Explore a Career in Offering Management in Tech - Discussion with Alex Bentley, Product Management Leader and Coach @IBM

Alex Bentley, Product Management Leader and Coach at IBM, describes the role of an Offering Manager at IBM (IBM has renamed Product Management to Offering Management).

Alex has over 10 years of experience working as a Product Manager. He also leads the Associate Offering Manager program at IBM.

Note: If you already have product manager interviews lined up, don't forget to check out our Interview guide for PM interviews in Tech, our Question bank for behavioral questions, and our Question bank for Product Design questions​, to help you prep for your interviews!

Check out the podcast below to listen to the complete discussion! 

 

Some of the areas we touch upon in this episode include:


1. How Offering Management is very similar to Product Management
2. Why IBM renamed Product Management to Offering Management - To emphasize the focus on building a business, as opposed to a product only
3. Difference between Offering Management at IBM and Product Management in some companies and Project Management
4. Examples of projects an Offering Manager might work on
5. How an Offering Manager/Product Manager needs to think like the CEO of the business
6. Examples of metrics that a Product/Offering Manager is evaluated on and how they vary with where the product is in its lifecycle
7. How Product/Offering Managers need to understand incentives of various stakeholders they work with - their customers, as well as internal stakeholders
8. Ability to say No and prioritize is critical
9. How Product/Offering Managers need to be able to context switch a lot. Alex blocks his calendar on Fridays to have some focused time for work.
10. Advice for candidates interested in breaking into Product Management
11. Tons of helpful resources for interested candidates
12. Translate your work into measurable business impact when applying + what you did
13. Alex interviews a lot - common reasons why he rejects applicants for Product/Offering Management roles
14. Skills needed to do well in this job

Interview transcript with timestamps:

 

Alex Bentley   02:31

Hey, Sonali good afternoon, and I learned two things during the conversation there. One is that 10 years is a long time and second, that my job is to convince people that product and offering management is the place to be so it should be pretty easy :)

 

LED   02:46

But 10 years is a long time, don't you think?

 

Alex Bentley   02:49

I do. Yeah. You know, especially in tech, right, the way that technology changes so rapidly, things that were being utilized 10 years ago, we don't even talk about anymore and so definitely, it's one of the things that's exciting about, offering management and product management is you've got to be aware of those changes, both within your own product lines, but also within your career, and making sure that, you're appropriately shifting and changing roles based on the way the way technology is changing.

 

LED   03:22

Right. Yeah, and actually, that's a great point and I would love to talk about this later in the conversation about how have you yourself have changed, adapted to the role and changed things as you've seen changes in the industry. But before we dive into the role, could you give us a very quick summary about your background? and what has led you into doing offering management at IBM?

 

Alex Bentley   03:42

Yeah, I got started pretty early in my career looking at product management, offering management. So, I have a chemical engineering degree from Purdue University, which I have never used in a full-time job. I moved immediately out into the tech software world, right around the first.com era, in the early 2000s. It was because I wanted to get into a role that was more dynamic, more rapidly changing, which is why I went into tech and after spending a few years in technical consulting and technical pre-sales, I pivoted into product management at a few different startups here in Austin, Texas, where I'm based. 

And for me, it was shifting into a role where I was able to drive a product and at the time, my enthusiasm was really focused on the creation of something and so I worked at a small 20 person VC funded startup that was focused on the automotive industry. 

Unfortunately, the automotive industry was crashing about the time I was in that company. So, I have my failed startup experience on my resume, which is always good! But then I pivoted through a couple of other startups until actually, one got acquired by IBM and so that was a nice exit, so to speak. So, I've got a successful one in my background as well.

I've been at IBM now for about seven years, and worked in a variety of product lines, leadership roles, leading some of our open-source technologies, and some of our analytics technologies as well. My current position is kind of unusual from a product management perspective or offering management, in that I'm the head of the associate offering and management program at IBM where we're actually bringing in early career professionals, both undergrads and MBAs into the offering management discipline. So, it's a brief cycle for my career.

