Which is more important – building the perfect product or sales ? This question is faced not just by product managers but also by entrepreneurs. It is very similar to a chicken and egg theory – which one came first. If there is no product, what will you sell and if there is a good product but no takers how will you manage your costs ?
Startups often enter into this infinite loop of building the best product and delay the launch. Let me try to break a few myths. There is never a perfect product. Neither is your idea so unique that it can’t be replicated. In fact products need to keep evolving to meet changing customer perceptions. Orkut was popular but it failed to evolve. Facebook on the other hand keeps evolving with API based integrations. Is Facebook perfect yet? No, its still a work in progress.
The focus for any product guy should be sales. The vice-versa need not be true. Start selling from Day 1 and gather valuable market feedback. This will help you develop the product further while the revenue ensures you don’t go bankrupt. It also tells you the loopholes in your idea (every idea does!) and whether to pursue it. Your idea might also be way ahead of time with few takers. Sales numbers gives you the naked truth.
The key aspect then moves to building customer relationship. Considering everyone has the same product why should the customer purchase the product from you? It is the relationship that drives the connect and ensures that sales happen. In fact sales can be looked at as the invisible bridge between product and customer. The strength of the bridge is directly proportional to the relationship with the client.
Customer is definitely the king as he has all the choices that he needs to make. But it is the relationship, which helps him finalize his choice. So what are you selling ?