You Should Be Able to Defend Every Feature

Adding new features to close deals is easy, but it leads to overly complicated “consultingtware” in the long run. Your teams should be able to defend every feature in the product. If not, there are reasons to say “no.” Should we ever add a new…

Adding new features to close deals is easy, but it leads to overly complicated “consultingtware” in the long run. Your teams should be able to defend every feature in the product. If not, there are reasons to say “no.”

Should we ever add a new feature into a product to close a deal?  No, of course not… right? Des Traynor of Intercom argues here that if we do, we’re simply building “consultingware” and will pay for it much later on.  So, tell those salespeople — NO — you simply won’t do it.

Here’s the thing, though:  Product Collective’s Co-Founders have served as product people… but have also been in sales roles as well.  So while it would be so easy to dismiss that salesperson’s request, we thought we’d pay homage to our Co-Founders’ sales roots and talk about times where we MIGHT actually want to add that feature after all:

Situation #1:  You keep hearing this over… and over… and over.

You shouldn’t add a feature in for just one customer.  But, what if all of the customers are requesting it? It’s true that the feature/product itself may have not been originally on the roadmap, but it is still important to listen to your customers.  If there is a clear need and it’s something that customers are willing to pay for (or it’s something that keeps those customers from leaving), it may not be a good idea to dismiss the notion of adding that feature/product right away.

Situation #2:  ….

Okay, we give up.  

Look, the reality is — a customer request should not lead to features and products getting slotted in just to get a deal closed.  And believe us… we do love helping our sales teams close deals however we can. But even in Scenario #1 above, just because we’ve heard a request even a few times doesn’t make it a must-add product/feature.  We do need to keep digging. We do need to make sure if it fits within our overall product strategy. We need to think about the future and make sure that that feature/product fits well with how the company and its product set will grow.

But, we can also cut that sales team a little bit of slack, too.  They certainly mean well. So, if you do tell them, “No” when they ask for that new feature because of a single customer request, please do it kindly.

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey
paul@productcollective.com

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a 15,000+ strong worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on Slack, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Lunch and get a weekly brief that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.