 

LED   05:58

So, it sounds like you got into product management, because you were attracted to the idea of creating your own product and driving that creation process and it seems that you've sort of stuck to that function pretty much throughout your career. So, my next question for you then is about offering management. You joined IBM as a product manager, now you're doing offering management - Is it just renamed? What is offering management at IBM?

 

Alex Bentley   06:26

That's right and, IBM has a great habit of renaming things, and rebranding things and it happened for two reasons at IBM - historically at IBM, the product management role  was mostly a little more than project management and that you were really focused only on the releasing of the product, that came from its Heritage Hardware background. But in addition, it was also more nominally focused on the product creation process, building something that you wanted to put in the hands of users that they were really excited about and what we realized that IBM is, about more than that. It needs to be about actually building a business and I think that's one of the big transformations that product management in the tech industry is starting to go through, which is folks in the product management slash offering management roles are really looked at people that are creating businesses versus folks that are just creating experiences for the users of that product and that's why we made that pivot at IBM, because we wanted to reinforce the concept of owning, or thinking like the general manager of the business of your product.

 

LED   07:37

So, can you maybe share an example of something that a product manager might do, or an offering manager might do? But a project manager might not?

 

Alex Bentley   07:50

Yeah, and you're exactly right, the definition of an offering manager, and IBM is reasonably consistent with the definition of a product manager outside of IBM project managers focus more on, are the trains running on time, right, they would often sit in product development meetings, and get status from sales or development, or quality or the documentation team and say, we originally had the schedule in place three months ago, are we on track to release this product on time? Whereas, in another step up from a product manager who's focused only on the product experience, and the creation process would be saying, well, who are the users that I have? What are the experiences or capabilities that they need to be successful in this experience? So, one example for me was I worked for a company got acquired, Initiate was the name of the company and made a product called Initiate inspector that was focused on data stewards within the healthcare space. So, if you walk into a hospital to get treatment, your record that you give them your information when you register, so in my case, it might be Alex Bentley at Georgia Oaks Drive in Austin, Texas, 70739.

 

But then I go for a follow up to a different location and maybe I give them that time, my name is Alexander and maybe the person who's typing in my information types in my Social Security number wrong. Right now, suddenly, my ability to link those records together becomes a problem within that hospital network and you can multiply that by 10 and multiply that when you walk into a bank or into really any business and so, we had a technology that was focused on allowing those particular records to be linked together. 

So a product manager probably would be focused on that experience, right? Whereas when we expanded the definition to offering manager, again, just IBM's words for the concept, I'm also focused around, what is the probability that there's a business there? How many data stewards are there in the world? WHat kind of fees can we charge? How many sales guys do I need? Or gals? Do I need to go sell it, right? What's the broader go to market strategy that I have in place? So, thinking through all those things, are kind of the layering of roles between, you know, a project manager who makes sure that things are released on time, the product owner or manager who's focused on a particular user experience, versus, offering manager or, broad product manager that's focused on the business and ensuring that there's a profit and loss that is appropriate at the end.

 

LED   11:55

Can you share examples of companies where you think product management is following this sort of broader description of being a business owner?  

Alex Bentley   12:10

Yeah, there's a couple different kind of perspectives on that, I think, a lot of hardware companies follow this concept with the concept of a Product Line Manager, they're looking at the P&L of an overall product. For example, when I was working with automotive suppliers, in the startup I mentioned, they had individuals, their task was to respond to requests for a new engine and as part of responding to that, they might have to decide whether they're going to manufacture components of that engine in their existing plant in South Korea, or build another one in the US to meet the demand over the next five years and so there's a significant amount of analysis that goes into those kind of profit and loss questions around the business and sourcing as well. So, that's kind of, a different scenario outside of tech, I think the reason that tech historically didn't have as broad of a perspective on this role, is because it's pretty easy to create software, I don't need to build a $20 million plant, to go build it as need maybe five engineers or maybe 20, or 100, on a very large product. You know, I think the other thing I've seen is a lot of companies that are very large, we have product managers that are offering managers that are working on individual components. You think about Spotify, where there’s one product essentially, but they have a whole big component of teams that are focused on a small piece of it. So, most of the places that I see this kind of offering model in place are actually smaller companies that are startups, because the product managers have to think through a lot more of the broader business. I see a little bit less of that in large organizations, because there are so many people that are engaged in the process.

