Your Research & Development team comes up with a killer new application of your technology that solves an important problem for a new customer segment. It’s expected to increase growth and improve margins at the same time. The executive team makes it a priority to bring this new product to market quickly.
Your marketing team executes a great launch with a landing page, rock star sales collateral, social media campaigns, email campaigns, and a great new video. Let the good times roll!
Month 1 – In the first executive team review post launch you show some dashboards and reports with some sales funnel growth. “We’re making selling this new product a priority.”
Month 2 – Uh oh. There are some more opportunities in the pipeline but opportunities are not moving through the funnel. “It’s timing related. Our guys are working it.”
Month 3 – Wow, this is painful. The GM is getting really frustrated and blaming sales. “We’ll dig into the details and find out why we aren’t closing orders.”
Month 4 – Report back from the field. They have tough quotas to meet and they don’t know how to communicate value to these new customers. They don’t know the channel to the customer nor how to engage the buyer. “We’re fixing it.”
Month 6 – Phew, you finally start to exit the ‘pit of despair’.
Does this sound at all familiar? The ‘pit’ is that period of time when you are cash flow negative on an investment. Accelerating sales is the fastest path out of the pit.
But accelerating sales is highly dependent on aligning sales and marketing.To do so, create a continuous learning loop between sales and marketing. The loop should look something like….
STEP 1 – Marketing Provides Customer Context. Marketing educates sales, not just on the new product, but on the ideal customer profile and the key buyer personas involved in the buying decision and how to communicate customer value. Sales playbooks and content in CRM drive improved sales effectiveness and productivity.
STEP 2 – Sales Provides Voice of the Customer Feedback. Sales needs to commit to providing voice of the customer feedback to marketing on the product, the product positioning, and the sales collateral. What are customers saying? What’s working? What’s not?
STEP 3 – Listen, Learn, and Iterate. Marketing needs to leverage voice of the customer feedback and respond with updates that help sales improve win rates. This could be updates to positioning, collateral, or improvement in the offering itself.
Oh, and this learning loop should be in your CRM. You tell your sales team to ‘live in the app’ so enable their success by bringing supporting functions to them and not the other way around.
New product success is highly dependent on doing two things well:
- Developing solutions to problems that customers care about
- Enabling sales to communicate value in context to target customers
Doing both of these things well will ensure that your time in the ‘pit’ will be very short-lived.
About the author: Colm Lennon is the Founder of Haka Products (www.hakaproducts.com).