• Matt Wolach

"The Product Sells Itself"​

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “The product sells itself.” I mean you may have even said it.

Time to stop saying it.

It’s so easy to think: we have this amazing product, it’s so simple to use and saves a ton of time for people in this industry. Of course it’s the product that does the selling for us.

No, it isn’t.

If having a great product was all that was needed to sell, then why do some of the best companies in the world spend billions of dollars on sales and marketing efforts?

Salesforce spends 46% of its operating budget on sales & marketing. FORTY SIX PERCENT!

Oracle spends 22%, Microsoft 16%, and even Google spends 12% (just grab your calculator to figure out what that total number is, ha!). These are all much more than the “recommended” 10% spend (by the way, if you’re a SaaS startup, or any startup for that matter, you should be spending much more than 10% trying to promote and sell your product if you really want it to take off).

You know what really sells a product? People. The marketing team and the sales team (and sometimes the founders doing both) out there hustling everyday applying their expertise to win over hearts and minds.

I can tell you first-hand that when someone in the organization says “the product sells itself”, it demoralizes the sales team. Here they are putting in blood, sweat, and tears to try and convince people to sign up.

If you say the product is the reason for success then it belittles their work and their efforts.

Much better would be to say the sales and marketing teams work hard to showcase a product that has been well designed and thought out by the product and development teams and well supported by the customer service team. Be a leader and let them know how grateful you are for their efforts in your actions and your words.

For a success story to happen in SaaS, it truly is a full team effort.