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Failure to Launch: The three mistakes you MUST avoid if you want your next B2B product launch to succeed

Rocket_main (3)You’re probably all-too-familiar with this stat: 55-80% of new products flop, depending on how generously you’re willing to define success. And according to CSO Insights’ 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study, nearly half of B2B sales leaders feel that their teams “need improvement” in effectively introducing new products to the market.

So how can you overcome this ‘failure to launch’ phenomenon?

It comes down to avoiding three key product launch mistakes:

1. Turning your launch into product training versus enabling selling stories

The bulk of most B2B product kickoffs and training focus too much on precisely the wrong information: all the cool, dazzling new features. You treat your launches like they are product training, but product knowledge won’t drive decisions. Before your salespeople earn the right to talk about your cool new solution, they must first be able to give your customers a reason to think about changing the way they are doing things today.

Your alternative: Launch your product to your salespeople with the same message you expect them to deliver to your customers. First, tell them a powerful story that helps them show customers which business objectives are at risk if they stick with the status quo and what unforeseen or undervalued changes in their environment are threatening their desired outcomes. In other words, first give them a Why Change story.

Once you’ve convinced customers of the urgency to move from status quo, your salespeople have earned the right to prove Why You are the best alternative. They need a follow-up story that speaks specifically to how you solve the identified problems in a unique or advantaged way.

2. Expecting the sales team to seek out marketing messaging and tools after the launch

Most marketing organizations now set up extensive web portals and microsites to support their new product launches. Here’s the problem: most salespeople won’t search out those sites after the event, and if they do get there, they are overwhelmed with the amount of content and limited amount of context for how to use it. It’s a prescription for low adoption of your marketing tools, fading momentum for your new product, and poor first-year sales results.

Your alternative: Stop trying to drag your salespeople to your portal or microsite. Instead push the new story to them in engaging, chunky bites of content and best-practice story delivery examples. Make sure it works the way they work, and how they work, by serving up this information on their mobile devices. And, don’t rely on just one push, make sure to provide compelling, fun, educational reinforcement videos on key storytelling skills for several weeks to keep your launch top of mind.

3. Not engaging your first-line managers to coach their teams in support of the new product launch

Most B2B marketers focus their efforts on outbound launch communications (to drive customer awareness and leads) and tools to help the sales team sell the new product. They treat sales managers as part of the sales team, expecting them to figure out how to support the new product after the initial launch. Unfortunately, managers are often busier and more distracted than their sales teams. Your product launch is just another (new) item on their “to do” lists…one that probably won’t make it to the top. At the same time, your sales managers are your first line of defense in ensuring the adoption and consistent delivery of your new message. You can’t afford to overlook them.

Your alternative: Provide coaching resources specifically targeted at your managers to make it easy for them to host a local “stand and present” event to reinforce your new product messaging. Help them communicate their support for your new product and create opportunities for their team to try on your new message in front of the internal team, instead of your customers.

Your company invests too much time and money in developing your new products to risk a weak launch to your sales team. You owe it to yourself to learn more. Interested? Watch this video:

 


 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Product Development Institute (PDI) and American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) product development benchmarking study 
  2. Considerations for a Successful B2B Product Launch

 

 

 

 

 

Sales & Marketing Management: Corporate Visions broadens its value to clients

UntitledIn his recent article, “Completing the Picture,” respected sales performance improvement analyst Dave Stein says that, after some bold acquisitions, Corporate Visions is the one-stop shop for helping you articulate and quantify value for your clients.

“Most sales training companies stumbled through the 2008 recession and its lingering aftermath,” writes Stein, “yet Corporate Visions, Inc. has consistently maintained its vigorous growth trajectory…Corporate Visions took note of a market that is changing rapidly and has moved boldly and decisively to broaden its value to clients…In 2014, with the mechanics of their recent transactions mostly behind them, [CEO Joe Terry] sees the company’s position as ’never better.’”

To find out more about the ever-evolving sales training industry and our role in it, read the full article here.

