Is Your Product Launch Doomed? 10 Ways

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  • 8/14/2019 Is Your Product Launch Doomed? 10 Ways

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    I Your Produt Launh Doomed?10 way to Identiy an Impending

    Launh Diater |Dave Daniel

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    Produt Dont Sell ThemelveThe proe o introduing a produt to market i a eriou undertaking.

    Unortunately or many ompanie, it merely an aterthoughta et

    o deliverable reated rom a heklit at the end o produt development.

    When the level o eort and reoure applied to the reation o the

    produt dwar that o the launh, it no wonder produt launhe ail

    to ahieve the ale veloity antiipated.

    Only 38% o companies rank their launches as highly successul.*

    What ollow are ten eaily identifable ign that help oreat i a produt

    launh may be in trouble. Sign you an addre and fx beore the launh

    beome a diater.

    I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. John D. Rockeeller

    *[source: Business-to-Business Launch Survey Executive Summary, Schneider Associates,

    Center or Business Innovation at Babson College, 2007]

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    First Sign: Tee ae gals te t la.

    Goals help you channel your energy into action. Les Brown

    Launch goals are the cornerstone o a successul product launch, yet many companies ail to

    establish them. CEOs have an expectation o what success looks like and believe the rest o

    the organization understands these expectations. But, oten, they arent translated into meaningul

    goals that are understood by the people tasked with planning and executing the launch.

    For the sales team, goals are clearly understood. They have a quota to meet and get rewarded

    accordingly. The marketing teams contribution to the goal is usually less clear. Sales leads are

    one measure o perormance, but connecting this measurement to a sales goal is oten problematic.

    For example: getting agreement on a common denition o a lead.

    The target or Sales seems clear but will the revenue come rom existing customers or new buyers?

    This question may seem benign to the sales team, but its undamental to the marketing team as

    they devise strategies and tactics to support the sales goal. When the connection between the sales

    goal and what the marketing team does becomes unclear, the marketing team oten retreats into

    areas they can control and manage. For example, ocusing on deliverables like collateral, web content

    and sales tools. In eect becoming reactionary to the sales teams requests rather than taking

    a leadership role.

    AcTion: Establs la gals wt te exetve team as eal as ssble

    a mmate tem meagl was tgt te gazat.

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    Second Sign:Te la stateg s base a set

    elveables m a la eklst.

    All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can seeis the strategy out o which victory is evolved. Sun Tzu

    A launch checklist is not a launch strategy. It usually gets created ater a ailed launch. Expected

    deliverables are missing, the sales team isnt trained, the systems or booking and delivering the

    sale are overlooked, on and on, etc., etc

    To prevent this problem rom happening again, someone is assigned to go around the organization

    and ask each unctional area what it wants or a successul launch. The problem is that successulis dened very dierently by each team, particularly i the launch goals are unclear. The result is a

    bloated wish list o activities with questionable value, oten growing with each successive launch.

    The problem i that ueul i defnedvery dierently by eah team, partiularly ithe launh goal are unlear.

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    Too oten, Ive seen the ollowing scenario play out.

    The CEO o a sotware company, rustrated with poor results rom an important product launch,

    decides its time or action. Her reputation with the board o directors is on the line because

    the promised results were not realized. To ensure the next launch wont be an issue, she creates

    a Project Management Ofce (PMO) to oversee uture launches.

    The head o the PMO is a highly regarded project manager who addresses the problem by inter-

    viewing every department in the company. Fresh rom the recent ailure, everyone is more than

    eager to participate. The result is a thorough checklist and a master project plan template.

    Confdent the problem is solved, the PMO proceeds to oversee the next launch. Based on the

    checklist, the launch team knows whats expected and which deliverables they are responsible

    or completing. This time the launch is delayed by several months while each item on the

    checklist is completed to the satisaction o the PMO. Sadly, the revenue results were no better

    than the last launch.