 

LED   15:55

So, can you share examples of the kind of projects that an offering manager would work on? 

 

Alex Bentley   16:08

Yeah, there's a couple different ones that come to mind. So, as part of the associate offer management program that I run, we actually bring in projects directly into our training program and so our associate offering managers go through about six weeks of training on IBM's product portfolios, processes around offering management, and, and then are given a project to work on for that period that really drives that particular product forward. So, a couple of them come to mind. One is, we had a couple of our associate offering managers work on a problem related to our storage portfolio and here, they were looking at the broader market of our storage portfolio related to the healthcare genomics market and as that market continues to grow and change, it's generating reams and reams of additional data that now need to be managed as part of the overall analytics processes for the doctors and data scientists that are looking at information from their tests and hypothesis and so these folks did a top down analysis and did a bottoms up analysis around what that market looks like, what our go to market strategy should be, what the pricing and model could potentially look like, as part of trying to capture that market and that's a big piece of what we see our fund managers focusing on, which is doing that upfront market analysis that and parts of that go to market strategy.

 

LED   17:52

And then are they also involved in the execution in the actual building of the product?

 

Alex Bentley   18:01

Exactly. Right. So, another example on that front, is there's a product manager who's come through the program, who's essentially driving a backlog within our cloud infrastructure portfolio and so one of the things we're working on within that portfolio is around how we're selling our compute capabilities to the broader market and so that individuals working on day to day scrums and a backlog with engineering to help understand to translate what users wants in that in that technology and then that offering into what engineering to actually build and we have some folks who kind of run across both of those areas and so one of the other folks who come to the program is now a couple of them actually are focused on Watson conversations and in that role, they actually have a foot in both those camps, some of the things they're doing are related to go to market activities around how we message Watson conversations out to a broader audience and then a part of its down in the details of engineering.

 

LED   19:09

So, based on what you've described, these are very different activities. Is one person responsible for doing all of this, or are they working a lot with other teams? So, for example, in other companies, you might find a product manager teaming up with a product marketing manager to figure out that, okay, this is what the messaging is going to be, or you might have a PR person on your team who's figuring out okay, this is how we are going to engage with analysts, in your case, is the offering manager doing it themselves, or how does it work?

 

Alex Bentley   19:44

Yeah, there's definitely collaboration there right to your point. So, when we go and brief analysts from Gartner and Forrester is two examples where there's normally an analyst relations person who's helping, coordinate that message. I think the big thing that I like about offering management is you're engaged in all those activities. You're working with marketing on what the messaging should look like you're working with development on what the product should ultimately be and how we are in schedule, you're hearing from sales, what clients need, from the conversations they had in talking to with sales and clients about where the product is going from a roadmap perspective. So, it definitely takes a village to build a successful product. But as the offering manager, you're definitely at the center of all that and depending upon the specific particular product line, particular point in the release cycle, you may be pulled in one direction or another, based on what is needed at the time.

 

LED   20:48

Got it. Yeah, that makes sense. So, depending on if you're closer to the launch timeframe, then you might be doing a lot of marketing, messaging and sales, sales, how to how to figure it out how to sell it, but if it's the beginning of the lifecycle, you might be doing much more of figuring out what to build. But I think the point that you made in the beginning is a very important one and it's in line, I think, with product management and more mature companies that it's almost like you're the CEO of the product. So, you're the one who's ultimately really thinking about how are we going to make the product successful as a business from beginning to end and a lot of these things might be carried out by someone else in collaboration with you, but sort of the buck stops with you is what you're saying?

