Sales Enablement for Launching a New Product
Creating new product or service offerings is one of the most common growth strategies. New offerings are often created in response to competitive pressures, gaps in the marketplace, or new technologies that enable greater innovation. In most businesses, the launch of new products and services is supported by training, demo scripts, pricing, competitive positioning, marketing collateral, and more. That’s all good stuff, but it’s not enough. Here are some best practices and worst practices for launching a new product.
Product Launch Mistakes
One of the most common pitfalls when it comes to launching a new offering is around the content and support that is delivered. Many months are typically spent defining and delivering sales training or product launch kits that are primarily focused on features and functions.
There’s little doubt that your sales team needs training, demo environments, battle cards, and other content typically developed to support a product launch. But the most important need for sales is an understanding of where the new product fits in the marketplace, how it solves buyers’ common challenges, and what types of conversations will resonate most.
Another big challenge is connecting marketing campaigns with what salespeople need to do and say. Marketing teams are often frustrated that there’s a disconnect between the product campaign to create demand and sales follow-through to convert that demand into business.
Finally, new product support often lacks ongoing sales enablement. Not only does sales need to know how to turn a new offering into compelling conversations, but they also need continuously updated content, tools, and virtual training. As the new product or service grows and changes so will the needs of buyers.
Driving Sales Mastery of a New Product Message
The goal should be sales mastery and adoption of the new product message as quickly as possible. That starts with salespeople and channel partners gaining confidence that the new product message will lead to results with customers.
Get everyone involved in creating the new message. Set up a cross-functional meeting with top salespeople, marketing stakeholders, and product leaders to define and document the new product strategy and implementation plan. Involving everyone’s expertise helps overcome gaps that usually arise when only one team is responsible for playbook creation. Make sure salespeople are involved in validating playbook content. This will help build credibility with the entire sales team when you launch the new product message. Testing new product messages with customers is another best practice. Ask friendly clients for feedback on your new product’s messaging.
Package the sales and customer-validated content in a sales-friendly playbook that is tightly connected with the new product demand generation campaigns. The best playbooks provide practical guidance for everything a rep needs to know, do, say, and show for the new product. That type of content ensures that salespeople are fully equipped to follow up on every marketing lead and have the best possible sales conversations.
New product launches often require an experiential training launch if the new product will push sales people outside their comfort zone. Experiential new product training can be delivered through large in-person sessions or by managers leading team meetings. Having experiential training means including application, simulation, and role-play. Right after launch, consider a “90-day sprint” to challenge the sales team with a set of milestones or activity goals that will lead to a robust pipeline for the new product. Celebrate early wins from the “90-day-sprint” to build momentum. Next, identify salespeople having success. Package what they’re doing, and how they are doing it for the rest of the sales team. These best practices can be delivered through on-demand training, webinars, or podcasts
What Success Looks Like
Waters continuously releases innovative laboratory instruments and technologies, and needed a new sales enablement approach that would reduce new product time to revenue. Waters created playbooks to help salespeople master each new product story faster and deliver the message more effectively in customer conversations.
Consultation with DSG
Have you recently launched a new product that needs an accelerator? Or about to release a strategic new offering? DSG has 25 years experience working with B2B companies to accelerate new product time to revenue. In a brief web meeting we can:
Share a new product playbook example
Show what goes into commercial launch plan
Show requirements and example agendas for new product training: experiential, virtual, and on-demand