Product Launch Doomed

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  1. 1. By David Daniels
  2. 2. Is your product launch Doomed? 10 ways to identify an impending launch disaster2About the Author Dave Daniels is an instructor for Pragmatic Marketing with moreBusinessMarketing than 25 years of experience. PlanPositioningPlan Pragmatic He specializes in product MarketingMarket Market BuyingCustomer marketing and product launch, Problems Definition PricingProcessAcquisition Framework with an emphasis on effective go-to-market strategies and Win/LossDistribution Buy, BuildBuyer Customer A Market-Driven Model for execution. His extensive background includesAnalysis Strategyor Partner Personas RetentionManaging and Marketing development, sales, product management andTechnology Products DistinctiveProductProduct UserProgram product marketing, with a global perspective CompetencePortfolioProfitability Personas Effectiveness of the entire product launch process.STRATEGICTACTICAL MARKET STRATEGYBUSINESS PLANNINGPROGRAMS READINESSSUPPORT Prior to joining Pragmatic Marketing, Dave founded Launch Clinic, a consulting companyCompetitiveProductInnovation Requirements LaunchSales PresentationsLandscape Roadmap PlanProcess& Demos focused on helping organizations implement successful launch strategies. He speaks atTechnology UseThoughtSpecial many industry events about launch best-Assessment Scenarios Leadership Collateral Calls practices and writes the Launch Clinic blog.Status LeadSalesEventDashboardGenerationTools Support Contact Dave at ddaniels@pragmaticmarketing.comReferrals &Channel Channel References TrainingSupport 1993-2009 Pragmatic Marketing, Inc. Feel free to post this ebook on your blog or e-mail it to whomever you believe would benefit from reading it.Copyright 2009 Pragmatic Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.Copyright holder is licensing this under the Creative Commons License. Attribution 3.0.http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/Other product and/or company names mentioned in this e-book may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies and are the sole property of their respective owners.
  3. 3. Is your product launch Doomed? 10 ways to identify an impending launch disaster 3I always tried to turn every Products dont sell themselves The process of introducing a product to market is a serious undertaking. disaster into an opportunity. Unfortunately for many companies its merely an afterthought; a set of deliverables created from a checklist at the end of product development.John D. Rockefeller When the level of effort and resources applied to the creation of the product dwarfs that of the launch, its no wonder product launches fail to achieve the sales velocity anticipated. What follows are ten easily identifiable signs that help forecast if a product launch may be in trouble. Signs you can address and fix before the launch becomes a disaster. Only 38% of companies rank their launches as highly successful (source: Business-to-Business Launch Sur vey Executive Summary, Schneider Associates, Center for Business Innovation at Babson College, 2007)
  4. 4. Is your product launch Doomed? 10 ways to identify an impending launch disaster 4 1 There are no goals for the product launchLaunch goals are the cornerstone of a successful product launch, yet Goals help you channel many companies fail to establish them. CEOs have an expectation of what success looks like and believe the rest of the organization understands your energy into action. these expectations. But often they arent translated into meaningful goals, understood by the people tasked with planning and executing the launch. Les Brown For the sales team, goals are clearly understood. They have a quota to meet and get rewarded accordingly. For the marketing team their contribution to the goal is less clear. Sales leads are one measure of performance but connecting this measurement to a sales goal is often problematic. For example, getting agreement on a common definition of a lead. The target for Sales seems clear but will the revenue come from existing customers or new buyers? This question may seem benign to the sales team, but its fundamental 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 Action does becomes unclear, the marketing team often retreats into areas they canEstablish launch goals with control and manage. For example, focusing on deliverables like collateral, web the executive team as early as content and sales tools. In effect becoming reactionary to the sales teams possible and communicate them requests rather than taking a leadership role. in meaningful ways throughout the organization.
  5. 5. Is your product launch Doomed? 10 ways to identify an impending launch disaster 5 The launch strategy is based on a set of deliverables 2 from a launch checklist A launch checklist is not a launch strategy. It usually gets created after a failed launch. Expected deliverables are missing, the sales ensure the next launch wont be an issue, she creates a Project Management Office (PMO) to oversee future launches.An effective product launch checklist isdeveloped only after establishing launchgoals and then choosing the best strategy team isnt trained, the systems for bookingto support them. The checklist will change and delivering the sale are overlooked, and The head of the PMO is a highly regarded from launch to launch, adjusting to on and onproject manager who addressesaccommodate the strategy. Products early the problem by interviewing everyin their lifecycle, which are undergoing To prevent this problem from happeningdepartment in the company. Fresh fromsignificant change, will see a more dynamic again, someone is assigned to go around the recent failure, everyone is more process than a mature product with an the organization and ask each functionalthan eager to participate. The result is a established customer base undergoing area what they want for a successfulthorough checklist and a master projectonly incremental updates. All men can see these launch. The problem is that successfulplan template. is defined very differently by everyone, tactics whereby particularly if the launch goals are unclear. Confident the problem is solved, the PMO The result is a bloated wish list of activities proceeds to oversee the next launch. I conquer, but what with questionable value, often growingBased on the checklist, the launch team with each successive launch.knows whats expected and whichnone can see is thedeliverables they are responsible forThe CEO of a software company, completing. This time the launch is strategy out of whichfrustrated with poor results from an delayed by several months while eachvictory is evolved. important product launch, decides its item on the checklist is completed to thetime for action. Her reputation with the satisfaction of the PMO. Sadly, the revenueSun Tzuboard of directors is on the line becauseresults were no better than the last launch. Actionthe promised results were not realized. To Once launch goals are established, formulate the launch strategy and thendefine the deliverables.
  6. 6. Is your product launch Doomed? 10 ways to identify an impending launch disaster 6 The launch plan contains unrealistic timeframes and expectations3 Optimism is wonderful but it can blind teams to the realities of constraints andOptimism is the madness capabilities within an organization. Its wise to evaluate the organization within the context of the product being launched to identify readiness gaps. This isinsisting that all is well 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 achievewhen we are miserable. the launch goals.VoltaireWidget Tech was planning to introduce a new product to market. The productwas a departure from the typical products Widget Tech developed and wouldbe sold to a new set of buyers. The company was excited about the newpotential for revenue growth. However, the launch was a fiasco and it becameapparent the launch goals were unrealistic and the change was too much forthe 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 of the risks and provide a plan to address them. In Action some cases it will become evident the launch goals are too aggressive and will need to be adjusted.Evaluate launch goals againstthe ability of the organization toexecute. Then develop a plan ofaction to fill the readiness gaps.
  7. 7. Is your product launch Doomed? 10 ways to identify an impending launch disaster 7 Sales enablement training is based on product features Sales enablement training is one of the most critical components of aThe delivery of the right information to successful launch. Unfortunately most training is packed with information about the product emphasizing the newest features, the schedule of the the right person at the right time and marketing programs, an overview of sales tools, and a product demo.in the right place necessary to move a 4 This type of training lacks any insight or information to help individual salespeople achieve their sales quota. Successful salespeople solve problems specific sales opportunity forward. for their buyers, they dont sell features. Inevitably some of the product features your buyers find most valuable are not necessarily the newest ones,Lee Levitt or the ones you think are important or cool!Definition of sales enablement 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 Become an experton how and whyyour buye