Maybe its time to take a closer look at your product launch process.
For product launches to be successful, and be successful quickly, requires more than the “promotional plan”, which is where many marketers start and stop. Most product launches fail due not to product design flaws, but because of a poor launch plan. The three areas of failure are; lack of planning, lack of coordination between sales and marketing, and lack of coordination between marketing and production.
At The W Partners, we have a product launch process built upon best practices. The foundation is three-fold – First, we provide ongoing project management to supplement our client’s team. Secondly, we offer easy-to-use tools and templates to help them quickly gain momentum and cloud-based smart-sheet tools for easy tracking and accountability. Lastly, and most importantly, we ensure coordination across the organization.
Now, for the best practices. We have found that the following 6 areas create a fail safe plan for a successful launch. Missing one of these could aversely effect the trajectory of your launch and missing more than one could cause failure.
1.) Sales and Marketing Coordination.A huge roadblock occurs when the marketing team doesn’t fully understand the customers needs and the sales team doesn’t fully understand the marketing pitch. Our solution is to create a Sales and Marketing Must-Haves Contract.
2.) Account Management.Too often, sales teams use a shotgun approach, selling to everyone and everywhere. They lack focus. This shotgun approach also makes it harder to manage through leading KPI’s. Our solution is to identify the ideal account mix and lay out a precise action plan to penetrate the target accounts. Then test, tweak, learn and validate.
3.) Pitch Development. Often, the pitch to the trade is not impactful because of a flawed design or delivery of the pitch. Our solution is to have what we refer to as “pitch validation and control.” The deliverables are: A Pitch Deck (this is an art in itself so it isn’t a snore fest) and a Sales Call Schedule and Resource Calendar. There need to be clear action steps from one meeting to the next because let’s face it, sales people can be slippery (no offense, we are all sales people at one time or another.)
4.) Promotion Plan (offline, online, trade, spending, discounts, etc.) The problem is these are often not focused enough and/or they are not implemented on time. The goal is to have it far enough in advance to alert your team members. Our solution is to do a campaign validation. We take a look at what you have in mind and ensure that it is the right mix. One simple example, you may have a geo-targeted Facebook with radio planned, but for it to work, you must ensure you have good penetration in that area. Therefore you need to be talking with customers to get them aligned.
5.) Service Level / Inventory Management. The problem here is that too often there is not enough inventory to service customers or there is too much slow-moving inventory. The solution is marketing and supply chain alignment. Our solution is to ensure that marketing and supply chain agree on multiple ‘what if’ scenarios to ensure accurate sales forecasts.
6.) Executive Team Reporting. New product launches are critical business activities but they often suffer from inadequate communication with and reporting to the Executive Team. Our solution is regular and concise reporting. The documents to support this are the launch plan (target customers, timeline, volume forecasts, spending plan, P&L) and regular updates and communication through cloud-based apps.
One of The W Partners mantra’s is that we help companies and brands become unforgettable. Companies can go a long way to becoming unforgettable through a carefully orchestrated and integrated product launch process.
Looking for help on your product launch strategy, give us a call! 717-278-3900 We want you to be unforgettable!