It is a general assumption that if there is a good product, buyers will continue to buy. However, as complicated as it is to start a company and come up with product ideas, it is more difficult to create a need for it. I belong to the school of thoughts who believe that it takes a lot more to declare a product successful. If you notice, product teams always feel they have developed world-class products, which will sell themselves!
Some of the most successful products have always positioned themselves by creating the need for a customer, a need they never had in the first place. As Henry Ford rightly said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. A couple of points to be inferred here are:
- Our wants can be totally different than our needs
- When we say, “I want that quarter inch drill”, we actually mean, “I need a quarter inch hole. Get it done however you can”
Look at what Apple did to the mobile phone industry with the inception of the iPhone! Who could have imagined the magnitude of success from a phone with just one button? There are so many examples of product successes where great visionaries created products with the right positioning and made people want them.
It is however important to know that both product and sales teams are interdependent and responsible for the success of their product, thus it is crucial that they work together. The most successful companies have a very strong product and sales team that collaborate with the key goal of the product’s success. They can work together and help each become better at their job of meeting customer requirements.
Seasoned sales folks know that the secret to selling is by first understanding the challenges faced by the end users; Questions like, “what does it help solve?”, “why will a team need their product?”. One of the key ways in which Sales can help the Product team, is by coming up with feature suggestions/improvement after speaking to prospects and customers. The more the customer is probed, the real problems surface. Most of the times, the customer is unaware of the real issue that they are facing. The more you converse with end users, the better understanding is forged between the sales team and the product team. That’s why it’s important to keep asking “why”, to find out more about the underlying issue. At this point of time, depending upon the scope of the customer’s requirements, the Sales team needs to decide whether they can help the customer right away or take the feature request and work with the Product team. The other thing to do is to refer a relevant service provider to the customer (for something which is out of scope). A quick note here for Sales is to be thorough with what works and what does not in the product!
Here’s exactly when the Product team needs to sit and strategize on the product, the target market, the intricacies, challenges (If it’s a feature request) etc., and come up with something that is aligned to the need. Yes, the product goes hand in hand with sales. This strategic alliance between the Product team and Sales can only make sure that successful partnerships are forged between the clients and the company!