Sales v Product

Is it tough to ‘sell’ products today? Companies that have traditionally poured 80% of their resources into Sales are looking to allocate the same percentage to Product instead.

Are today’s prospects exponentially more cynical about Sales reps? Has this shift in resource allocation contributed to consumer surplus? Consumers perhaps have a subconscious understanding of the existence of this surplus. The same absolute dollar investment in Product is bound to be more efficient (can scale better and marginal cost is zero) than an investment in hiring a Sales team (not to mention the challenges of developing a comp plan that works).

Not sure if consumers realize this but the price they pay for a ton of products/services today is significantly lower thanks to productivity gains driven by technology. The GDP metric does not capture any of this.

So then, should the public not worry about stagnant incomes?

I think not yet. Startups have to solve for ‘safety’ in Maslow’s hierarchy. We need some superstar entrepreneurs to solve for education and healthcare in partnership with the government. I am personally more optimistic about healthcare. Machine learning might hold the key to cure the Baumol’s cost disease plaguing both these areas.

A critical bottleneck to unlock the power of ML will be the availability of data to train models. But if ML is able to create the ultimate impact in these two industries what of the huge displacement of jobs (including white collar)?

Looks like this is not a Sales v Product post at all.



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