Consumer companies say ship early and ship often. For an enterprise company, I think the best advice is demo early and demo often. We got our noses bloodied in early demos. But after a year of that, we’d heard every question a potential customer could throw at us.
Two things happened as a result. First, we were ready with an answer. Second, and more importantly, we knew what to build.
Having someone tell you they can’t use your product because it doesn’t have feature X or Y is a great thing. Because when you demo enough, you start hearing the same things again and again. And those are the things you most need to implement and also what you need to talk about the next time you demo.
We still make a point to demo as much as we can before fully implementing new features. For example, we have a new product that we’re coming out with soon. Today, I was demoing to 15 people at a very large company. It's probably the third time I’ve demoed the new functionality outside our company. And they were really excited about it.
The reason it went so well is because we’ve been listening to customers and potential customers, refining our pitch, refining our product, refining everything. And now we’re coming out with features that no one else has in this space.