It’s easy to find information on how to build new products. For instance Ivan Kan, Co-founder of crowdfunding marketing agency Crowdcreate, talks about making products that people want. But often there’s an oversight regarding when you need to develop a new product. You need to recognize when to do so, sooner rather than later. Let’s look at 5 signs that you should watch out for.
1. Slow or No Growth
Short-term sales glitches can occur any time and shouldn’t be too alarming. However, if you’re seeing faltering sales numbers for an extended period, it calls for some serious introspection. If you’ve ruled out issues such as the economy, competition and sales force quality, then you may need to take a look at your product line. It might be time to introduce a new product.
2. Competition from Unheard of Companies
Do you find yourself competing with a company you haven’t heard of before? If yes, that company probably found a way to jump in to the market with new products (possibly new technology that’s not necessarily too expensive)which could hit your sales hard. Despite the fact that your products may not be inherently problematic, better products and innovation from new players can very easily dominate the market.
If you’re seeing this happen, it’s a good time to think up a new product/service that can compete with the new entrants. The status quo thinking will not be helpful at all. In a Forbes article, respected author and psychotherapist Amy Morin talks about how status quo is the real enemy, not the competition. And in business nothing spells status quo like a dated product line.
3. Pressure to Reduce Prices
If you’re facing increasing pressure to reduce your prices, this can be another indication to develop a new product. Nobody likes to complete just on the price. And you don’t have to do that if you’re offering a clearly superior product in the market. Pratik Dholakiya, Founder of Growfusely, notes how you can command premium prices by exceeding customer expectations. And you can do that with superior products.
People understand that new products will ultimately run their course and eventually be thought of as mere commodities. When that happens, you have two options – lower your price or improve your product. You can’t expect people to pay more for your stuff if they can’t see more value in it. Better products break the vicious cycle of lower prices and lower margins.
4. High Sales Force Turnover
The best salespeople want to win clients to make more money. If they have a hard time competing, they can’t make customers or make money. This leads them to look for better opportunities. While you’ll always have a turnover, if it’s higher than normal, something’s wrong. Probably with your products.
It can also be due to a bad compensation scheme or a sales manager who’s not fitting in. But if you’ve ruled out such issues, you should focus on your products. Because if you start pressuring your salespeople to sell more without addressing the main issue of poor products, their morale will drop further and so will your revenue.
5. Customers Want Unacceptable/Impractical Changes
Are a lot of your customers asking to make product changes that you don’t want to or can’t make? It can be a sign that your product is no longer meeting market needs. This is especially true to if the customer requests for changes are accompanied by statements like “So and so company offers this…”.
Consider this an indication that you’re not keeping up to evolving customer needs. You need to catch up or better yet leap ahead into the market. Developing a new product might be the best way to do that.
So, do any of these signs look familiar? You can also take a proactive approach right now to find out which of the above may be happening to your business. Sometimes it’s easy to miss them. In any case, you should remember the importance of offering first-rate products. And that often means developing a new one when you thought you didn’t need to. Look for the signs and take action accordingly. After all, your product is arguably the most important element of your marketing mix.
Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. She specializes in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.