Our job in the product organization is to create products that can sustain a business. Make no mistake about it: Everything depends on strong products.
Without strong products, our marketing programs require customer acquisition costs that are too high; our sales organization is forced to get “creative,” which drives up cost of sales, lengthens the sales cycle, and puts downward pressure on price; and our customer success organization is forced to take it on the chin every day with frustrated customers.
The downward spiral continues because the sales organization loses a lot of deals when they try to compete with a weak product. So, what do they do? They start yelling at you about all the features you don't have, and the competitor they lost to who does, which typically just makes the bad situation even worse. And then you start complaining about working at a sales‐driven company.
Many of you may be thinking I've just described your company. Sadly, I find this to be the state of affairs in far too many companies, especially those with either a direct sales organization or an advertising sales organization.
This entire book, in one way or another, is intended to prevent or correct this situation. However, in this chapter, I talk about what I consider one of the most powerful techniques we have to ensure and prove we have a strong, viable product and prevent the situation I've just described.