Product Advisors: Job Description & How to become one

Sept. 5, 2022

Becoming a product advisor can be a great way to help companies assess and improve their products. But what does it take to become one? What do they do on the job? And how can you make sure that you have the skills necessary to land this type of role?
Product Advisors: Job Description & How to become one

At MentorCruise, we've got some of the best product managers in the industry as available mentors – so we know a thing or two about becoming a successful product advisor. And in this blog post, we'll share everything that you need to know about this career path.

What does a product advisor do?

The role of a product advisor is to help companies understand what their customers want and need from their products. They do this by conducting customer research, analyzing data, and making recommendations based on their findings.

In order to be successful in this role, it's important that you have strong analytical skills and are able to effectively communicate your findings to those who need to hear them. Additionally, it's helpful if you're familiar with product management principles and have a solid understanding of the product development process.

Related: Demystifying Product Management with Colleen Graneto

Product advisor responsibilities

While the exact product advisor duties will vary depending on the company they work for, there are some common tasks that they are typically responsible for, which include:

  • Helps sales teams and aids market research define the go-to-market strategy by understanding the product positioning, key benefits, and target market.

  • Contributes to product roadmaps and release plans.

  • Conducts customer research to understand their needs and pain points.

  • Analyzes data to identify trends and make recommendations.

  • Clearly communicate findings to all stakeholders.

  • Becoming a trusted point of contact for designers on all product-related matters.

Product advisor salary

The national average for a product advisor job in the United States is $54,443 /year ($26/hour), according to ZipRecruiter. Depending on the company, demand, and seniority, annual salaries can go up to $122,000.

Keep in mind that these are averages and that your actual salary will vary depending on a number of factors, including your experience, geographical location, and the specific company you work for.

With that said, there are some skills that can help you command a higher salary as a product advisor. We talk about that in the next section.

Becoming a successful product advisor: Good-to-haves

Education – A Bachelor's doesn't hurt

While there's no set educational requirements for becoming a product advisor, most companies prefer to hire those with a bachelor's degree in Education, Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Technical, Military, MBA, Management, Marketing, and/or Business/Administration. Those majors tend to help you develop the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive as a product advisor.

That said, if you don't have a formal education in one of these fields, you can still be successful in this role as long as you have the right skills and experience (which we'll get into next).

Skills – Be good at reading data and communication

There are certain skills that will make you more successful as a product advisor. But remember that just "listing" these in your resume won't do. You need to demonstrate effective usage of these skills through experience. So keep the following points in mind when writing out your activities on your resume.

  • Analytical skills: As a product advisor, you'll be responsible for analyzing data and making recommendations based on your findings – so knowing how to extrapolate fruitful conclusions from hard numbers is your bread and butter.

  • Communication skills: It's also important that you're able to effectively communicate your findings to different departments and make sure nothing gets lost in translation.

  • Proficiency in Powerpoint: Product advisors often have to present expert-level product knowledge, workshops, and their findings to stakeholders – so being able to put together a killer presentation goes hand in hand with excellent communication.

  • Familiarity with product management principles: A strong understanding of the entire product lifecycle of a product's planning, development, launch, and managment will help you be successful as an advisor.

  • Technical: Depending on the company you work for, you may be required to have a certain level of technical understanding. For example, if you're advising a software company on their products, it would be beneficial to have some coding skills or at least know your way around different programming languages.

How do I get better at these skills?

No one is born to be a product advisor, just like no one's born to be a gymnastics superstar. You have to acquire and refine these skills over time. Some ways you can do this are:

  1. Get a formal education at a college or university

  2. Complete training and get a certification from programs at community colleges, vocational schools, or online organizations. Here's a top-rated product management course on Udemy.

  3. Grow with a mentor – nothing will help you learn and thrive faster than successful product managers who've been there and done that.

Experience – Seek entry-level product management-related positions

Knowing the right skills is one thing, but being able to effectively put them into practice is another. That's where experience comes in. You can develop your product management skills by getting an entry-level job. Getting experience like this could help you succeed as a product manager and build an impressive resume. Try these job titles to land an entry-level job in a related field:

  • Marketing associate

  • Assistant product manager

  • Associate product manager

  • Product lead

  • Market researcher

  • Product designer

  • Junior product manager

Find your specialty – and focus on it

The product management field is massive, and it's only getting bigger. In order to be successful as a product advisor, you need to find your specialty – the one area of product management you're passionate about and good at. Once you've found your niche, stay focused on it. Keep up with the latest news, trends, and research in your area so you can make well-informed recommendations to your company.

Some popular examples of product management specialties include:

  • Enterprise software

  • IoT devices

  • Mobile apps

  • SaaS products

  • Consumer goods

  • E-commerce platforms

But don't stop there. You've narrowed it down—good. But now go further into sub-niches. Say you're interested in SaaS products. Okay, but what exactly? Marketing automation? Project management? Customer relationship management (CRM)? Narrow it down even further so you can become an expert in your field.

If you're not sure what your specialty is, that's okay too. A lot of product managers don't figure it out until they've been in the industry for a while and have had a chance to explore different areas. If that's the case for you, try to get a well-rounded view of product management by working in different departments or on cross-functional teams. Once you've had a chance to see everything that product managers do, you can start to narrow your focus.

Looking to roll on your own as a product advisor? Build a sales funnel

Product managers and advisors are no strangers to developing, analyzing, and perfecting sales funnels that reel in paying customers. But when it comes to being a freelance or contractual product advisor for hire, many professionals often forget to put their own skills to advance their business.

  1. Make a list of potential customers (make sure they're defined correctly)

  2. Try to reach out to them. Instead of cold outreach, try getting intros/recommendations from people who are already providing a service to them by pre-building a rapport. Make sure you have some social presence and credibility (show off your accomplishments at previous jobs).

  3. Initiate a meeting toward a project you can do for them – preferably in person since that's where most of the magic still happens.

  4. Make sure you follow up (people are busy, self-absorbed, overwhelmed, and forgetful, so it's fine to follow up three times).

  5. Make sure you close the deal, give them 200%, and turn them into your ambassadors (because word-of-mouth marketing works best)

Product advisor resume keywords

Now that you know how to get started on your journey to becoming a product advisor, we'll leave you with some critical resume keywords that employers love to see in candidates.

ZipRecruiter found that the following keywords were common demands in product advisor job descriptions, but weren't so prominent in resumes and cover letters. So, they're great opportunities to use in your resume and LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in product management:

  • Project Management

  • Collaboration

  • Technical

  • Recruiting

  • Analysis

  • Auto Delivery

  • Digital

  • Facilitation

  • Communication Skills

  • Relationship Management

  • Vendor Management

  • Mentoring

  • Documentation

Become a better product advisor today with a mentor by your side

So, now that you know how to become a product advisor and some of the keywords that will help you stand out to employers, it's time to get started. Start by focusing on your specialty and then drilling down into sub-niches. Stay up-to-date on the latest news and research in your area, build a sales funnel for your business, and start reaching out to potential customers.

At MentorCruise, we offer one-on-one mentorship from experienced product managers and advisors who can help you put your all into every project to turn clients into ambassadors for your business. With our product advisor mentoring program, you'll have access to exclusive resources, training materials, and networking opportunities that will help take your product management skills to the next level. So what are you waiting for?

Find your mentor today and start your journey to becoming a product advisor!

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