What comes first? Product or Sales?

1 May

I have made a lot of mistakes in life. One in particular that I remember was during the early days of StudyNation. The product had not had a good start (we had launched as StudyTimes.com). Our SEO strategy hadn’t worked as well as we thought. We had to shut down the site and relaunch as StudyNation.com

The relaunch was immensely successful. Within 3 months we were very close to displacing the top sites. The traction on the traffic was fantastic.

As the one closely working on the project, I decided to do something that I shouldn’t have, in hindsight! Selling!

Sales is core to any business. And everyone in the world has to think of sales sooner than you would like, unless ofcourse if your last name ends in -kerberg! And thats what I did as well. Problem was, there wasnt anything core to sell. The product wasnt ready for sales! The traffic wasnt high enough to sell advertising and the lead generation side of the business needed me to work on the product before I stepped out into the market.

It was a discussion with Vivek that made me realize my flaw. It was evident the minute we sat down to chat about it. I had made the fundamental mistake of running after sales even before the product was ready!

That said, Seth Godin argues that the attitude should be to ship fast. Had the iPhone waited to do a ‘complete’ job of itself (heck, it didnt even have SMS forward. It still doesnt have an SMS way of sharing contacts!), it possibly would never have been the iPhone we know of! But then, that was the iPhone. It was a revolution as it is. The same logic, I reckon, doesnt work when you shipping out something that as already been shipped before, especially by someone else!

The idea is to ALWAYS place the product first. Make sure the sales you wish to achieve, is supported by the product you have built. No point building an ecommerce product that doesnt make buying simple. Or a lead generation product that doesnt make searching on the site simple. Thats core. Thats fundamental.

Product is your sales!


1 Response to What comes first? Product or Sales?


Ankit Singh Rauthan

April 27th, 2012 at 11:30 am

Sir, it was great reading your post, this is the basic fundamental for running a business but still very few people really do think about it, I guess most of the products in the market are running by just the support of marketing and luck, Even if one creates a product which does well in the market but is not that good as it should be, a newly launched but better portal can kill it with just a little promotion, like Facebook did to orkut, and on the other hand portal like w3schools which is another good product have all the good features and is built very nicely doesn’t really have any competitor as such, it’s just not about selling your products it’s about creating the culture and need for your product

I believe in your post “It’s never too late just do it better”

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