Every product launch has a lot riding on it, but especially for B2B startups going to market for the first time. The last thing you can afford to think is, “Because we built it, customers will come.” In a previous blog, I outlined a product launch framework that can give you an advantage in a market full of competing solutions and messages. Here I’d like to go one step further and provide a product launch checklist that clearly defines the steps and deliverables you need for success.
Your product launch checklist
Having a product launch checklist keeps you on track and makes sure you don’t miss any critical elements. Don’t be overwhelmed! There is a fair number of steps, but breaking the process up into these 12 pieces makes it manageable.
In this case, I’ve assumed product management will have their own list to cover development, testing, packaging and distribution. So this list here is ‘marketing only’:
- Set your goals and KPIs to get clear on what you want to accomplish. That will give you measures to track, and will allow you to optimize your program.
- Pick a launch date that everyone in the company agrees to, and manage all deliverables against that date. Having universal alignment is key, because if even one tactic is not ready, it could hurt the entire launch.
- Generate a target account list from your ideal customer profiles, or ICP, to focus your outreach. Arm your sales team with a list of companies that most need your product.
- Create a messaging script based on your positioning statement to make sure everyone in the company is telling the same story about your product. Rehearse this with key spokespeople along with answers to common questions.
- Finalize your pricing and make sure it’s well understood internally. Customers, media members and others will ask about this, so make sure everyone understands it and provides consistent pricing.
- Develop the key product collateral to have pieces that cover the buyer’s journey at launch time. You may need more later on, but know which are your essential pieces and make sure they’re in place.
- Plan for website updates. You don’t want to add product information before launch — which would scoop the moment — but you do want to make sure all the right messaging is live and online the minute your product is released. Have your website and other digital platforms set with all the latest info on launch day.
- Build a demo to showcase the new product and its key features. This goes a very long way with media and prospective customers to show the product is real and helps them understand its capabilities.
- Train the sales team and other key groups before launch so they are ready to go. There may be different training for partners, support and others that needs to be done, too.
- Prepare a news release while scheduling media briefings so you can secure coverage on launch day. In advance, you will want to get a customer or analyst quote approved to add credibility.
- Produce internal and external promotional assets — everything from social media graphics to emails — for sharing with employees, customers and the broader market. Make it easy for your employees to share the news with their network.
- Measure your results, such as web site enquiries or media coverage, on launch day and weekly thereafter. Report this to the broader team so they see the success and use any lessons learned for continued optimization of relevant tactics.
Depending on the scope of your launch, your target audience, your product category and other variables, some of the above steps may need to be adjusted or you may need to add a few. But this product launch checklist is a good starting point and will help you strike a balance between covering key tactics and not biting off too much.
Learn more about product launches
If you want more insight into launching a new product successfully, check out our upcoming “It’s Launch Time!” webinar on June 21 at 11am EDT. We’ll dig deeper into the ways you can maximize the impact of your product launch.
Register for “It’s Launch Time!” today!