Does your organization have a formal launch process to manage new product introductions? Are post mortems conducted on a regular basis to ensure goals are met? Are there even measurable goals beyond unit volume targets? Do you monitor market feedback to ensure momentum is not lost?
Too often firms lack a structured product introduction process. Lack of process results in poor communication and lack of a unified message to the market. Worst-case, the wrong consumers are targeted resulting in wasted resources and failure to meet goals. Typically the lack of a launch process also uncovers lack of metrics and a formalized post-launch review process. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Sure, this is a cliché, but it is extremely important. You must have clear key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with overall goals and objectives for the new product.
The benefit of the process is getting all the appropriate teams in one room on a regular basis. It is critical that the sales and marketing teams understand the background of development, who the target customers are, which competitors they need to focus on, and the overarching strategy. Product managers need to develop clear strategies and communicate these appropriately. Sales and marketing teams need to focus on how they will achieve the over-arching strategy through frontline tactics.
Product managers need to lead the process through launch and monitor the product as it lives within the market. Too often firms launch a product and ignore it, thinking the sales team can manage it alone. The whole point of the process is that dirty four-letter word, TEAM. Everyone needs to continually work together to ensure long-term success with ongoing sales momentum. Ongoing communication, analysis, and adjustments are critical to win.