 

Alex Bentley   21:29

That's correct, right and if you look at some of the other things that are part of the role, and I use the term think like the CEO of your business, most folks, regardless of your product management role, or size of the company or product line don't have hiring and firing responsibilities across the entire business, which is kind of what a CEO would normally have. But you need to think like one and that may mean you need to think like, why is my digital funnel not converting? Users are coming to my website, but now I've got to go work more closely with marketing. Why are my direct sales reps not closing deals at the dollar amount? That I think they should be averaging 50k per transaction versus 25. Let me go understand what that looks like and so in addition to go to market, or the internal facing scenarios I talked about, there's definitely a business side that's associated with offering management where you're understanding the revenue of the business, and working through what that would those models should look like and there's a huge data side of it, or you're actually analyzing information coming from different sources and I think that's one thing that has changed significantly over the last few years, where previously in offering manager, when we talked about analyzing data, it was mostly P&L data, right and revenue data. Whereas now given how we're able to track the usage of products, and the digital funnels around how users are finding your products, there's things like NPS scores, there's a much greater set of analytic information that is available or should be available if you're doing your threat if you're building a product quickly, then analyze and understand how to improve the product.

 

LED   23:24

Right, that makes sense. So, how is the success of someone in this role measured? Are there certain KPIs that you're held against /  key performance indicators?

 

Alex Bentley   23:34

Yeah, the thing that hasn't changed is revenue is a primary motivator. Right, but the good news is, in most cases this isn't the only one. But other things that are used as part of evaluating product managers / offering managers, one is the amount of client activity you're having - are you getting time in the market? To help understand what users need. What buyers want, and how your product is aligning to both of those things?

 

LED   24:04

When you say revenue, you don’t have quota correct?

 

Alex Bentley   24:09

Correct. Right, normally, at the beginning of each year, and I think this is true of any business, by IBM or otherwise, there's a target that the company thinks that you can hit based on your product line and whether you're running a SAS portfolio, or an on-premises portfolio, with different regions, which one it could have dramatically different. Go to market strategies. The first one could be, I don't have a person who's traveling out to client sites to make sales. It's all online. The second one, you might have only direct clients going out. Usually that revenue gets assigned at the beginning of the year and then divided across quarters and your goals and offer manager is to try to help that go to market organization, direct sales and digital sales or business models. If you're engaging with them as well hit the target that you're focused on for your particular product.

 

LED   25:05

That makes sense and if it's not a revenue generating product, then you might have other metrics around usage of the product or something else.

 

Alex Bentley   25:12

Exactly. I think usage is another great example and is true of most of those early offerings. I mentioned that IBM as you might expect, a lot of those big dollar products that have been in market for a while, for example, the one I had that IBM acquired, had a direct revenue growth expectation, year over year, and we were funding the business from a development perspective, and from a sales and marketing perspective to try to drive that revenue. Many of our new products at IBM are treated more like startups where you're focused on how many people are coming to the front page of that particular product line. How many folks are actually trying out that product? How many folks are then converting from trials to initial usage? and then how are they growing their usage over the course of the first week / months, they're working on a product? So, the metrics around success can vary based on where the product is in its lifecycle?

 

LED   27:02

So, on a typical day, if I were to run into an offering manager, what would I find the offering manager doing? What kind of problems will I find you're working on?

 

Alex Bentley   27:14

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I like offering management, it's a diverse set of interactions and not surprisingly, like many folks you probably talked to every day is the same. So, a couple of examples, right? What one would be working with engineering, right sitting in a meeting discussing the backlog for a particular product that you're focused on that happened for me when I was running our Hadoop product line and so every week, I sit in with that group, to understand what our backlog looks like, and what the results of the delivery of the work engineering had been doing over the last week. 

