Under the list of “Nice Problems To Have,” this one has to be near the top: a product that’s so popular you’re running out of potential new customers.
If we’re honest, a lot of what sales teams are forced to bring to market have their flaws, or at least some tradeoffs that make growing a base of customers a little difficult.
There are products that might not work as easily or as quickly as advertised. Other products may be functional, but need to be constantly recharged or break down with enough frequency that they develop a bad reputation. Then there are products that meet most purchasers’ criteria, but are so expensive that they are bought only by an elite few.
Reps might understandably yearn to be able to pitch a product that's affordable, functional and durable -- something that knocks it out of the park in terms of customer satisfaction, to the extent that it practically sells itself.
There’s just one problem. Once you’ve sold an outstanding product, your customer may not see the need to spend any more money with you. They’re happy with what they've bought, and to them, that's the end of the story.
These plateaus may not happen very often, but when they do, they might have reps either twiddling their thumbs or, worse, wondering if they should be leaving for another opportunity.
Of course, no one wants to sell a bad product, but a product that seems perfect (or so good it becomes irreplaceable) should be a catalyst for rethinking your strategy. A successful company should never be putting itself out of business. Instead, it's approaching growth in a way that isn’t tied to the merits of the product itself.
Think of this as a series of exercises you perform to stretch the success of your “too good” product even further:
If you’re only getting customers to buy the main item you have to offer, you're not getting the full value from your CRM. Period.
Although a tool like Sales Cloud can be invaluable in gathering the data you need about customers and prospects to close deals, that's not the only way you can use that data.
You should also be thinking about selling “up,” by offering a premium version, for example, or additional complementary products that make it even more valuable.
An example here could include a gorgeous handbag to go with a luxury winter coat in the consumer world. In B2B, it might be an enterprise software firm that not only sells storage hardware but software that lets customers sort and organize what they're storing.
Upselling and cross-selling are obviously not new ideas, but they can be overlooked when a product initially takes off and gains traction in the market. If your product turns out to be “too good" in some way, don’t give up on ways to make it better. Think of it as a cake that tastes great, but becomes absolutely irresistible with the right icing on top.
Your existing customers may not need to buy your product once they already have it, but let’s come back to the customers who passed. What were the reasons? In most cases, it’s because the products that become “too good" are seen as too expensive, too complex or too sophisticated for companies of a certain size.
Selling to large enterprises is a great move for a startup, or even for established firms when they’re offering an innovative new product. The only catch is that the number of large enterprises is finite — less than a thousand if you were to go by the Fortune 500 list, for instance.
In a country like Canada, the majority of firms are small and medium-sized businesses. These are potential customers who might be interested in a “Starter” or “Essentials” version of your product, which may not have as many features but which satisfies their needs. Winning those deals might not have the same margin, but they represent a long-term opportunity if some of those SMBs grow along with you and move to the larger, best-selling version of your product.
Occasionally this can work the other way too — where a product aimed at SMBs is enhanced for the enterprise — but that may require more capital investment and resources. Just don’t leave any stones unturned because a potential customer is not the same size as your existing ones.
Lots of products are also designed to work for businesses in any industry sector. And maybe they do — but one way to get more business from your existing base as well as new customers is to refine them to address the pain points of specific verticals.
Let’s say you’ve created a product that helps manage retail transactions. It might seem to work well for firms ranging from department stores to mom and pop shops. In certain scenarios, however, an organization might need to be more careful about how it captures and stores personal information due to privacy regulations, such as health-care institutions or educational firms.
Another example might be a productivity app that works well for those working in a large organization. A more specialized version of the app might appeal to those who work in a highly creative industry like advertising or the media, while still another might be able to address the needs of those whose every billable hour counts, like lawyers.
You’ll notice with all three of these exercises that the key is not to start with the “too good” product itself. The more you think about your customers -- the ones you already have, and the ones you might never dreamed of having -- the better you can think of the ways your product or approach can be fine-tuned.
There’s really no such thing as a product that's “too good” — just strategies that haven’t been developed to their fullest.