Product Manager (Schools)
Advanced | Product Management | Knutsford, England
Join a business that embraces innovation, gives you the scope to seize every opportunity and will help get you where you want to go. Life at Advanced begins in an unprecedented environment with a role that matters, taking you on a fast paced journey of discovery, however big that might be.
Advanced is one of the UK’s largest and most successful software companies. Our products sit at the heart of some of the country's best-known businesses, charities and public sector organisations, powering their key services and functions. Driven by the millions of people who interact with our products every day in hospitals, schools, transport providers, sports clubs and a wide range of instantly recognisable brands, in our 8-year history we’ve already grown phenomenally quickly to more than 2,000 staff serving 20,000 customers across the UK.
Advanced delivers a range of Management Information Systems to schools in the UK and Ireland and also to International schools. Advanced also delivers to the Further and Higher Education sectors.
The Team and Role
Sitting within our Education team this role is a key element in our Product team working with the wider business and a mixed onshore & offshore development team.
This role is influential, shaping the product vision and delivery of Advanced's schools solutions. Core to the role, you should be able to formulate a fact-based, compelling, innovative and forward-looking vision and roadmap. You will have a background in the education domain and will share your experience with colleagues and others. You will be a key contributor to the strategic direction for the division.
You will build products from existing ideas and develop new ideas based on sector experience, research and constant external contact: customers, prospects and those shaping the sector. In addition, you will also ensure that the strategy is fulfilled with practical go-to-market planning and engagement.
As Product Manager you will work with internal and external parties to evolve the product roadmap and strategy to support the business objectives. This involves creating and supporting business cases, developing communications and representing the product at forums such as Special Interest Groups and User Forums. You will lead the definition of product roadmaps and strategies across FE and adjacent markets, highlighting cross-over into and from other sectors throughout. You will contribute to the selection of relevant partners and potential M&A targets. Additionally, you will identify and capitalise on whitespace opportunities within the current product portfolio.
Main Duties and Responsibilities
- You will be the 'product champion' in the Schools sector, relating the detail of products and their positioning as part of the Advanced offering
- Work closely with other product managers and colleagues within the wider business and education community to create and support solution strategies, roadmaps and pricing models that meet medium to long term requirements in terms of product direction, marketing and revenue
- Ensure the products evolve to meet current and future business needs
- Establishing potential cross sell and new sell opportunity for the existing product set and new products in the Schools market
- Develop and maintain a thorough understanding of customer needs within the target market segments and key market dynamics, in terms of market size and segmentation, the competitive and legislative environments, technology trends and other influences
- Undertake competitor reviews and analysis to determine commercial positioning
- Support the business preparation through identification of key project tasks, deliverables, manpower, costing and forecasts for expenditure and revenue opportunity
- Develop and document, with stakeholder buy-in, the vision and strategy of the product set. Build and develop the business case and justify the return associated with any product investment
- Inform and support the vision through quantitative and qualitative analysis covering market size, growth rate, distribution channels, market trends, market segmentation, competitor information and key success factors. Share with the wider business and key stakeholders
- Gather requirements from all external and internal sources. Prioritise requirements in line with the product vision. Produce documented requirements for the development teams and work closely with the development teams to bring the requirements to fruition
- Provide support when working with customers or Business Partners - this could include presenting the product roadmap, running customer focus groups and demonstrating the products
- Work with our Product Marketing team to develop on-going positioning messages that address target segments and roles within customers and prospects and which differentiate Advanced's products from their competitors. Ensure this information is assimilated across the sales teams.
- Develop detailed launch plans for new products including key milestones and metrics. Plan the launch of new products and major releases and manage the cross-functional implementation of the plan
- Develop and maintain competitive analysis - setting out a detailed and current picture of vendors' technology, capability, strategy and positioning. Conduct regular internal briefings on the state of the market and ensure that Advanced's Sales and partners are well equipped to beat the competition
- Provide strategic and tactical support for commercial teams, notably positioning, value propositions and commercial propositions, including creation of pricing strategies for the products, varying by sector as necessary
- Work with Product Marketing to ensure that the sales organisation is adequately prepared to compete by:
- Driving the timely creation of sales support tools including sales presentations, corporate presentations, white papers etc.
- Engaging and soliciting the Sales organisation to identify field requirements
- Identifying product training and positioning requirements for Sales
- Develop and maintain market orientated value propositions for target markets
- Communicate the value propositions to the sales team
- Evangelise the Advanced product range in the market and customer base. Deliver presentations in webinars and industry events. Produce product marketing materials to feed the Marketing team
Knowledge and Experience
Skills & Competencies:
- Customer focus with strong commercial acumen
- Expert in subject area - you must be capable of demonstrating both depth and breadth of knowledge/ skills in your discipline
- Highly motivated individual, bring the drive to improve the business along with the ability to motivate others to embrace new strategies and challenging delivery schedules
- Strong decision maker and personality, able to engage in robust debate and negotiate strategic requirements against short term business pressures. Alongside this you will need to be open-minded when considering alternative approaches and solutions to problems. You will be empirically and customer led
- Results orientated: strong desire to succeed You will exhibit high levels of self-motivation, resilience, drive and initiative. You will take ownership of issues and tasks; you will follow-up, execute and complete tasks
- A strong team player, collaborating with domain experts, peers, Development, customers and stakeholders. Ability to maintain excellent colleague and peer relationships
- Assertive and persuasive communicator
- Organised and thorough; an excellent planner and organiser
- Effective, clear and concise presentation skills
- Superior verbal and communication skills and the ability to create propositions and messages so they are understood by widely differentiated sectors both within and outside the Company
- Ability to think laterally; problem solver
- Understanding of full Software Development Life Cycle
- Project Management skills – SCRUM Master, PRINCE2 etc.
- Team Management
- Understanding of the role of pre-sales
- Demonstrable experience of undertaking a product management/ product owner role within a software product environment
- Experience in eliciting and refining market requirements
- Proven knowledge of Cloud/SaaS software products
- Experience in Agile development methodology an advantage (ideally as Product Owner)
- Strong understanding of customer needs, and objectives.
- Time management, project management and organisational skills in managing multiple priorities and projects
- Use of Aha!, JIRA & SalesForce