Fuel sales with a these must-haves
Here are six best practices as you plan for your next release. These are tailored to a B2B technology solution, but can apply to other goods or services as well.
1. Start early
There’s no such thing as too much time to plan; getting ready to market a major initiative can take months. Don’t wait until your solution is ready to sell—invite marketing to the table as soon as possible, so positioning, naming, strategy and research can evolve side-by-side with development of the product itself.
2. Sell the vision
With new products, we’re especially prone to talking about features and functionality—the “how it works” part. This can be dangerous when building pre-launch buzz, because functionality is still in flux. Instead, generate early momentum by establishing the ideal scenario your prospect can expect, thanks to working with your new solution.
3. Find the wow
When it comes to promotion, one fantastic feature will create more impact than a dozen ordinary ones. Take time to test messages about functionality until you can articulate a differentiated, relevant positioning. And if you don’t have it—keep looking until you find it, even it if means adding a feature midstream.
4. Map the sales and support process
One meeting with sales, marketing and customer service can avoid countless headaches. Together, diagram how a buyer will move from lead to demo to sale to implementation. Agree on who will be accountable for each stage, how quickly they must respond and where to track pertinent details.
5. Educate everyone
B2B means selling with people—and not just your dedicated sales team. Employees across the company will talk to customers and prospects, so make sure they’re on message and armed with the facts, no matter what their role. Issue regular internal communications, including the correct product name and a consistent “why this product rocks” elevator speech. You’ll minimize misinformation and energize the organization.
6. Build out from a soft launch
Even the best laid plans seldom come to fruition without a hiccup. Minimize your risk—and be kind to your budget—by launching with a beta test or a pilot program. Even 30 days of trial in a small market will give you valuable knowledge to refine your full launch plans.