Can a B2B product sell itself?
Have you ever been out for a test drive, sampled some delicious chocolate at the supermarket, or used a free-trial for your favourite streaming service? These are all examples of a product-led growth. These types of journeys are commonplace within sales and marketing, and are not alien to B2B either. Product-led growth is what a large percentage of SAAS businesses rely on. So, can a product sell itself? Let’s explore that hypothesis.
Let’s say you’ve made a great product, and it fills a gap in the market. There will always be a small pool of ‘ready buyers’ who are waiting to snap it off your hands. This product is exactly what they’ve needed or wanted, and they’re already committed to buying your product the second it becomes available. It sounds like the hypothesis is yes so far. The crucial significance however, is that this group makes up such a small percentage of your general target consumer base. Maybe the product sells itself to this group. There is still an audience 10, 100, or 1000 times as large for whom your product is designed for, that you’ll be missing out on.
So yes, a great product will demonstrate its value, and it can be understood immediately, but to suggest something will sell itself is nothing more than a myth.
Reducing Uncertainty – Is This What Sales Is All About?
If you rely on your product’s quality and reputation entirely, you’ll likely fall flat on your face. Generally, the vast majority of people who buy aren’t looking for absolute certainty. They’re looking for as little uncertainty as possible.
Getting someone 90% convinced with your product quality and reputation alone is great, but it’s worth nothing if your competitor has a sales team who can ease a buyer’s uncertainty for the final 10% and complete a sale. People like to sit on the fence, and usually need a nudge, a recommendation, or a bit of expertise to guide them on the path. That’s where your sales and marketing teams swoop in to seal the deal. Afterall, you’re in the business of selling. Easing uncertainty is one of the biggest things in any B2B sales journey, and a product alone cannot ease uncertainty.
Telling Ain’t Selling
A lavish product demo is fantastic to explain the tangible features! You can demonstrate a superb price, an incredible AI feature, or fantastic integration. All the ins and outs. 9 times out of 10 though, telling someone what’s what, isn’t going to make someone want something. You have to create that desire. They have to need your product, not want it. Knowing what your audience needs is hugely integral to being able to sell your product. A product alone will never know what someone needs and deliver a catered, customised solution to them. Only your sales team can do this.
Are there exceptions to the rule?
Arguably there are no exceptions to this rule. While you might think a household name like Coca Cola would sell itself, they only do so because they’ve spent decades and decades building their brand. If that groundwork was not put in, the product would not sell itself, no matter how good it is. The same applies within the B2B space. While Microsoft might sell software to millions of businesses worldwide, it only does so now because it’s spent years cultivating a reputation. Having a great product does not mean it will sell itself at any level of business. I can practically guarantee that both Microsoft & Coca Cola have a pretty extensive sales team. If their products sold themselves, those teams would be pretty futile right…