    An eective product launch checklist is developed only ater establishing launch goals and then

    choosing the best strategy to support them. The checklist will change rom launch to launch,

    adjusting to accommodate the strategy. Products early in their liecycle, which are undergoing

    signicant change, will see a more dynamic process than a mature product with an established

    customer base that is undergoing only incremental updates.

    AcTion: oe la gals ae establse, mlate te la stateg

    a te ee te elveables.

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    Third Sign: Te la la tas ealst

    tmeames a exetats.

    Optimism is the madness insisting that all is well when we are miserable. Voltaire

    Optimism is wonderul, but it can blind teams to the realities o constraints and capabilities within an

    organization. Its wise to evaluate the organization within the context o the product being launched

    to identiy readiness gaps. This is more than just getting the product ready. It means the entire

    organization is ready to market, sell, deliver and support at a level that can achieve the launch goals.

    An example:

    Widget Tech was planning to introduce a new product to market. The product was a departure

    rom the typical products Widget Tech developed and would be sold to a new set o buyers.

    The company was excited about the new potential or revenue growth. However, the launch was

    a fasco and it became apparent the launch goals were unrealistic and the change was too

    much or the sales channel to absorb within the time allocated.

    The key is to assess the organization objectively and not color the assessment with personal bias.

    This readiness assessment should provide management with a realistic picture o the risks and

    provide a plan to address them. In some cases, it will become evident the launch goals are too

    aggressive and will need to be adjusted.

    AcTion: Evalate la gals agast te ablt te gazat t exete.

    Te evel a la at t ll te eaess gas.

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    Fourth Sign: Sales eablemet tag s base

    t eates.

    Defnition o sales enablement: The delivery o the right inormationto the right person at the right time and in the right place necessaryto move a specifc sales opportunity orward. Lee Levitt

    Sales enablement training is one o the most critical components o a successul launch.

    Unortunately, most training is packed with inormation about the product emphasizing the newest

    eatures, the schedule o the marketing programs, an overview o sales tools, and a product demo.

    This type o training lacks any insight or inormation to help individual salespeople achieve their

    sales quota. Successul salespeople solve problems or their buyers, they dont sell eatures.

    Inevitably, some o the product eatures your buyers nd most valuable are not necessarily the

    newest ones, or the ones you think are important or cool!

    Salespeople need to know what problem the product solves, which buyers have the problem,

    what criteria they use to make a buying decision, and how to have a conversation with those buyers

    in a way that results in a purchase.

    AcTion: Beme a exet w a w bes b.

    Optimim i wonderul, but it an blind teamto the realitie o onsraint and apabilitiewithin an organization.

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    Fith Sign: Sgat et s set eatg llateal

    a sales tls ele w eve ea t.

    Your buyers want to know what specifc problems your product solves,and they want proo that it worksin plain lang uage. David Meerman Scott

    Ninety percent o sales tools are never used by salespeople [http://www.kadient.com/sales_enable-

    ment_ebook.aspx], yet marketing teams keep producing them. They also include a staggering

    amount o gobbledygook [http://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-

    used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.html]. Does it really matter to your buyer that youre the

    leading provider o anything or that your sotware is robust? Maybe; but it depends on the

    buyer, not your ego.

    Part o the problem occurs as a result o blindly ollowing a launch checklist that serves as a proxy

    or a launch strategy. Marketing Communications can easily become a actory producing a collection

    o marketing materials thats a wish list rom the sales team.

    But solidly anchored in launch goals, a clear strategy, and a deep understanding o buyers,

    Marketing Communications has the context to build the collateral and sales tools that infuence

    buyers throughout the buying process.

    Note: in this context, collateral is designed or prospects and customers, and sales tools are

    created or the sales team.

    AcTion: Fs gag a ee estag bes, te bl llateal

    a sales tls t fee tem tg te bg ess.

