Even though I primarily classify myself as a “marketing professional” I have also had my share of sales experience as well. My time spent in sales was enjoyable but ultimately not the best fit for me. Don’t get me wrong; even though sales may not have worked for me it has helped me greatly in my marketing career. It helped me to understand not only the end consumer but also how products are brought into the marketplace: store owners, business owners…etc.
Currently working in product marketing I often hear comments from sales asking for one more new item, one more item that will help them make their numbers and as I hear these comments I understand where they are coming from but looking at these requests from an overall market strategy standpoint I cannot accommodate such requests.
When I get these requests from sales they are always looking for that one item or product that will be their savior, it will be their silver bullet. To me silver bullets only live in Lone Ranger or werewolf tales, there are no silver bullets – especially in sales.
I always envisioned sales as an oil pipeline. As long as I always had oil flowing in that pipeline times were good but when that pipeline began to run dry it was time to pound the pavement, and like oil, sales sources are a limited resource. As soon as you find a new source of sales you better be looking for what’s next for when that one dries up.
So I say keep watching those scary werewolf flicks just don’t take their tales of silver bullet solutions from the silver screen to reality.
Have you ever been driving on the road and in your rear view mirror or driving next to you is an old, beat up, Dodge Neon? But this isn’t just any old Dodge Neon; it’s Dodge Neon that has been pimped out. It has a rear spoiler the size of a whale’s tail, it has more lights on it then an airport landing strip and it’s tire rims put a disco ball to shame.
The car that I have described and I’m sure everyone has seen at some point may look “cool” or interesting at best but when it comes down to it’s core, it’s engine, it will never be something that is fast, strong or intimidating on road – it’s always going to be a little Dodge Neon.
The same goes with companies, maybe your company. I work with sales people and they always say if we only has one more product, just made a product bigger, a different color we would be beating our sales goals.
I realize where these requests from sales are coming from but when I steps back and look at the whole business model, sales strategy and market status it becomes clear that another product is not the answer.
If you stand back and see cracks in the models or strategies you could introduce thousands of products but none will go anywhere because they fall through the cracks. You need to fix those cracks, strengthen the overall system and doing that will ensure any amount or type of product introductions will be a success.
Just like that poorly pimped out Dodge Neon, don’t pimp out your company with needless product introductions that rest atop weak structure. Invest in a strong engine; a sound strategy and that will turn more heads as you blaze down the road.