If you are going to make your new product revenue goal next year, make sure you have the necessary sales enablement tools. Use the following as a roadmap for executing this in your organization.
CEOs with a “bet-the-company” new product launch cannot afford even the hint of failure. Most CEOs do the basics as part of launch planning; things like the following:

 

  • Conduct market research to understand the problems of your customers
  • Determine the product is a “must have” rather than a “nice to have”
  • Validate the market will pay to solve these problems
  • Launch marketing campaigns to generate interest
  • Train the sales force and channel partners on the new product

     

But many omit the need to specifically enable their sales force ahead of time. Does your plan address getting the entire sales force ready to sell your new product? This is very different than product training.

 

To get an understanding of how prepared your sale force is for a launch, download the Sales Enablement Gap Tool. With this tool, you will be able to leverage 15 Sales Enablement Best Practices, identify areas where you fall short in these best practices, and develop a plan of action going forward.

 

Who Is Responsible for Sales Enablement of a Product Launch?

 

For some it is the product management function. For others Product Marketing. And many, possibly even most, it is a stand-alone Sales Enablement group. In any case, if you leave it to the sales force to enable themselves with a little help with internal trainers, you can almost guarantee trouble. The Product has the most at stake so they should be heavily involved. Marketing will be master of the new message surrounding the new product. And Sales enablement will know the best techniques to engage the sales force. One way or the other, all 3 groups need to collaborate.

 

Are yours?

 

Here is what they should be doing:

 

  • Set territory revenue/unit goals by product
  • Teach the sales force about the Buyer problems the new product solves
  • Provide Messaging for reps  to say on sales calls
  • Create Customer-centric demo decks and business case examples
  • Distribute Marketing campaign schedules
  • Build out a Product launch team directory

     

If You Don’t Have the Sales Enablement Tools to Launch Successfully, This Is Where You Should Focus Your Efforts

 

Consider messaging on how to beat the status quo. More often than not, sales are not lost to a competitor; they are lost to “do nothing.” The case for change is not compelling enough for the customer to take action. Some companies feel this is a moral victory: “We didn’t get beat by our biggest competitor. The customer isn’t doing anything. We didn’t really lose.” Yes, you did. You had a customer actively considering your solution who decided the pain of the current state was less than the pain of changing. Your message was not powerful enough to beat the status quo.

 

Sales must be able to articulate why your new product is better than the status quo. They need to be able to show the customer how deploying this new product will significantly improve the buyer’s life. A new button or feature will rarely improve your buyer’s life; providing a solution that makes your buyer more money and a promotion will. Your sales team needs this from you to make your product launch.

 

Do Your Sales Reps Know What Marketing Campaigns Directly Impact Their Territories?

 

They should. What if there is interest from someone in their territory? The sales rep in San Francisco and the marketing team runs a campaign to companies in my territory should both know this. Armed with that info, they can participate or least be available to those prospects who are now interested in the new product. Enabling your sales force with tools like this will help make sure your new product launch is a success.

 

The following quote from a Harvard Business Review article sums up this challenge:

 

The biggest problem we’ve encountered is lack of preparation: Companies are so focused on designing and manufacturing new products that they postpone the hard work of getting ready to market them until too late in the game.”

 

If you are going to make your new product revenue goal next year, make sure you have the necessary sales enablement tools. Use the following as a roadmap for executing this in your organization:

 

  • Assess – Use the Sales Enablement Gap Tool to determine how prepared you are to launch new products.
  • Plan – Develop a plan to bridge the gap between product, marketing and sales. Don’t allow your team to stay at 30,000 feet with this. Highly tactical tools, information and training are required.
  • Launch – Ensure your sales team is ready. Focus your sales kickoff meeting on sales enablement rather than product feature updates. Conduct regular reinforcement sessions with your teams focusing on your enablement tools, successes and failures.

     

We offer free assessments of your current sales enablement process. You can reach us here to discuss how you can improve this aspect of your product launch process.

 

If you are a CEO whose success this year depends on selling a lot of a new product, or a VP of Sales who has been given a quota for a new product and doesn’t know how it will get hit, or a VP of Marketing who needs to generate leads for a new product and is unsure how to do it, please reach out.  We can help.

 

To get an understanding of how prepared your sale force is for a launch, download the Sales Enablement Gap Tool. With this tool, you will be able to leverage 15 Sales Enablement Best Practices, identify areas where you fall short in these best practices, and develop a plan of action going forward.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Estrella

Helps clients grow by creating innovative go-to-market strategies.

Eric specializes in helping clients solve some of the most prevalent go-to-market problems in today’s complex selling world. He is an expert in many industries including software, telecommunications, ecommerce, manufacturing and technology. He helps them align strategies and develop go-to-market programs to lower the cost of customer acquisition and increase customer lifetime value.

 

Recently he developed corporate, product, marketing and sales strategies for an emerging telecommunications solution provider that resulted in a quadrupling of revenue and EBITA in two-year span.

 

Eric’s background in strategy, sales operations and enablement allows him to provide thought-leadership in emerging best practices in sales and marketing.

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