If your company is like most, you will launch more new products in the next five years than you did in the previous ten. These products will be expected to produce significant revenue and some may be “bet the company” entries to the market.
Yet history tells a scary tale. Many good new products are doomed from the beginning because they are not launched successfully to the sales force – they simply escape into the market place.
Diagnosing the Problem. Ask yourself the following question: How many times have you implemented a significant sales training program as part of your overall marketing plan for launching a new product? If you look like most companies, the answer is – “Seldom.”
In the rush to market, most companies fall back on providing sales people only with marketing materials, product training and pricing information. Under that scenario, many great new products don’t do too well. Why?
Because selling a new product requires more than just describing it and talking about price points. Talking about a product and selling a product are two very different things. And, the greater the extent to which the new product is different from the existing product portfolio, the more likely the possibility of market share failure.
Concocting the Anecdote. Companies who have well integrated Marketing, Sales, and Training functions are changing that equation. Not only do they provide their sales force with the basic information about the new product – they provide their sales force with customized sales training that is specifically targeted to help them adapt their skills to selling that new product. The model is – learn than launch vs. launch then learn.
The “they can learn how to sell it after the launch” approach has become increasingly risky for a number of reasons from the uncertainty of the economic times, to the fact that in today’s market your competition will have something on the street that is just as good in half the time it took a couple of years ago. To the latter point, you have precious little time to leverage your competitive advantage so you need a way to quickly develop market share.
A Final Note … It is probably not an exaggeration to say that most companies spend a “king’s ransom” in the design, development and marketing of new products. And, in some cases the new product has the potential to transform the fortunes of the company. All too often this potential is not realized. Lack of time and attention to doing a superior job in helping the sales team do what they can and need to do is one of reason for this gap in fortune. It is an avoidable problem – there is a body of knowledge about launching great new products to your sales team.
Check out more blog posts about sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection.
©2011 Sales Horizons, LLC