Team Deltek’s Michelle Cipollone: How People, Passion and Product Marketing All Come Together

June 02, 2022

In this #TeamDeltek spotlight we chatted with Michelle Cipollone, Vice President of Product Marketing, to learn about what it’s like to be a part of the product marketing team at Deltek. For more than a decade, Michelle has been part of this growing organization, guided by great managers and mentors, and is dedicated to doing the same for her team by helping them take their careers to the next level.

During our conversation, Michelle shared how Deltek has supported her professional goals, what day in the life of product marketer looks like and what she likes most about leading this energetic group of product and industry experts.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us about what it is like being a product marketer at Deltek. Can you share with us a little bit about your professional background and how you got your start?

I started my career in technology working on Capitol Hill, managing the computer system and constituent database for a member of the House of Representatives. I then moved to Ohio for an inside sales role at a computer software company specializing in ERP software. After a few years, I went to work for a Microsoft value-added reseller; it was a small company where my love for marketing started.

In 2012, I reconnected on LinkedIn with a former co-worker who led Deltek Product Marketing at the time. He was recruiting for a position on his team, which ended up being a perfect fit for me. Although I had never been a product marketer, a lot of what I had been doing before Deltek helped prepare me for what the role would entail.

As someone who has experienced product marketing at various levels, what should individuals in this type of role expect?

Our job is to help create and execute the go-to-market strategy for our products within the industries we serve and execute the go-to-market activities for the products that we manage. This includes being market and industry experts, collaborating with product management on release readiness for our portfolio of products, and making sure that we bring new technology, functionality, and features to the market. Our organization enables prospects and customers to understand Deltek’s unique value proposition. You will find my team supporting demand generation and sales, speaking at events, writing content and acting as thought leaders for our industries. Product marketers are the evangelists for our products and are responsible for many aspects of the go-to-market planning needed to launch and manage a product from development through its lifecycle.

No two days are ever the same for my team, so if you like routine, product marketing is probably not the right fit for you! However, if you are the type of person that loves technology, likes to interact with all facets of an organization and be responsible for enabling colleagues with the knowledge and tools they need to successfully promote and sell solutions ─ then product marketing could be a great role to explore.

As someone who has worked at Deltek for more than a decade, what are some key things that have helped you navigate your journey through product marketing?

One of the great things about Deltek is the focus the organization has on learning and development. With the many different learning programs available, I’ve taken advantage of these educational resources to enhance my skills and build my career. LEAP, in particular, one of Deltek’s leadership programs, offered two things for me ─ the ability to work with emerging leaders of our organization to put forth an idea to help streamline process improvement and great mentorship. This program offered me the ability to work closely with senior leaders of the organization and really pushed me to work in new ways. This program was instrumental in my career growth and is one of the ways Deltek has invested in me to help me be a better leader.

Specifically, we’ve seen many changes in product marketing over the last decade. We’ve grown from a team of 5 to 15 and currently manage 21 different products within the many industries that Deltek serves. With every acquisition Deltek makes and every product we launch, our team is there to support the business. As the Deltek portfolio grows, so do we!

Team Deltek Michelle Cipollone

We know Deltek invests in its employees. In addition to continuous learning, what else can you attribute to your success?

The Women@Deltek employee resource group (ERG), formed several years ago, introduced me to two women who became mentors to me and made a huge difference in my career. Both of these ladies challenged me to do things I didn’t think I could or would not have had the confidence to do without their support. I have also had the privilege to work for some pretty intelligent and amazing leaders who have given me opportunities to lead and provided leadership coaching.

At Deltek, employees are encouraged to own their careers. There are individual learning paths with target growth areas depending on where an employee is in their professional journey. Those learning paths include participating in mentor programs as a mentor or a mentee or participating in our Leadership Accelerator Management Program (LAMP) designed to develop and enhance leadership competencies of new and existing managers through learning opportunities aligned with key leadership capabilities based on Deltek values.

When it comes to finding the best candidates for your team, what are you specifically looking for?

