A successful launch plan creates better alignment by engaging sales team stakeholders.
Do you have a busy sales team that you need to get quickly up to speed on new products, messages, or processes? Time for a launch initiative! Creating a successful launch plan will provide you and your team with the framework to improve participation and drive engagement.
A launch initiative typically occurs anytime we need to get new information to existing people in the commercial organization. This happens during a new product launch, a rebrand or new messaging initiative, a merger or acquisition transition, a transformation of the sales process, and during sales kick-off.
Make sure all the hard work you put into your next launch initiative isn’t simply ignored by sales by applying these three simple secrets to creating a successful launch plan.
Every launch initiative must include an information delivery, or knowledge, component. In a typical launch plan, this will usually include a “required” global webinar. Depending on the size and complexity of the new launch initiative, it may include a live meeting or a sales kick-off event.
Often, the person or people who own the initiative are the ones who deliver the communication of the change. Unless that person is already a solid influencer within the organization, this is a mistake.
Furthermore, the content of the webinar or live event will be characterized as a “PowerPoint Parade” by attendees because it is heavily focused on the “feature dump” method and is rarely very relevant to the sales organization.
The secret to success in delivering the message is to establish “change agents” or “change ambassadors” who can help deliver the message to the sales team. These people can help make sure that your launch plan is delivering relevant information from the perspective of the people who are tasked with bringing that message to the market.
Also involve your change agents in the communications by recruiting one or more of them to present the content during the live event, and by scheduling emails or intranet posts to come directly from them. This way, the sales team sees that it is coming directly from their leadership, rather than “outside” of the team.
Sadly, the most common mistake in launch initiatives is that they tend to stop at the “knowledge” stage. This may be due to a lack of a mechanism to change behaviors and “certify” that the sales team has internalized the new message and can deliver it to the market.
But this is perhaps the most critical secret to a successful launch plan! People are busy, and even if they are really excited about a new product or message initiative, the reality is that they will forget about its core elements within hours or days of receiving the message.
Create a program through which sales managers and reps can easily develop the desired messaging and then certify that they can deliver it to effectively change the behaviors of your sales organization.
Results & Retrospective
The results of launch initiatives are historically difficult to measure and vary depending on the type of launch you are initiating. For example, you may measure the results of your launch initiative by the number of new product units being sold over a number of months.
No matter how you measure the results of your launch plan, the secret to launch success is to make sure you are always performing a retrospective. What worked well? What did not work as well? How can your next launch be improved? Always ask these questions and include your change agents and, if possible, other stakeholders in answering those questions and planning for the next launch.