Other times, I would say, what did you guys think I said over the last week, or so. So, some of those conversations or where you want to be another scenario with that same product line was briefing analysts. So, I would put together a pitch talking about what our product roadmap looks like, what our strategy was, what our client capture was over the last year or so and kind of pitch to them. Ultimately, where we were headed with the broader product line.

 

LED   28:41

And you know, what's really interesting about this role, I think, is that it requires you to be someone who's very comfortable and very good at thinking very big picture, but also being highly detail oriented. So, you should be able to talk to engineers about some like small details of the product. But then you're also coming up with the overall vision and strategy of the product and I think that that's probably like a rare combination, would you say that?

 

Alex Bentley   29:06

I think that's true. It's both required and rare and it's been a topic of conversation within the product management community for the last few years and the role has stretched in the way that I described earlier. Because it's pretty difficult to find somebody who has enough perspective on engineering from engineers based on either their knowledge of the market and clients or based on their background with technology to be able to confidently tell an engineer I think you're wrong. Here's why. Right? well, I'll also walk up to a senior vice presidents internally at IBM or externally a client because those are often some of the level of folks who briefing given at least the importance of our of IBM's portfolio and say, well, here's where we should be going, and why or, Mr. Client, here's what you should do differently versus you know what you're doing now, I had to do that with a large pharmaceutical drug distributor. When I was running that initiate portfolio, I mentioned where I had a nice back and forth with him about how accurate his ability was to correctly identify his pharmaceutical patients and explaining to him why his current approach wasn't working and the ramifications thereof and I think that's the other piece that is challenging as part of the role because you have to translate the technology and its capabilities into real business impacts and outcome for clients, right?

 

In the case that I mentioned, it wasn't until a couple years after I've been working at this company, that I was talking to my mother, about the fact that we helped identify patients when they came into hospitals correctly and she said, oh, that happened to me. I said, what are you talking about? She said, well, as Alex, my name is Mary Linda Bentley and when I came in for surgery that day, they wrote down and Bentley and my birthdate and then we got back into the prep room. The nurse came in and said oh, Hi, Linda. Do you go by Linda, right? She goes, yes, I do. She goes Oh, but your first name is Mary. Yes, it is. Well, we're here to operate on your left arm today. I said no, you're not. She's like, no, you're Bentley. Right? Yes, and it's your birthday? Yes, and this is your doctor? Yes. So, left arm. So, that's a very striking example. But regardless of what the product is, it has an impact on somebody's lives and the financial health of a particular company. Being able to translate what we're doing is offering managers and our products are helping couples to do into that financial impact. Business Impact is really in some ways. One of the most important things on the roll.

 

LED   31:59

What are some mistakes that you've seen a lot of product managers / offering managers make, as they're trying to become better at what they do and grow in the function?

 

Alex Bentley   32:30

Yeah, that was kind of you to say what I've seen versus the one that I've made myself!

But I've seen those. Yeah, a couple on the on the challenging side, right, I had a scenario where I was working with a senior executive in our sales team and was talking about the capabilities of the product and I kept kind of not understanding why he could not grasp on the phone call that I was on, and it turned out that he wasn't selling my product, right? I was like, why don't you understand what I'm saying? Oh, well, actually, after about, 15 minutes, he realized it wasn't in his portfolio. But it seems kind of obvious, right? But obviously only happen in large company versus small one. But the idea is behind that is understanding somebody's motivations. If you understand the incentive for the individuals, you're talking to both the professional and the personal incentives, you can really go sideways, in conversations and when you understand those types of things, it really facilitates the progression on both sides.

 

LED   33:43

So, to clarify the point - You need to understand your customers really well?

