As a business owner, product manager, or marketer, it’s very natural to be enthusiastic about your new product or service launch and, even a bit impatient to see revenue coming in from it.
Usually, by the time we are ready to turn our sales teams loose with our new offering, there is an urgency to get them selling and closing in very short order.
But, one of the first things you’ll need to do is very simple, but often overlooked—explaining the “why.”
Senior leadership and product leadership have usually lived the “why” for some time leading up to launch. From building business cases to market research, development, and testing, leadership teams will usually have a good grasp on why the market needs the offering and can articulate its value and benefits.
Leadership also generally understands the reasons why the new offering is important to the company and, hopefully, the vision for how it fits into their current portfolio.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of not explaining this foundational information for your offering to the sales team and instead jumping directly into the how-to-sell-it part.
This is a mistake.
For Sales to truly get behind your offering and hang with you during the rough patches of your launch, they must understand what the new offering is intended to achieve and why it was created in the first place.
Take the time to explain why it’s beneficial to your customers (at a high level), how it works with the strategic vision for the organization, and how it is intended to fit within the current product or service portfolio.
For multi-product portfolios, this explanation should depict a framework that enables Sales to prioritize your product launch in relation to their current priorities. Senior leadership needs to echo this message for it to be effective and stay with it over the long term. Otherwise, left to their own devices, Sales will decide on their own how to prioritize selling efforts across products.
Since it will always be harder to learn and sell something new versus a proven performer, your launch will more than likely sputter if the entire organization is not in unity around priorities.
Prioritization is still important even if you plan to have a sales team dedicated to your product. If senior leadership does not place the proper focus on your offering in the context of the entire portfolio, then your launch can starve for lack of resources and attention.
This means that from the time a new offering is conceived, the business must position it in such a way that it can viably compete within its own portfolio. It must have comparable price points, potential sales volume, and other similar characteristics that will make it attractive to sell.
You’ll also need to set expectations for Sales and help them to understand the support that is available from across the organization to make their efforts successful.
If you take the time to explain the “why” and communicate clear priorities, you stand the best chance of creating a dynamic and effective product launch.
This post is adapted from an excerpt of The Product Launch Primer, available on Amazon now.