick right stakeholders on customer side to deliver appropriate message and MarComs to execute the motion.


Day 2 is finished. Happy to answer to your questions!

4 November 2020Wednesday
15 tweets

Hello! Day 3. Success criteria and and KPIs.


Microsoft uses mix of CBI and RBI incentives. CBI stands for "Commitment based incentives" and RBI - revenue based incentives.


CBI is subject of the initial discussion with direct manager. It may affect any business related objectives except sales targets. i.e adoption of specific sophisticated workload or newly introduced feature.


CBI is always related to emerging products and services. When product becomes more popular and started to grow organically PMMs are no longer put their efforts and investments to any Go-to-market or other activities.


CBI is also called Scorecard metrics and may include penetration of the product, usage of particular feature (Teams meeting appointments in Enterprise segment for example).


RBI. PMMs co-responsible for overall sales level of covered product group. Not pure sales, but right product with correct split of users to appropriate customer segment. There is always trade-off between sales team who wants to sell more and PMM whose goal to sell RIGHT.


In the end, PMM is co-owning the product from sales perspective, helping sales team in every possible way to showcase value to the customer's stakeholders.


In SaaS economy there is no long term sense to sell product which customer don't want and don't know how to use. In return, you'll never get renewal of subscription for the next period. Increase of LTV (lifetime value) is the key criteria of PMM success.


@pmmunderhood Could you please share more about the interview process? What do they ask?General questions about your experience? Or do they have some tricky cases to solve? Also, do they give a test assignment?

Well, as I was in interview role once, I can share smth here :) For each role interviewer has set of skills s/he needs to check and verify. HR IT platform provides list of questions which can help you determine whether candidate good enough or not yet.…


for PMMs besides general HR questions there might be smth like a case - launching new product in given circumstances. Candidate has to prove ability either to be a good executor or strategic thinker. Ideally - both.


No assignments in general, but it's a good sign if candidate prepared summary for key areas (market analysis, competitors overview etc) depending on the role.


@pmmunderhood Do those PMMs communicate with the product team at all?

Sure. There is regular sync ups between core corp product team and field subsidiaries. Subs know full roadmap T+12m (for 1 year ahead). Part of the roadmap under NDA and might be shared with top customers only, so they can plan changes accordingly and in timely fashion manner.…


Customers themselves may submit request for new functionality or give feedback to the product team. PMM can reinforce this message and uplift priority for particular ask.


@pmmunderhood And what about those PMMs who don’t have “an access” to their products? I wonder how they can influence LTV

One size doesn't fits all. There is no silver bullet to satisfy each of customer request. If PMM/company can't increase LTV with specific client, then maybe it's not your best customer. Totally OK to put your efforts to the most impactful area and not to waste time with others.…


Have a nice day ahead! Looking forward for a new topic tomorrow.

5 November 2020Thursday
6 tweets

hi! Day 4 dedicated to exit opportunities and career development for Product marketing managers.


At Microsoft PMMs are working pretty closely with:

  1. sales team
  2. Product
  3. Partner ecosystem
  4. BDMs, IT Pros and C-suite from customer side

Each area fits well into PMM's career development plan.


When your employer is International or even global company it is easier to find a new career opportunity in new geography. Relocation within your current role is 2nd option.


3rd option is to get a raise and promotion. PMM may become Business group leader expanding geo coverage.


and 4th one is to do the same work, but with other product. We call it horizontal move.


The role of PMM requires deep knowledge in marketing, business acumen, excellent communication and overall soft skills. Adding here maturity and experience in different industries makes PMM desirable candidate on a workforce market. Good luck and break a leg in your endeavors .

6 November 2020Friday
13 tweets

@pmmunderhood What about deep knowledge of product field? Was it required at Microsoft?

It's definitely a big PLUS for candidate, but if outsider joins a team with overall suitable work experience then it's just a matter of ability to learn new thing fast.…


Last day dedicated to most important topic for product marketing managers which often underestimated - Change management.


All in all end goal of product driven company is to make their service available for as many customers as possible. In enterprise marketing and sales you may sell you product to a company with 5K users, but if no one is using already purchased product, then you are in trouble.


It's never not enough to just sell your product. You need to supervise technical deployment, then adoption and penetration of entire user base. First part is pure tech issue, second - fully related to people's side of changing old hobbits to use new product.


Managing the change - key task of every digital transformation. Change of any org is the summary of change of each individual in that org. Therefore, PMM (the one, who's responsible for growing of user base) have to consider ways how to onboard new users.


In terms of Change management Microsoft is partnering with Prosci and uses their ADKAR model. More details here -…


Microsoft is covering certification fee for selected employees. And I think this is one of the best thing you can learn as PMM.


The more users using your product in Enterprise grade company, the more chances for your company to up- , cross sell and renew subscription. All of it will increase LTV. Increased LTV directly affects unit economics.


Do not forget that for Enterprise org switching cost to new software is not cheap. Thus, happy users will create network externality effect making swathing cost higher with every new onboarded user.


Visa versa, if nobody were using your product it would be much easier to replace your service. Change management plays key role of real adoption from end users.


Excellent seller works with limited amount of stakeholders. Successful deal doesn't mean next successful payment. On the other hand, Change management affecting entire user base and may guarantee you happy future with given customer.


Conclusion: faster onboarding with Change management tactics plays greater role than initial sale because it increases chances to make many more repetitive sales for a longer period of time.


With that I am saying Bye bye to all followers of this week. Hope you found some of the tweets useful :)