Extra Features Cause $245,000 Loss

Internet Explorer dependency graph(complex IE dependency graph)

Robin Lowry has posted a story of a demo gone horribly wrong at The Product Management View. In the story, users end up confused by the myriad of features of the software – resulting in a $5,000 sale instead of a $250,000 sale.

The Quote

In ten minutes, the SE showed all of the specific capabilities the customer had identified. The SE then looked at his watch and noted that he fifty minutes left in the meeting.

He said, “Since we have some additional time, why don’t I show you some of the other capabilities our software offers?”

The Impact

“The users said the software looked too complex – they couldn’t visualize using the tool themselves,” responded the customer champion. “They got confused by all of the various functions and capabilities that were shown during the demo…”


Showing too much in this demo reduced the value of the sale from $250,000 annually to $5,000 annually – a negative conversion of $245,000 per year!

Their Conclusion

The SE (sales engineer) knew what the customer needed, and should have demoed only those features. The other features never should have been demoed. The additional demo contributed to what they call perceived complexity, causing the loss of significant sales.

Our Conclusion

While we agree completely about the demo, we suspect the features should never have been there in the first place.

Having too many features can create a barrier for new users (or potential customers) as this story shows. It also makes the software harder to use, causing reduced satisfaction and user adoption.

From our article, Goldilocks and The Three Products

suck threshold

… we see that too many features leads to unhappy users and reduced value. When the customer gets less value, we get less revenue.

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