Product managers at Microsoft and Salesforce have a particularly daunting job: Not only must they handle all the critical responsibilities of the role, including keeping production on-track, but they must do so at enormous scale. Any hiccup can have a catastrophic ripple effect, including massive cost overruns and upset corporate clients.
Thanks to that kind of pressure, product manager salaries in general tend to be quite high. According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the starting salary for product managers (i.e., those with zero to two years of experience) is around $83,000, with a median salary is $102,512. With sufficient experience, that salary can climb comfortably into the six-figure range, especially when you throw in other types of compensation, such as stock and bonuses.
Microsoft and Salesforce have sufficient capital to pay out enormous salaries to product managers who’ve demonstrated they have what it takes to carry out their jobs at huge scale. Here’s the progression of compensation for product managers at Salesforce as they climb through the ranks:
And here’s the same breakdown for product managers at Microsoft. At both companies, you can see how stock becomes an ever-larger component of overall compensation as product managers gain seniority:
If you’re interviewing for a product manager job at Microsoft or Salesforce (or pretty much any other company), success won’t just come down to your technical knowledge, or even your track record of overseeing the launch and maintenance of apps and services; it’s clear that hiring managers and recruiters also care about “soft skills” such as communication and empathy.
In light of that, come prepared to the interview with stories about your product management experience, particularly how you navigated various challenges. You’ll want to describe how you interacted with your team and worked through the personal issues that inevitably rise when technologists are scrambling to complete a complicated project under a tight deadline.
It’s also important to have technical knowledge that aligns with the job at hand. Both Salesforce and Microsoft, for example, produce massive cloud-based products; if you’re applying for a product manager role, extensive knowledge of the cloud (particularly Azure, in Microsoft’s case) is absolute must. You’ll need to demonstrate that you can launch a quality product on time.