Effective, successful new product launches have become more important than ever, but are one of the highest risk business investments. You can, however, increase your chances of success with these new product launch best practices.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page - before you launch. Successful new product launches require that the sales organization, marketing and customer service are well aligned and work together to create more opportunities and win customers. If everyone is working together, your company will gain new customers more effectively and improve lead generation, prospecting, and conversion rates.
- Establish a cross-functional launch team with dedicated leadership. A major product launch isn't a part-time job. Successful new product launches usually are managed by teams solely responsible for building the market for the new product or service. These launch teams should also reach broadly across functions: public relations, marketing, product management, sales, project management, customer service/support and other core function involved in bring the new product to the market.
- Leverage past successes. Build on proven processes and systems to manage the new product launch. Look for a team leader and for team members who have successfully launched new products in the past. If your company has experience gaps, hire or contract with people who have a proven track record.
- Formalize the launch plan. Ensure there is a detailed, formal launch plan that includes: sales objectives, sales channel strategy, promotional plan, contingency plans, and schedule with key milestones. Plus, make sure the entire executive team is on board with the plan before the launch starts.
- Expand your organization with consultants. Bring in consultants to staff up in areas where you have talent and/or experience gaps. After the launch is well underway, you can easily downsize without disrupting your organization.
- Launch aggressively and pre-empt the competition. Most new products need to be quickly established in the marketplace before the competition can respond with an imitation. So make sure that when you launch, you are ready to take a dominant position. Many new product launches fail because there was a lack of time for pre-launch planning or inadequate resources to properly introduce the product and pre-empt the competition.
- Track progress. Establish a process to track, monitor and review launch progress against financial and schedule goals throughout the entire process. Make sure that the oversight process is rigorous, regular and required.