Working out how long your product will take to sell is essential, even in the early stages. Financial realities tell you that there is no point producing the product only to find out that it takes 12 months to make your first sale. You might go bust waiting—many do. Remember your budget does not stop when development finishes the first version.
Calculating the sales cycle for upgrades and replacement software is obviously easier than doing so for new software, as you have existing data. For new products one technique is to find comparable products and draw parallels. Another is to poll your sales and marketing teams. Try and make the process as accountable as possible.
Look at similar products, and use from/to criteria to try and nail down your options. Beware of inexperienced staff that give you the answer they suspect you would like to hear.
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