Product Leaders work all year to get ready to launch new products. Next year’s revenue plan hinges on the success of these new products. Make sure you have the right processes and practices in place so that your new product launches as a success

All hard work has been completed. Your organization is ready to launch your brand new product going into the new year. The Product organization has done all the pre-launch planning correctly. The Marketing function has created the necessary collateral to educate the market. And the Sales team has been trained and is ready to hit the ground running. All that is left is actually executing the launch and meeting the ambitious 2019 forecast.

 

It is this moment that, as a Product leader, your heart sinks a little bit. You know that despite all the great planning and preparation that success ultimately comes down to execution. You also know that customers are going to have feedback once the product is released and your ability to incorporate that feedback, and make agile changes, is imperative. And finally, you now need to balance the priorities and demands of the new year with properly launching the new product you’ve just spent the last year building.

 

Download the Market Problem and Solution Ideation Design Tool to organize all the market feedback you have captured in one single location, dimension the feedback by personas, customer type and product issue so you can more seamlessly address the root causes, and collect ideas for solutions based on what feedback is being heard from the market and develop a plan to go implement the best solutions.

 

So, how, as a Product Leader, do you ensure you see the launch through the critical execution phase and drive towards the forecasted goals? There are four best practices to do this.

 

  1. Develop a Market Listening Plan

     

    A Market Listening Plan is a best practice amongst outward-in Product Leaders. This plan helps ensure that the organization is constantly capturing feedback from customers and prospects on the new product. Having this plan in place focuses the organization on not wiping their hands clean once the new product has been launched. Rather, it’s a mandate to keep listening to what the market is saying about the product and where there are opportunities to improve.

     

    Critical components of this plan include who we are listening to, what type of information we want to listen for and how pervasive the market feedback is across customers and prospects. Having a Market Listening Plan is then supported by the second best practice – having a Feedback Loop.

     

  1. Develop a Feedback Loop Process

     

    The feedback loop process will take the learnings captured from the market listening plan and disseminate the information across the organization. A feedback loop will close any gaps in information from customers and prospects slipping away. This process is cross-functional in nature as its success involves many different parties.

     

    The Sales team is heavily involved as they are the ones who will be capturing a majority of the information from the market. The Marketing team is involved as they will need to be tailoring content and messaging based on what the market is saying about the product. And the Product team needs to be at the center of this ensuring information is being acted on and communicating that back out to the rest of the organization. The best place and way to capture the feedback is done by the third best practice – having a tracking system for all the market problems and solution ideation.

     

  1. Design a Tracking System to Capture Market Problems and Solution Ideation

     

    All the feedback that is captured needs to be done so systematically and in an organized fashion. While it may seem tactical, missing this best practice will cause confusion on what is truly the issue and what solutions exist to solve the problem.

     

    The focus of the tracking system centers around two items – the market problem and the possible solution(s).

     

    Best practice here is to set up an internal database to collect this information and make it available to customer-facing functions. This can be done with technologies and systems, or it can be done simply by using a spreadsheet to start (here is a Market Problem and Solution Ideation Design Tool if you are looking for inspiration on where to start). In either case, the real value in having this system is to ensure the problems and solutions are identified, prioritized and then acted on. Having a Backlog Management Process to ensure action is being taken is the last best practice to consider.

     

  1. Implement a Backlog Management Process

     

    The Backlog Management Process will create clarity and alignment in the organization on which market problems and solutions are being addressed first vs. second vs. third. A typical Backlog Management Process highlights to the organization what is being worked on now, by whom and what the status of the updates are.

     

    Emerging best practice calls for the Product organization – who owns this process – to involve other functions in the solution ideation. Organizations who truly have this process down highlight to the organization what are the next set of problems that will be worked on, and why. This transparency to the organization helps ensure that the Marketing and Sales teams are communicating the right messages to the market and not overpromising on future updates that aren’t in the queue. The Product organization will need a strong individual to lead this effort as they can expect a lot of “requests” for re-prioritization of issues from the field. When this happens, the individual needs to be able to clearly communicate what is being focused on now, why and when it will be complete.

     

Most organizations this time of year are preparing their new product launch. It’s an exciting time and highlights the progress of the company as a whole. It’s also likely a critical component of the following year’s revenue plan.

 

Help ensure that your organization is ready to roll out this new product today by having the proper post-launch monitoring and feedback processes in place. The entire customer-facing organization will benefit from this.

 

Download the Market Problem and Solution Ideation Design Tool to organize all the market feedback you have captured in one single location, dimension the feedback by personas, customer type and product issue so you can more seamlessly address the root causes, and collect ideas for solutions based on what feedback is being heard from the market and develop a plan to go implement the best solutions.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Korten

Helps companies make their number and grow revenue by using a data-driven approach to solving problems.

Dan joined SBI in 2012 and has mastered many roles within the firm’s Consultant Team. Most recently he became Client Success Manager, where he oversees and ensures project quality, consultant team development and client satisfaction.

 

Dan is an expert problem solver, which he achieves through data-driven decision making. When advising clients, he incorporates market segmentation, account segmentation, revenue & budget planning, sales organizational strategy and sales operations strategy.

 

Dan has also deep experience solving multi-functional organizational alignment issues impacting revenue growth. Expertise in private equity due diligence & screening, product strategy, buyer segmentation, demand generation strategy, sales territory optimization and talent strategy round out his broad base of knowledge in problem solving.

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