Vail Gives Us a Lesson on “Product vs. Sales” With It’s New Epic Mix Feature

I’ve talked frequently on this blog about how product has surpassed sales in driving revenue. As much as sales people don’t want to admit it and as much as many companies don’t want to admit it, the change has occurred and ignoring it won’t change things.

There is too much information available to consumers about products and services that deficiencies, lack of features, poor service etc., can not be overcome by even the best sales people in the world. Today’s most impressive and forward looking companies understand that investing in product is the best and most effective way to grow sales and Vail Resorts gets this as well as anyone.

Vail is my home mountain. I have a 2nd home in the Vail Valley. I’m a part-time ski instructor for Vail Resorts and have been singing Vail’s praises since moving to Colorado in 1989, to spend a season in Vail no-less.

In addition to the killer ski school, the amazing terrain, unbelievable service, excellent properties, food, and amenities, Vail Resorts does something to enhance their product, no other ski resort in the world does. They engage their visitors via a killer mobile app called, Epic Mix. I’ve talked about epic mix here before. It’s the app that tracked my 1 million plus vertical feet last year. Epic Mix has been a sick way to keep visitors connected to Vail and to share their on mountain experiences. And this year Vail are taken it to a whole new level.

Vail updates Epic Mix every year, adding cool and fun new features. However, this year Vail has made it’s biggest upgrade and it’s exactly how focusing on product drives sales. This year, Epic Mix has added a new feature called, Epic Mix Guide that allows skiers to create a customized map or guide that helps them get around the mountain.  When riders log in, they simple answer a few questions about their skiing ability, how much time they have, and the terrain they want to ski and BOOM! they are provided with a number of options to maximize their ski day. How fucking cool is this? Your own customized ski map.

As a ski instructor and local, I’m constantly asked where to ski, what the best runs are etc. When I go somewhere else, the first thing I do is look at the ski map and “try” to locate the best routes for the day, to figure out what my skiing itinerary is going to be. So, to have an application that does it for you, now that’s the goods. I know Vail like the back of my hand, yet, I’m going to try it out and see what I don’t know and hopefully learn a few things.

This is how you increase sales via product. Focus on the user experience, create a better experience than anyone else, give your users something to talk about and sales will follow.

Am I saying we don’t need sales organizations? NO! What I am saying is that focusing on your sales team, before you focus on the product is a mistake. Vail gets this and they are the biggest and most successful ski company in the world. Let’s let them teach us a little something.

Where’s your Epic Mix Guide gonna take you?