To be successful, there are two essential questions a marketing leader must answer:
- How am I going to educate my customers and prospects on the new product?
- How do I enable the sales force to sell the new product?
Answer these and you’re on your way to victory. But how? Below are five key steps to a successful new product launch. Follow them and you will educate your buyers and enable your reps.
Target Ideal Customer Profile
Often a new product comes out targeting a subset of your customer & prospect base. It’s not for everyone. Making the sales force figure this out on their own is a waste of time, money and resources. Reps need to know who in their territory wants to hear about the new widget.
8-12 months prior to launch, marketing should complete a segmentation analysis of their customer and prospect universe. The goal of Account Segmentation is threefold:
- Understand the size of the potential market for the new product
- Identify who is best fit to buy the new product
- Prioritize and maximize return on sales effort
The output of account segmentation is the clear definition of your target Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Target Buyer Persona Profiles
The target ICP identifies what verticals or accounts may be interested in the new product. But who are the individuals inside those verticals most likely to buy it? The next step to a successful product launch is identifying the target Buyer Personas. Buyer Personas answer the following key questions:
- What are the buyer’s objectives?
- What obstacles stand in his/her way?
- What’s important to the buyer?
- How is his/her success measured?
Your Buyer Persona research should answer these questions. And your new product must in some way positively address them. If it doesn’t, it won’t sell.
Buyer Problem the New Product Solves
Building on Buyer Personas, the next step in a successful launch is identifying the problem the new product solves. Often a new widget comes out and reps are trained solely on the bells and whistles of the new product. Here is the problem – the buyer doesn’t care. Buyers care about themselves and whether your widget can solve their problems. Marketing’s role is to educate the sales team on what those problems are… in the buyer’s language. Instead of product pitching, enable the reps to start with the buyer’s problem and build from there.
Buying Process Map
A Buying Process Map (BPM) captures your customer’s journey to a purchasing decision. It includes the unique stages in the journey as well as the key buyer actions within each stage. As your buyers progress through the BPM, they are asking themselves numerous questions. Each question is a concern, fear or obstacle that must be addressed. As questions are positively answered, the buyer progresses further along their journey to purchase. The best reps can spot where their buyers are on the BPM and the questions they are asking themselves. Armed with Buyer Persona knowledge, top reps pull buyers along the BPM.
You need to map the buying process for the new product – by persona. Chances are there is going to be a different buying process for the new product versus the legacy product. It’s particularly true for groundbreaking products buyers are seeing for the first time.
BPMs also provide a framework for your content creation. The key to Content Marketing is delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Without a BPM, content delivery is hit or miss – either behind or ahead of the buyer.
A Demo Deck is a very practical way to educate buyers on the new offering. It also enables the sales team to sell the new product effectively. A demo deck is a standardized presentation on the new product. Most come in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. You want reps delivering a consistent message to your target customers. A simple solution is a standard demo deck.
Call to Action
What’s your new product launch strategy? Does it consist of webinars on the product features of the new offering? If so, you are in trouble. As the marketing leader, your neck’s on the line as much as the sales leader for a successful release. If you’re going to get it right, you must (1) educate your buyers and (2) enable your sales force. Follow the five recommendations above and your chances for success will be greatly increased.