Product launches are where all of your labor are realized within your product strategy. But it’s not the end of the product management process.
If you’ve aligned with marketing and sales, this is the start of successful selling. And that requires product management involvement too.
You’ll develop compelling messaging that makes the market stop and look at the product. Your launch plan will ensure the entire organization is ready to engage. And your product team will continue to champion the product all the way through execution of this plan.
The product group isn’t the only organization that benefits by aligning marketing, sales and product. Marketing and sales strategies fail when they are not aligned with product strategies. In fact, 44% of companies cite this reason for faulty marketing strategies. And 24% cite this reason for faulty sales strategies. (Source: SBI Magazine, Summer 2015, page 19)
When product, marketing and sales align, the following three steps go much smoother. And they result in a successful product launch, and more sales revenue. All the planning in the world will not overcome poor execution.
1. Develop Compelling Messaging:
The marketing team is ultimately responsible for creating persuasive messaging. But in order for them to do this, they need to understand the product. So first you must develop compelling messaging for them. Communicate the value of your product and why someone would buy it.
Buyers won’t figure out the value of your product on their own. To get the market to consider your product, you must spur them to action. This includes compelling value propositions and clear messaging.
Help your buyers understand the product instead of defaulting to the one with the best price. Align with Marketing to make this happen fruitfully.
Chris Wuhrer, Senior Director of Digital Product Management at Capital One shared interesting insight. His team reviews its product strategy every six to eight weeks. And they always involve the marketing group in the review. This way the product team can provide insight and data about new products. “Product strategy is always at the core of the sales and marketing plans,” he said. (Source: SBI Magazine, Summer 2015, page 8)
2. Plan a Successful Launch:
Is the entire organization ready to take the product to market? If the product team hasn’t prepared them, the answer might be no.
Your product group might be excited to get this product to market. But make sure the rest of the organization is just as ready. Skipping this step might leave you with a failed product.
Answer these questions to plan a successful launch and get the whole organization ready:
- What are your launch goals?
- Who is your initial set of target customers?
- What are your launch strategies? Land and expand, replacement, migration, upgrade?
- Who is responsible for launch preparation?
- What is your launch budget?
- What are your launch risks? What are the mitigations to those risks?
- Who are the buyers of your product? How are you going to reach them with the launch?
- How do you ensure organizational readiness for the launch?
- What does Marketing need to prepare for launch?
- What does Sales need to prepare for launch?
- What does Service/Support need to prepare for launch?
- What does Finance/Accounting/Billing need to prepare for launch?
- How do you plan to address competitive responses to your launch?
- How do you make the go/no-go decision for a launch?
- How will you measure success/failure before, during and after launch?
- How will you respond to these successes/failures?
3. Execute the Product Launch Effectively:
You’ve enabled the marketing team to produce compelling messaging. You’ve outlined your launch plan and made sure the entire organization is ready.
Now it’s time to execute.
All the planning in the world will not overcome poor execution. To execute effectively, the effort must be sustained.
New products die easily. Meet business objectives and overcome organizational and customer inclination by pushing through product fatigue.
To do this, consider these five things:
- Are you developing the product content needed to enable Sales and Marketing?
- Do you have the right training program in place to build product skills/knowledge?
- Does the team know what product enablement tools are available? Do they know how to use them?
- Are you incenting the marketing and selling of the new product?
- Are you measuring success and promoting quick wins that generate excitement?
These five things can keep the energy high around a launch. Consider them carefully, and reallocate resources as necessary.
Learn More from Our Strategists:
Planning and executing a successful product launch is a complex process. It can be made much simpler when you have the right tools in hand.
Learn more about what top performers are doing differently. Register for a How to Make Your Number in 2016 workshop today.