A Product Demo is More About Listening than Talking
Andrews shares some invaluable life lessons about building a product from scratch, and how to get there.
March 1, 2022
3 min read
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Throughout my professional career, I have always been in customer-facing roles. When I started at Zoho, I was on the phone most of the time demonstrating the product. I enjoyed every bit of it - helping customers maneuver their way through the product, suggesting improvements in their business process, fixing bugs, etc. The most fulfilling part of my day was hearing glowing comments from impressed customers. After I started traveling and meeting customers in person, it was amazing to watch them use the product with pride and happiness. One important thing I learned while doing thousands of demos was to get the customer’s requirements before the call. This helped me customize my demos and get to the ‘wow’ moment quick, and leave the customer wanting to use the product.
I was soon tired of working night shifts and also decided to move to Canada to do my MBA in an attempt to avoid my parents’ attempts to get me married. :)
When I joined Freshdesk, I had zero product training. Girish hired me and immediately started passing leads to me to start converting. This was a different experience from Zoho, as Freshdesk was a new product in the beta stage. Absolutely no brand recognition. But I heard customers say things like “You guys thought through it, that’s awesome”, “wow I love it!” and it was a wonderful feeling. I was proud of our team as the product almost sold itself. However, being in front of customers, listening to feedback, and helping the product team build new features to enable us to attract more customers was something I enjoyed. I envisioned solutions to customer problems and would communicate it to the team. They would then use that to make the product even better. It was great to watch the product evolve. (From 40 odd beta customers to 55000 customers today!) An important skill I learned at Freshworks being part of an early-stage company was to pass every feedback I receive from customers to our product team. Most of it did not make sense, however, the more information they had, the better their product prioritization was.
Now, meeting a Tenantcube customer and listening to them talk about how awesome our platform is and how we save them tons of time is just more exhilarating than before. I have never felt this kind of excitement when I was selling at Zoho or Freshworks. Tenantcube is closer to my heart - something I worked really hard on, for months. To see it come to fruition and customers loving it makes it all worth it. Being a product manager didn’t come to me intuitively, I applied a lot of the lessons learned at Zoho and Freshworks to ensure I listened to my customers.
When I left Freshworks, I wanted to get out of tech sales and build a real estate business. Circumstances led me to research the market and look for a solution to a lot of initial land-owner issues. I did not find the solution, but I found my true calling instead - to build a platform for myself and other landlords like me. You can read about my story here.
From finding a technical founder to building a team during a pandemic, raising funds, hiring people, learning new skills, leading a team - I had no experience and made a lot of mistakes along the way. But I learnt from every single one of them. I am not perfect and none of us are. However one thing we don’t need a lot of skills for, is to listen to our customers and the need of the market. Tenantcube has evolved tremendously over the months simply because we listened to customers like Marissa. Our responsibility is to make our platform a little better every day and not try to become a magically perfect solution overnight. We will get there, one step at a time, all the while listening to our customers.
So if you’re building a product, don’t focus on perfection. Launch what you have today, listen to your customers, build what they need. And things will fall into place.