New product launches can be exciting. They can be promising. But the truth of the matter is they’ll have little to no impact on revenue if your sales team doesn’t present your new product to their prospects and customers. Your new product launch isn’t about your new product, it’s about mobilizing your salespeople to sell it. One of the uppermost agenda items on your salespeople's minds is to avoid embarrassment in front of their prospects and customers. As a result, without adequate preparation, all the time, energy, resources, R&D, etc. you’ve invested in your new product will be wasted because it won’t come out of the bag. Period.
10 Tips To Guarantee The Success Of Your New Product Launch
- Don’t introduce too many products or services in too short a time. You'll confuse your salespeople... and the marketplace.
- Be sure you have worked out as many bugs as possible from mechanical or structural issues, delivery, pricing, warranty and pay plan before you release the product. Inspire confidence that the organization – and your new product – can support the expectations set by your salespeople.
- Have all sales tools, aids and marketing pieces totally completed and tested before the introduction. The collateral must precisely match the features, benefits and applications of your new product.
- Begin to train salespeople sufficiently before the introduction so they can have adequate time to gain a comfortable level of product mastery. People don't develop mastery of any subject or topic quickly. It takes time, preparation, accountability and real-world application.
- Determine every feasible question that salespeople will be asked about the product so they can be trained to respond. You don't want your salespeople to merely react to questions about your new product; you want them to thoughtfully respond so they'll be perceived as strategic partners, not walking catalogs.
- Teach salespeople all you can about the competition, comparison pricing, how the competition sells, and how you can expect competition to respond to your new initiative. There is little doubt your competition will respond in some way to your new product launch. Your salespeople need to have some idea of what they'll do or what they're likely to do.
- Be flexible and ready to update, modify or radically overhaul your product or support tools. To great salespeople, feedback is important. And great salespeople are not interested in providing feedback that is not heard or goes unheeded.
- Resist the temptation to deny facts or defend an indefensible position concerning the feedback you get from the field. Listen to your salespeople. They'll have front-line experience with what's going right – and wrong – with the new product launch. Be willing to course-correct.
- Continually modify your training methods as your product matures, faces competition, and your competition learns how to sell against your product, replicate it, or even improve it with their version. Your new product will face scrutiny, no matter how good it is. That warrants constant and consistent diligence to put stronger training in place.
- Understand that your sales team will go through a series of growth spurts, plateau, successes and failures as they learn how to sell the product. Expect bumps and plateaus. Then build momentum. Nothing is easy. That includes learning to sell something new. There will be highs and lows. Set the expectations for your sales team that this will happen.
Approach your new product launch thoughtfully and thoroughly. Premature or poorly executed new product launches are not uncommon. Don't waste all of the time and energy invested in the new product by neglecting to take into account what it'll take to get it in front of prospects and customers.
Published on April 22, 2014