New product launch failures could also be due to lack of follow-through. With the product developed and ready for market, many organizations simply throw it over the wall to sales, hoping for the best, while moving on to new priorities. Whatever the reasons, failure is common for this final development step. A recent AcuPoll study indicated that as many as 80 to 95 percent of B2B product launches fail, presumably evaluated against the acceptance of your new product or service by your markets and revenue generation.
Research and survey results clearly indicate the need to properly engage with sales. Any schism that separates sales from the product development continuum will be the death knell for a new product launch. Consider sales? input as part of your intelligence gathering from the beginning. Ask what your sales representatives need to sell the new solution and don?t come up short on delivery. Don?t deliver PowerPoint slides to someone who sells in a coal mine or, conversely, don?t rely on wordy technical manuals for sales that take place in the boardroom. Lastly, budget for some plane tickets and train your sales force in person to the greatest extent possible.
Developing a value proposition for a product that is fundamentally not aligned with customer business pains is, at best, difficult. That's why B2B marketing needs to be involved from the outset of product development, not when it's time to launch. When preparing your B2B marketing strategies for launch, start with a messaging document that defines the core themes and value-based statements that will tie all of your activities together for maximum effectiveness. Before engaging in lead generation, direct marketing, advertising or public relations activities, make sure the Web site design, for your new solution addresses audience needs.
A new product launch is not a three-week project. While it may be tempting to just mail the brochures and training guides, hold a couple conference calls and run a few ads, developing a long-term plan and sticking to it is essential. The best plans fit on one or two pages and provide instant visibility to activities, responsible champions, timing, budget and metrics.
Get involved early and stay late. B2B marketing can play a dramatic role in improving the success of product launches by providing strategic insights, leading a thorough marketing planning process, focusing on sales? success and championing persistent execution of a marketing plan that emphasizes a strong Web presence and measurable results.