Blog Insight

Turn on the Sales Channel: 5 Steps to More Successful Product Launches

Launching a new product, service, or offering often consumes marketers’ time and attention; there are audiences to target, promotions to plan, and digital engagement calendars to coordinate. In the run-up to launch, however, one of the most important marketing tasks is too often overlooked: informing and enabling the sales channel.

Sales enablement closes the gap between your product and the sales team by intentionally and specifically building support materials and tools to generate excitement about and confidence in your new product. It’s human nature to sell what you know, but in today’s rapidly changing marketplace past success in no way guarantees future success. Accelerating the comfort level of your sales force is vital.

Here are five steps you can take to get one of your most important marketing channels—your salespeople or your distribution network’s salespeople—telling your product story in compelling ways.

1. Treat your sales force as an audience.

Whether you sell directly or through partners, let all your salespeople know what’s in it for them in terms of new business, commissions, and meeting the demands of new and existing clients.

2. Put the new offer in context.

Provide concrete examples of how your new product is different and better than the competition’s product, or how your new product will compel the customer to act on it. Anchor new offerings in something familiar (which is the reason why music and literature are frequently segmented by genre—it sets the stage for audience consideration and gives salespeople shorthand for explaining the relevance to new prospects).

3. Field test your sales enablement approach.

Pair the product manager with a top salesperson to vet messaging and help your sales force overcome objections. Have this duo visit customers together to explain the new concept or offering. You will win in two ways: first, by gaining credibility for your sales force, and second, by gaining firsthand knowledge of what resonates with or confuses customers about your offering. Nothing travels faster between salespeople than bad news about how tone-deaf marketers can be to the real world. Taking this step actively demonstrates that you value input from your sales force and gives you an opportunity to refine objection handling and inspire ideas for product evaluation tools.

4. Paint a clear before-and-after picture to demonstrate value.

Help your salespeople understand what service your offering provides for customers and prospects. Understanding the problem or concern your new product addresses helps salespeople demonstrate the product’s value more directly. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Use short videos, day-in-the-life persona profiles, savings or ROI calculators, or apps to drive your message home.

5. Make it mobile.

Maximize client face time for the members of your sales force. Let them learn new product benefits when it is most convenient for them, such as during downtime between appointments or during commute time. Don’t inundate your sales team; provide easy-to-consume, easy-to-access content such as short podcasts, videos, or webisodes that can be seen on the go. If you create a playbook, make sure it is mobile enabled and engaging. Help your salespeople start meaningful conversations with clients using interest-piquing conversation starters. Offer tools that demonstrate value and answer commonly asked questions.

By treating your sales force as an important early target audience for your product launches, you will gain faster market traction. Capture the opportunity for co-creation by incorporating feedback from your sales team early and often to hone customer presentation materials and support tools. Go beyond the expected static PowerPoint pitch deck with creative sales tools that build knowledge and enthusiasm.