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    http://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.htmlhttp://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/top-gobbledygook-phrases-used-in-2008-and-how-to-avoid-them.html
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    Sixth Sign: n sgle es s essble

    vg t la eslts.

    Whatever happens, take responsibility. Anthony Robbins

    Many business-to-business (B2B) organizations have just one window o opportunity to launch each

    year. Accountability or driving results is undamental to the success o a launch, but too oten

    central accountability is assumed to be in place when its really distributed among several individuals.

    Development does their part and throws it over the wall to Marketing. Marketing does their part

    and throws it over the wall to Sales. When the launch ails, those in one group will condently state

    they made a solid contribution and blame the others.

    A successul launch takes more than merely coordinating the completion o tasks among depart-

    ments. It takes an individual who can drive results throughout the organization. A launch owner

    provides a single point o accountability, ensuring product launch planning and execution has the

    high priority it deserves.

    Getting involved as early as possible, a launch owner can collaborate with the management team to

    establish launch goals and the strategy needed to achieve them. With goals dened, a launch owner

    can assemble and lead the most appropriate cross-unctional launch team. Regardless o their current

    job title, the launch owner needs strong leadership skills and the condence that management will

    support them.

    AcTion: Assg te essblt aevg te la gals t a la we,

    a ve tem wt te fexblt a eses t make t ae.

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    Seventh Sign: Te la la s base es,

    t maket evee.

    Whatever happened to playing a hunch, Scully?The element o surprise, random acts o unpredictably? Fox Mulder

    Hunches may be great or gambling, but they can spell disaster or a product launch. Hunches are

    guesses based on gut eeling, not market evidence.

    Your hunch says you can steal customers away rom your primary competitor. Its exhilarating to do

    this, but would you bet the success o your launch on this strategy? You might, i you have market

    evidence the competitor is in a weak position, or is ailing to provide adequate service to their cus-tomers.

    Suppose your marketing team is planning to exhibit at a tradeshow to announce your new product.

    I your launch goal is to build sales velocity, how would you know i this is the right tactic?

    You would i there is market evidence that enough buyers o the kind you need will be in attendance.

    Market evidence helps mitigate the risk that a hunch will go wrong. It helps make sound business

    decisions and develop a launch strategy based on market acts rather than intuition.

    With an initiative as important as a product launch, there is no room or guessing.

    AcTion: Make la lag ess base maket evee, t gesses.

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    Eighth Sign: Te la la mms mett.

    I you mimic market leaders, youll only add to their dominance. Jon Spoelestra

    Just because one organization chooses a particular launch tactic doesnt mean it will work or

    another. It may seem like an easy option is to mimic your competitor. However, there are too many

    actors in play to guarantee the same tactic will have an equivalent outcome. Mimicking a competitor

    also assumes they are smarter than you.

    Choosing to mimic a competitor is the result o inexperience or a limited launch planning window.

    Its easier to copy something that appears to be successul than it is to develop a sound plan based

    on your own capabilities. Mimicking a competitor can lead to lost market opportunity, misdirection

    o resources, and loss o ocus. The context competitors use or a given launch could be completely

    dierent than the context o your product launch. Due to strong brand equity, companies like Apple

    can choose tactics that will work brilliantly or them, but may spell disaster or your company.

    AcTion: A tmate kwlege bes a te bg ess ves te best

    gae te mst eetve la tats.

    Jus beaue one organization hooe apartiular launh taci doent mean it willwork or another.

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    Ninth Sign: Exstg stmes ae t aeqatel

    see te la la.

    Proft in business comes rom repeat customers, customers that boast aboutyour project or service, and that bring riends with them. W. Edwards Deming

    Its staggering how many organizations ail to recognize the impact a new version o a product can

    have on existing customers. Theyre so ocused on acquiring new business, they orget about the

    current customer basethe ones theyve worked so hard to acquire and nurture.

    A new customer has an understanding that getting rom where they are today to ully deploying

    y...