 

 

Profitable Negotiating: It’s Counterintuitive

As you may recall, Corporate Visions recently acquired BayGroup International, a recognized sales negotiation and sales execution skills training company. Our peers at BayGroup International share their insights on profitable negotiating below:

These numbers tell a difficult story…

92% – of you are raising your sales rep quotas
16% – is the average quota increase this year

BUT -
49% - of your sales managers aren’t confident their teams will keep up

The reason for this lack of confidence? Sales reps stay in their comfort zones… selling the same solutions to the same identified needs that your competitors are selling to – turning it into a pricing battle.

It’s a comfortable conversation, but it’s not a winning one. And, not one that will get you to your number.

Watch this 4-minute video to find a counterintuitive approach to get your reps out of their comfort zones and on their way to confidently hitting your higher quotas.

 

Connect with your inner caveman for successful whiteboarding conversations

We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the caveman’s use of images for communication may have been the earliest example. But when it comes to sales conversations with executive decision makers, too many salespeople are still relying on text-heavy PowerPoint presentations, even when recent research from Aberdeen indicates that 88% of executive decision makers are looking for a sales conversation, rather than a sales presentation.

The perfect medium for these visual conversations is whiteboard stories.  Find your inner caveman and tell your story with stick figures and whimsical icons. But don’t mistake doodling arrows for visual storytelling – you’ll need to develop clear messaging and provide your salespeople with the content and training to deliver whiteboard stories that close deals.

To read more about how you can use your inner caveman for successful whiteboard conversations, check out Tim Riesterer’s article on page 16 of Sales & Marketing Management, Channeling your inner caveman.

 

Nine common phrases made great by using "you" instead of "we"

by Tim Riesterer

When the littlest piggy cries, “Wee, wee, wee” all the way home, that isn’t a good thing. And neither is saying “we, we, we” all over your website, campaigns, and marketing and sales messages.

If you could do only one thing this year that could make an instant difference in your messaging, you’d replace all your “we phrasing” with “you phrasing.”  You phrasing is more effective because it makes sure your prospect or customer is at the center of your story and engaged in the conversation.

Why Use ‘You’ Instead of ‘We’?

Using the word “you” instead of “we” helps transfer ownership to your prospects and customers because it causes their minds to unconsciously “try out” your solutions as you describe what they can do with it. Your audience member is no longer just a passive listener; he will be more actively engaged in your ideas and your story. In fact, you probably noticed I’m already using the technique in this blog post to gain your attention and give you ownership over implementing this strategy!

Still skeptical?

You phrasing has been proven to have a measurable impact. Researchers in Tempe, Arizona tested attitudes toward cable television. They used two different scripts to sell the cable services—one using the third person and one using you phrasing. Researchers found that when you phrasing was implemented, it doubled the number of cable sales. Now, that’s impressive!

Start Changing Phrases Today

Once you start practicing with you phrasing, you’ll find yourself in your customers’ and prospects’ worlds more than you have ever been. That will help you connect your story to your customers’ stories in a powerful way—one that they’ll want to listen to because you’re addressing their needs and concerns, and not your company’s.

Here’s a list of common phrases that can become more effective by using you phrasing:

  • “Our company allows you to… ”
  • “Next, I’m going to… ”
  • “We need to be able to… ”
  • “What if I could show you… ”

Now, see if you notice a difference in these phrases…

  • “What you’ll be able to do is… ”
  • “Next, you’ll be able to… ”
  • “You need to be able to… ”
  • “What if you could… ”
  • “What you can do is… “

The difference is subtle but powerful. By using you phrasing, you are helping your prospects’ and customers’ unconscious minds feel like they’re participating. In fact, you phrasing isn’t just a technique;  it should be your mindset. You phrasing forces you to live in your prospects’ and customers’ worlds, the places they need you to care about and understand if you want to close more deals with them.

Using “you” instead of “we” is a simple and quick change, but one that will have notable results if you apply it correctly. So, next time you’re creating a marketing campaign or other marketing communications content, use the word “you” to capture the attention of your audience. By doing so, you’ll make them want to consider making a change and to pick you.

 

“This article originally appeared on MarketingProfs.”