There are a million articles on the tactics of a successful product launch. That’s not where we’re going in this post. We’re going straight for outcomes! Nail these three outcomes and you’ll forever be the fair-haired children of product marketing and product management.
Bonus: all your launch tactics will neatly drop into these three outcome buckets and give you a simpler and more concise execution plan. The Playbook:
A successful product launch in B2B means you’ve moved the needle on these three outcomes:
- (Customer) References
- (Customer) Retention
Here are some insights on each.
1. Revenue – Think Solution Value vs. Product Value
It’s important to go beyond a top-line revenue target when planning the launch of a new product. You have to consider where that revenue is going to come from – market segments, existing customers and new accounts – and have a demand generation plan accordingly.
If you want to cut to the chase, start with existing customers.
Unless you’re a startup launching your first product or a mature company launching your first product into a completely new (unrelated) market, existing customers are your shortest path to success. Here’s why.
The whole (multiple integrated/complementary products) a.k.a. the solution, has more value than the sum of the parts (each standalone product).
That means your new product, in conjunction with other complementary products, has exponentially more value to existing customers versus a new customer using the new product only.
Here’s the other thing. When it comes to positioning your new product, don’t sell yourself short by creating a value story for the new product only.
Maximize your revenue opportunities by positioning the cumulative value (business outcomes) that customers get with the new product in conjunction with the ones they already have. Give customers a vision of how much better they could be!
2. References – The Ultimate Proof Point to Product Value
If you’re going to come anywhere near your revenue targets for the new product, you’d better have a couple of strong references right out of the gate. Good marketing is essential, but it falls flat without strong customer proof points to back it.
Most companies make the mistake of turning on the bright lights too quickly when it comes to new products.
Imagine how much better your marketing and sales machine would work if you had customers talking about quantifiable strategic value. Any doubt about the viability of the new product is gone!
3. Retention – The End Result of High Product Value
Think of retention as the cumulative result of the first two outcomes. If customers are willing to pay for something that returns quantifiable strategic value, they’re not going anywhere. It’s as simple as that.
Just make sure the customer experience of acquiring and using the new product is nothing less than great. Who knows? The new product may even reel in a few imminent defectors you didn’t even know about.