 

Alex Bentley   33:53

That's definitely true and I think needed, not only of your users as you're building your product, but also the broader stakeholder and community that you're working with. Because understanding that a developer is usually swayed by facts and figures, concrete information, whereas a sales individual, and a marketing individual is usually swayed by broad pictures of strategy and how this is going to make them on the sales side often make the money, right? You know, what they get on a CEO side, it's about how it's going to help them achieve growth for your product line in a lot of a lot of situations. So, recognizing the incentives that a particular person or discipline has within your organization, can go a long way towards accelerating whatever you're trying to do.

 

LED   34:54

That's a very good point and illustrates how cross functional the role is. That's probably very key to how successful you are as a product manager.

 

Alex Bentley   35:03

Yeah. You know, I think couple of other observations. One is the ability to say no, and this was one that I was challenged with early on as well, during that failed startup. It wasn't why it failed. But I would spend time going out to clients and they came up with a list of 10 different requests that they wanted to see. This automotive supplier application I mentioned earlier, they needed a workflow capability to be able to have everybody engage when they were supposed to, they wanted to have an Excel capability, that they could do things online and take some of their existing Excel spreadsheets and put it directly to the application and I thought my job was a product manager was to say, okay, that's great. We can do that. We could do that. We could do that, right? Get back to talk engineering, you can probably see all the story. Yeah, right? Didn't go well, from a delivery perspective. But everybody else in the company likes to say no, development usually wants to say yes, because they want to be able to be seen as responsive. Sales obviously wants to say yes, because they want to deliver things to clients to drive revenue. You know, I sometimes say as a product manager, you are the land of no because in some cases, you're the person who's has to give that answer that nobody wants to hear. So, the ability to do that task really, in a way that helps people understand why you're saying no, is pretty valuable.

 

LED   36:36

And that's probably hand in hand with your ability to prioritize and so having very clear idea about what you're optimizing for and prioritizing ruthlessly accordingly.

 

Alex Bentley   36:46

Yep, absolutely and that's kind of goes back to your user point as well. Right? Yeah. The focusing on what the user needs, and if the buyer is different, it places the solution into to focus.

 

LED   37:03

Are there any aspects about this job that you do not like? It's clear that you love the job. There's a lot of leadership and autonomy, you get to build amazing things. What are some things that you don't like?

 

Alex Bentley   37:14

You know, my inbox is probably pretty full :)

 

LED   37:20

How many emails do you get?

 

Alex Bentley   37:23

I'm probably at about 150!

It's definitely busy. You need to have the ability to switch contexts, as you go from meeting to meeting which can be a challenge. Even as a product manager or an offering manager, your time is often sliced. So, you'll have a half hour meeting with development, and then a half hour meeting with some sales guide and a half hour meeting with marketing to talk about something. So, the ability to carve out time to make sure you can sit down and focus on things that aren't tactical, is a real challenge as an offering manager. Yeah, my secret is, and I've been doing this since I've been at IBM. I actually block my calendar on Fridays.

LED   39:52

I'm sure you must have seen that product management has become a highly sought-after role in tech now, especially with the rise of tech, but it's not a very easy role to break into. What would be your advice to candidates?

 

Alex Bentley   40:10

There are a couple of things tthat come to mind. One is, understand the language and the lexicon, around product and offering management. There are a few different books that come to mind. For me, there's a series by Geoffrey Moore, that starts with Crossing the Chasm. Clayton Christensen's Innovators dilemma is a good starting point, and then Eric Reis’s Lean Startup are good examples of where you can gain more knowledge about how the process works. 

The other one is, as you look at your past history, translate them into actual business results. As part of your story, you need to be able to measure the impact and so translate whatever you've done into some form of outcome, be iy cost savings or an increase in whatever it is you're trying to increase becomes really important and talking about what you did versus what kind of the team did or the organization did is often something I see as a challenge as well.

 

LED   42:01

Being someone who I'm sure interviews a lot of people, what are the most common mistakes you see candidates make?

