A Checklist for Successful B2B New Product Launches To Drive Leads and Gain Market Share … Lessons learned in 2020
May 13, 2021
2020 deprived us of many things, experiences and opportunities – including trade shows and in-person meetings – leaving B2B marketeers and salespeople struggling to effectively launch new products.
To help B2B manufacturers boost interest and generate leads, FINN Partners developed The Checklist for Virtual Product Launches. This new strategic model outlines best practice steps to launch innovation and gain faster traction among targeted audiences, regionally and globally.
Step 1: Audience Analysis & Brand Visibility (Month 1 – 2)
The global pandemic accelerated the shift toward digital interactions, flooding B2B buyers with information, product offerings and educational content. To cut through the clutter, it is important to create distinctive positioning and messaging for your new offering that dynamically highlights its unique business value. Consider research to best understand what target decision-makers consider the most desirable benefits and then craft a powerful communications platform and message house. Make sure you conduct competitive research so that your differentiation is truly unique.
Failure to create dynamic positioning for new products is a major reason why sales pitches and promotions gain little interest. B2B companies invest significantly in engineering new technologies and products but then often skip the necessary step to invest in creating powerful messaging to launch them. This step is even more critical today, when in-person meetings are restricted and virtual meetings are becoming a part of daily life.
FINN’s JumpStart Initiative, specifically developed for the manufacturing sector, can help you gain that competitive edge for one of your products in just two months. The masterfully crafted positioning and messaging will help you outperform the competition and differentiate your product in a crowded marketplace. Learn more here.
Step 2: Landing Page & Content Preparation (Month 2)
Make sure that before sales professionals begin sharing information on a new product that a Landing Page with more details has been created. If discussions with prospects are courtesy conversations ahead of the formal launch, provide customers with a password that will grant them exclusive access to the new product landing page. Give passwords to employees so that they can have access to the Landing Page and learn more about the innovation. Receiving passwords – keys to the gated content – will make prospects, customers, employees and investors feel special.
Certainly, turn on a Landing Page as communications and promotions launch. A successful Landing Page will include compelling headlines, content, images and videos that resonate with targeted personas. Avoid engineering jargon as headlines and lead copy. Instead, craft content that spotlights the business value promised by the new offering.
Remember, the Landing Page is only as good as the material provided. Go beyond pure technical product specifications. Feature compelling, thought-leadership content and consider adding useful features such as an ROI calculator, design-it-yourself tools, or authentic market research.
A main Landing Page goal is to capture leads. To achieve this, strategically incorporate “calls-to-action” within the Landing Page. Invite prospects for a virtual coffee with technical experts, offer VIP invitations for a special demonstration, or share an on-demand webinar invitation. Offer a white paper or an exclusive video. NOTE: landing pages do not have an expiry date. With proper set up, Landing Pages will become a powerful, evergreen lead generation tool.
Step 3: Fine-Tune Virtual Selling (Month 2)
It’s now time to virtually assemble your sales team and advise them how to best leverage the powerful positioning and messaging platform to gain traction with key decision-makers. In advance of this meeting, create a sales presentation that focuses on probable customer pain points and how the new product effectively eradicates these issues and delivers value. Avoid presentations that talk about your business and product. Encourage prospects to talk about their needs and explain how your new offering can help.
Structure your sales meeting so that 15% of the time introduces the new positioning and messaging platform and sales expectations & goals; 20% of the time demonstrates how the positioning & messaging platform can be used to get virtual meetings with targeted prospects and how these virtual meetings can become productive conversations. Also, demonstrate the use of the strategic sales presentation; 40% of the time should be role play and practice; 20% focus on CRM use, email templates and communications support plan; and 5% for a summary of expectations and timeline.
Step 4: Strategic Product Promotion to Drive Leads (Month 3 – 6)
At this stage, a well-focused, integrated communications campaign will be launched to drive interest and leads. This effort will leverage the compelling positioning and messaging platform, so that communications resonate with target personas and drive quality traffic to the Landing Page. The specially designed Landing Page will capture leads and the trained sales professionals will effectively follow-up and convert interest to sales.
The campaign will consist of a variety of tactics that use relevant channels to connect with relevant audiences. Tactics may include press releases, thought-leadership articles, social media posts, speaking opportunities, innovation awards, infographics, digital marketing and clever videos. The choice of tactics and timing all depend on the targeted personas, market size, window of opportunity, geographies and relevant events.
The communications campaign needs to strategically interface with your CRM and marketing automation platforms so that leads are properly documented and tracked to monitor progress and Return-On-Investment (ROI). An assessment of your marketing technology platforms should take place during Steps 1 and 2.
Step 5: Reporting & Insights (Month 3 – 6)
You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Reporting and insights need to be a crucial part of any product launch as they provide an understanding of the campaign’s effectiveness: quantity and quality of leads, promptness of sales follow-up, conversions to sales and cost-per-lead. In addition, measuring results regularly enables campaign optimization so that appealing content gets more fuel to accelerate greater success.
Check out this virtual product launch success story – FINN Partners helped a major OEM drive more than 20,000 prospects to a strategic Landing Page, captured 400 qualified leads and closed nearly 30 equipment orders in less than 12 months. The launch significantly exceeded expectations within a short time frame.
The digital possibilities of launching and promoting a product are limitless. Partnering with an experienced team will allow you to take shortcuts to effective B2B product launch strategies and equip your sales teams with a continuous flow of high-quality leads.
Sound interesting? Give our Head of Manufacturing EMEA, Yulia Tribrat, a call on +44 7766 257435 or send her an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about virtual product launches and how we can help you gain traction.