Knowing how to launch a new product can be incredibly stressful.
No one knows exactly how the new product will fare in the market — whether it will be a huge success or a massive failure.
However, sales can do more to help with a product launch than just start selling the product to the best of their abilities. Sales should start to work with other departments within the organization long before the launch, to ensure reps are not only starting to pitch the new product, but prepared to do so effectively.
Here is a product launch checklist that every sales manager should use to prepare the sales team for the launch of a new product from the first day it’s on the market.
Create a Value Proposition
Your company already has a powerful value proposition, but every new product needs one too. As your engineering team is building out the new product, they should have a business use case clearly in mind. Meet with them and fully understand how they believe the new product will be used by your customers, and their goals for the finished product.
Then, use that information to create a succinct value proposition for the new product long before the actual launch. Marketing and sales should work together to build out a value proposition that reflects how the product will (hopefully) be used by customers. Your sales and marketing efforts should be fully aligned, so that marketing is driving in qualified leads who understand the same value proposition you will then sell. Sales can later test out the value proposition through conversations with prospects to see whether it’s truly compelling to the market.
Build Talk Tracks
After you have your value proposition, the next logical step is to write some creative and engaging talk tracks to help guide your reps on the phones. This talk track will be helpful to everyone — from your newest reps to your most experienced employees. Make sure to give examples of how they can incorporate this talk track into their existing pitch for your other products, including some examples of easy transitions or use cases that may come up.
Even better, include an eBook or a blog post that reps can later send out to prospects interested in learning more about the new product. Make sure you use the new collateral that your marketing team has built out for the launch, so you can better engage with prospects who are just learning about this new product.
Train Your Team
Selling a completely new product is always a challenge, and requires significant training and preparation of your team. Make sure every single rep has sat in on a product demo, played around with the product in their free time, and fully understands the various features and capabilities. Obviously it depends on the product you’re selling, but you have to make sure that every rep is able to explain the ins and outs of the product without stumbling or making mistakes.
Sales also must understand the target market for the new product in order to sell it effectively, especially if this is a new segment or audience. This training is vital to not only their selling success, but ultimately, predicts the success of the product itself. If your team is not trained well, they will not be able to sell the product well either. All of the work that your entire company has done to launch a new product will be for nothing if you do not put in the necessary work to prepare your sales force.
Launches can drive greater brand awareness and publicity, so there’s likely to be an influx of new leads right after the product launch. Make sure your team is prepared to deal with a potential flood of new leads, and ready to jump on every opportunity. A new product launch is also the perfect conversation starter for sales reps in almost any situation. The new offering could also be the right time to reach out to cold leads and re-engage with them. People who may not have have been at all interested before may change their minds if they see potential in this new product.
Similarly, a product launch can also be the right time to reach out to existing customers who may be at risk for churn and re-engage them with your product as well. Maybe your customers have been unhappy with your products because a key capability was missing. Now that you’ve built this new product with that capability, you may be able to convince your customers to stay or — even better — upsell them to your newest offering.
It’s up to you as the sales manager to ensure that your sales team has the understanding, training, and drive to sell this new product the right way. Without key efforts from sales, this product will be a complete flop. But with your guidance, you can ensure that your newest product is a huge success.