how to get organizational alignment before launching a new product

You’ve been planning this launch and everyone involved in the process knows everything they need to know. Or, do they? In addition to Sales, Professional Services, Customer Success, Support teams need to be part of communication and alignment plan since they work with customers and prospects more often than you think. So, how do make sure you have 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 trying to quarterback it and 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. Here is my checklist… I hope you find it useful.

  1. Has your business leader approved of the product launch? Aligning your product launch and customer benefits is very important to support overall organizational goals.
  2. Have you coordinated with and received alignment with the Corporate Marketing team? It is worth the extra effort to ensure that you can potentially piggy back on an overarching marketing campaign that marketing has planned… anything that can amplify your overall messaging and positioning.
  3. At a minimum, do you have a Buyer’s and User’s Persona and is it centrally available for everyone to use? Outside of sales, it is very helpful for customer success and professional services teams to understand how their day-to-day effort helps buyers and users.
  4. At a minimum, do you have a Positioning and Messaging Document (PMD) and is it centrally available for the sales team to use? Crisp and well crafted PMDs go a long way ensuring that everyone in the organization can speak to the same values and benefits your product delivers.
  5. Is there a high-level presentation available for each of your teams to use? Once launched, typically sales, customer success, and account managers get the first questions. Therefore, team specific collateral is really helpful.
  6. Do you have approval from legal and marketing for the solution/product name? If overlooked, this can potentially be a problem not only legally, but in terms of brand and SEO.
  7. Do you have an approved pricing model for this product/solution launch? Well crafted pricing models should also include discount % built into it so that every sales person knows the guardrails before underselling the value.
  8. In addition to sales teams and pre-sales engineers, have the professional services and customer care organizations been trained on the new solution so they can effectively talk to the customers? Enablement is not just about creating presentations and arming them with speaker notes, its really about helping everyone who interacts with customers to be better prepared. Certification is a good way to ensure everyone meets a minimum threshold.
  9. Do you have a communication plan for the product launch? Depending on the size of the company, this may fall under the responsibilities of the communication team, but, if product managers and product marketing managers can help identify key industry analysts, thought leaders, bloggers, media etc, reaching out to them earlier can certainly help push your message to a broader audience.
  10. Do you have compelling demos along with demo scripts? We all know one-size demos are not effective and not everyone is a great presenter. Therefore scripts are a good way to ensure consistency of the message as well as a good way to boost every sellers confidence to do a fantastic job in articulating the benefits of the product or specific features.

We all cherish the most demanding and most successful product launch experiences, but why put yourself and everyone else through that again? Why not take the time build your launch plan prior to product availability? It can only benefit everyone by minimizing miscommunication, creating a clear execution plan, setting the right expectations with everyone, and delivering optimal results to meet revenue targets.

I would love to hear your comments and thoughts…

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