Now that you are closer to launching your new product, you are most likely a little stressed or extremely excited, or perhaps even both. After all, you’ve been planning this launch and everyone involved in the process knows everything they need to know. Or, do they? Even if they say they are, how do you ensure they are? And more importantly, have you identified everything that needs to be done before the launch and assigned it to the right people?
It is not unusual for a marketing and product professional to find herself in this situation, especially since there are multiple people involved in the process and she is in the middle of it all; orchestrating a smooth launch. The most experienced manager will tell you that the secret is to anticipate everything that needs to be done, but she will probably also share that she forgot to take care of a few things.
The secret to a successful product launch is in the consistency of the process. Most experienced managers have a checklist they use. Perhaps they even use team checklist tools like Listables to keep track of different activities. Well, you are in luck ! Below, is a sample product launch checklist I have used over the years for all product launches.
- Has your business leader approved of the product launch?
- Have you coordinated with and received alignment with the Corporate Marketing team?
- At a minimum, do you have a Buyer’s and User’s Persona and is it centrally available for the sales team to use?
- At a minimum, do you have a Positioning and Messaging Document (PMD) and is it centrally available for the sales team to use?
- Is there a high-level presentation available for your sales team to use? (This is particularly useful when a prospect or a customer reaches out to the sales team asking for more information.)
- Do you have legal approval for the solution/product name?
- Do you have an approved pricing model for this product/solution launch? (Depending on your product and your organization, you may also want to check if there is a central place where the detailed product pricing is available for the sales teams.)
- Have you enabled (trained and certified) the sales teams and pre-sales engineers so they can effectively talk to the customers?
- Do you have a communication plan for the product launch? (This would normally include reaching out to key industry analysts, thought leaders, bloggers, media etc.)
- (Optional) Did you create a Sales Kit for the sales team and is it available in a central place for the sales teams to use? (This would normally include personas, PMD, high-level presentation, and customer testimonials.)
- (Optional) Do you have compelling demos along with demo scripts?
- (Optional) Have your professional services and customer care organizations been trained on the new solution?
Most of us have exciting stories of how we were able to successfully launch new products in a matter of weeks, but at the same time, most of us will also agree that we did accomplished that in extremely stressful situations. So, why put yourself and everyone else through that situation? Why not take the time build your launch plan 4-5 months prior to product availability? It can only benefit you. Here are some benefits as I see it:
- Minimize miscommunication
- Create a clear execution plan
- Set the right expectations with all the stakeholders
- Deliver optimal results to meet your revenues targets.