Build products and services that are easy to sell!

Pete Busam

Often when launching a new product or service (I will refer to product moving forward but assume it could be a service), we fail to look at the full development process. This lack of vision in leadership typically leads to failed sales due to improper design, testing or proof of concept.  In this article I will attempt to discuss the required steps that can be implemented using the various talent inside your organization, to facilitate a better end-user product for your client.

DevelopmentLet’s face it, new products or services are most typically born from necessity.  A client has a requirement and so a technical approach is developed and delivered by the appropriate organization.  Once it is delivered, the organization’s owner wants to replicate this success so they tell the sales team to go and sell more of that particular item.  This is where the first mistake happens.

Fortunately, there are several steps that can be followed along the way to pushing a product to market that can help ensure it is actually easy to sell! Let’s start by listing out key elements that we will discuss in this and future articles in order to build out a full development process:

  1. Discuss if the requirement is Client Driven or Market Driven
  2. Complete a Design Process
  3. Complete a Development Process
  4. Complete a Production Process
  5. Complete a Sales & Marketing Process

Once you complete these five key processes, you should be ready to go to market.

The first and most important step is to determine if the product requirement is client driven or market driven, making this distinction will in turn determine how best to follow the next steps in the process.

So, let’s begin by exploring the definitions of each:

Market Driven

By definition, market-driven products have been strategically driven by an organization, based upon market research and customer needs, instead of an organization’s current product set. In this situation, an organization must first use market knowledge to determine their organizational strategy. In doing so a market-driven company can have a customer focus, be aware of its competitors, and have an understanding of an addressable market.

Key items that need to be considered when developing a market-driven product are:

  1. Is there an actual need to be fulfilled or a market problem to be solved?
  2. What are your customer’s behaviors – will they still want your product when it finally comes to market?
  3. What experiences do your customers seek?
  4. What do customers need vs. what do they prefer?
  5. How would you like customers to feel about the product?

These are just a few key elements that your market-driven research could reveal, but this should get you started in defining the who, what, and where for your product.

Client Driven

This model is typically adopted when a customer asks for a one-off type product or installation and as mentioned above is the typical way to develop a new product (but not necessarily the most successful). In this case, the research is narrow and there is no true development cycle other than from specification to implementation. Organizations then see an ability to recreate the same product for other prospects but lack the vision to fully develop the product when attempting to turn it into a money maker.  Typically this type of product has a failure rate of 70% due to the lack of process and strategic development.

In the next post we will begin our discussion on the design process and how critical this phase is in the overall process of building products that are easy to sell.

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