The biggest challenge for any new product launch is to get three disparate organizations—engineering, sales and marketing—to work together while keeping a focus on the customer. You cannot achieve this teamwork without using a systematic process to design, build and deploy your launch. The key components of this systematic process are: planning, customer definition, value proposition, campaign development and training/operations.
>Planning. To set a realistic economic foundation for your launch, significant strategic planning must occur with personnel from all key areas of the launch team—engineering/product development, sales and marketing.
>Customer definition. Successful launches employ a combination of methodologies to build accurate customer profiles. The most critical step in defining your customer base is to conduct primary research activities with your potential target markets. However, don't overlook the valuable insights that your sales team and customer database can provide.
>Value proposition. Most organizations don't use the deliberate processes required to transform a product's technical features into benefits and value for the customer or to understand how their new product provides differentiated value over competitors. You need specific processes, tools and direct interaction with real people in your target audiences in order to deploy the right activities and communicate how your product meets customers' needs.
>Campaign development. There is no single best approach to reach customers and generate demand. Developing integrated campaigns that employ a number of communications media and that reach deep into an organization greatly increases your likelihood for success.
>Training and operations. Once you communicate these benefits to your prospects and customers, how will customers move through the sales process? Successful launches incorporate opportunity management processes far beyond the typical launch (handing off some brochures to the field reps with a charge of "go get 'em"). The biggest waste of marketing dollars is to generate inquiries without having appropriately prepared resources to do a follow up.