Intercom on Product: Making the jump from B2C to B2B product management

The worlds of B2B and B2C product management have long been viewed as inherently different. But is this really the case?

This week on the Intercom on Product podcast, Bethany Clark, one of Intercom’s product managers, sits down to discuss this with Bob Wallis, our Senior Product Marketing Manager. Having recently transitioned into B2B product management after several years in the B2C space, Bethany draws from first-hand experience and offers insightful perspectives on the key differences and commonalities between the two domains.

Ultimately, while the core principles of strong product management apply universally, Bethany’s journey highlights how the processes, complexities and cadences between B2B and B2C product work can differ substantially. The product world is always evolving, and finding a way to navigate this divide – as Bethany has – will be key for building exceptional customer experiences.

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

  • Embrace the inherent complexity: While B2C products often have relatively straightforward use cases, B2B products tend to cater to a diverse, multi-layered customer base with varying needs across industries and business models. Navigating this complexity requires careful prioritization and focus.
  • Prioritize the primary use case: With B2B products, it’s common for customers to utilize features in unintended ways. Drilling down to the core problem the product aims to solve for the primary audience is crucial when paths diverge.
  • Let the voice of the customer guide you: Qualitative customer feedback proves invaluable in the B2B world. Proactively fostering relationships enables continuous insights that inform validation, iteration, and delivery of meaningful outcomes.
  • Think big, start small, learn fast: While this principle transcends B2B and B2C, learning methods differ. For B2B products, low-fi prototypes, customer panels and beta testing can yield profound insights from a relatively small sample.
  • Embrace an open culture of shipping: B2B customers tend to have more patience for iterative product delivery, compared to consumers who often push for instant gratification. This affords opportunities to ship quickly, gather feedback, and evolve.

If you enjoy our discussion, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or grab the RSS feed in your player of choice.