Product marketers are storytellers. To tell our product stories, a product marketer needs to constantly monitor the industries we serve, the latest product innovations and what our competitors are doing. Every day, we’re learning about different things that impact the markets we serve and figuring out how to best communicate our solution’s unique value proposition to our prospects and customers. It takes a special type of person to do all that, so as I grow our team I look for individuals who want to come to work each day to learn and who are highly engaged and collaborative by nature.

The product marketers we hire here at Deltek don't always have product marketing experience. Many have backgrounds in industry, product management, journalism or communications. These skills transfer well to product marketing. We do a lot of writing and speaking so a foundation of these skills is often what makes a product marketer successful. When I am hiring for my team, I look for individuals who have a passion for lifelong learning, a get-it-done attitude, who are organized, and who are generally passionate about how our solutions can help organizations service their customers.

From industry-leading products to thought leadership reports, the product marketers works on a lot! Can you share some of your most memorable accomplishments from over the years?

I remember when I joined the organization, we were bringing our first product to the cloud. It was an exciting time and new territory for us. It was great to be on the team that helped figure out how to message Deltek Vision in the cloud to the A&E market. A big milestone in my career was launching Deltek Vantagepoint (formally Deltek for Professional Services), our next-generation solution for architect &engineering and consulting industries. It was a big project. It's hard to believe that we just announced the 5.0 release of Vantagepoint last month! It's really inspiring to see industry-leading organizations adopt Deltek Vantagepoint.

The most memorable thing for me has to be our team’s involvement in Deltek’s annual customer conference. We love our customers and are always excited when we get to be with Deltek Project Nation in one place. At past conferences, the Product Marketing team has done everything from organizing and creating product content to hosting sessions, speaking on the main stage and working the Expo floor. I can’t wait to see all of Deltek Project Nation back together again in Nashville, Tennessee, at our Deltek ProjectCon event (formally Deltek Insight) in November.

I’m sure it’s rewarding to build a team of dedicated professionals. What do you like most about leading the Product Marketing organization at Deltek?

I'm a people person. I really love mentoring and coaching. The thing that brings me the most joy as a leader is being able to coach someone and see them grow in their role. My goal for every product marketer is to have them be as much of an industry, product and marketing expert as possible so they can communicate exceptionally about how our products can solve business challenges in the industries they serve. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s definitely a journey, and it requires a team effort to enable individuals to grow in their roles. It requires a manager to push their team a little bit out of their comfort zone and ask them to do things that maybe don’t come naturally. For some marketers it could be learning how to be a better public speaker or becoming a skilled writer or working on really hard project ─ but knowing that they have the support from their management team that will not let them fail.

Being part of #TeamDeltek is definitely something special. What is it about Deltek’s unique workplace culture that you appreciate most?

As someone who has been with Deltek for more than ten years, it’s hard to pick just one thing that I appreciate the most about being part of Deltek Project Nation. The two things that stand out most for me are the people and Deltek’s culture. I am proud to work with a company that makes diversity, equity & inclusion a priority, continually invests in career development and continuing education for its employees, and supports work-life balance and the health of its employees.

On a personal note, I appreciate the ongoing partnership that Deltek has with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Having been diagnosed with lymphoma in 2017, I am so thankful to Deltek for giving me the support and resources I needed as I battled the disease. From the executive team to my co-workers, the team supported me through my journey to remission. One of the most amazing experiences from that time was going to the LLS Light the Night event in Reston, Virginia, four days after being told I was in remission. I carried a survivor balloon and walked side by side with my family and my Deltek family. I am so proud that Deltek was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from LLS for our continuous support of this organization's important work.

What a beautiful memory! To wrap things up, we like to ask all our #TeamDeltek interviewees this: Of Deltek’s ten company values, which one resonates most with you and why?

Passion would have to be the one value that resonates most with me. I am passionate about the work we do at Deltek, the solutions we develop to support our customers, the business our customers do, and the team of people I get to work with in Deltek Project Nation.


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