 

Alex Bentley   42:11

That last one is a big one. If you can't share what you did, and the outcome that what you did was created for the business. That's kind of a red flag, because to me, that means when you get into the role, you won't be able to translate what the technology can do for clients, or understand in some cases, what users and buyers need, given they're given their portfolio. Folks who can't articulate what they've done, have a challenge moving into the role. Certainly, depending upon the role that you're moving into within a company we're looking at, it is a combination of business and technical expertise and so if someone comes in who has a business background, full MBA, but doesn't have any technology background, one of the things I'm looking for is can this person engage in engineering team? If it's a technical product? Can they talk to that technical user community? and so being able to talk about technology and showing an aptitude or interest in technology through your actions. Have you gone out and taken some classes. What have you done to drive that skill set? And the flip side if you did an undergrad in computer science, can you demonstrate that you understand and can empathize with users? Can you put together business cases? Or can you talk effectively about what a marketing funnel looks like? Because if you go back to thinking to the whole premise of your thinking, like the GM of your business, those are all things that you may at some point pretty early in your job, potentially need to investigate and explore and understand as part of the larger organization.

 

LED   44:11

Right, and so I guess you're testing for both sides, the business side and the technical side. If you were to, share, let's say, three to five skills or qualities that you think are absolutely critical to doing well, as a product manager. What do you think they would be or an offering manager?

 

Alex Bentley   44:31

Yeah. The ones that come to mind one is the ability to say no tactfully. The second one is the ability to motivate a team with data. You're often persuading people to do things that they're not 100% sure about, they're still they don't have an opinion on both at an executive level and as an individual contributor talking to engineers, they sample so the ability to persuade is a big piece of it. The third one for me is being able to go deep into a particular area. Right, whatever, whether it be technology or, Game of Thrones knowledge, the passion to actually dig into a problem and, uncover what the root cause is and then, share that back with the group. The last one might be the, given where we are at IBM right now, is the ability to focus on users and understand what their problems are. Through interviews and through conversations.

 

LED   45:45

Yeah, that's a really good list and are these the qualities then that you're also in some way looking for in applicants?

 

Alex Bentley   45:55

That's right. All of those things, we've identified as characteristics of a lot of our most successful, offering managers that are beyond well, do you have technology background, and do you have an MBA to demonstrate his business, the likelihood for business skills, the things I mentioned, are certainly much softer skills. But of many of the disciplines within a company, I think offer management is one where those soft skills either make or break someone's success, and therefore often makes or breaks the broader offering and team success.

LED   48:15

Can you share examples that show how a really exceptional offering manager stands out? 

 

Alex Bentley   48:41

The piece, it's kind of all these things fall into play, as is the entrepreneurial nature of the role. We had an offering manager who during the eclipse, which I'm sure you recall, as much as everybody else does, right? A completely unexpected, but certainly unexpected impact on me when I saw it, even done here in Texas, this individual actually set up a website to sell solar eclipse glasses, and sold about $100,000 worth of them over the course of three months, right? So, it wasn't something small. So, those type of entrepreneurial type activities, where people have started up something themselves, regardless of maybe what that thing is, doesn't have to be an actual company is usually the thing that can also indicate success, because you do that you get exposed to a lot of the things that are talked about, and you're likely to have run into a need for the skills and the experiences that for example, before that I mentioned.

LED   52:22

Is there any advice you'd like to share with, people who are early in their careers, or aspiring offering managers?

 

Alex Bentley   52:40

Yeah, I think generally, my observations are one become an expert at something within the group that you're in, no matter how narrow it might be, in doing so you become the person that a broader set of folks go to for that question, or for that area and that gives you a network, which is a critical thing to build at any role in any company and also will begin to expose you to additional adjacent areas that your expertise could couldn't lean into, try to avoid this scenario in which you seemingly are doing something that is not resulting in you being viewed as, as an expert. So, that's one of the things that I started to do. Early in my career, when it's actually the advice I got from the CEO of my first company, I worked for.

Thank you for listening!! 

 

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