For the month of October, we teamed up with the documentation experts at Novatek Communications to bring you a collection of resources for medical product launch. So far we've shared our insights on the changing medical device market, tips for improving customer engagement, critical launch planning steps, and PR tips for product launch. This week, Novatek discusses best practices for the implementation and follow-up stages of a product launch.
A product launch represents a major investment in revenue and profit for a company. A successful product launch can yield new markets, provide access to new customers, and increase business with existing customers.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, Medical Device Product Launch: 4 Critical Planning Steps, the top four challenges faced by a new medical device product launch team include planning, communications, implementation, and follow-up. In this post we'll focus on the implementation and follow-up aspects associated with a new medical device product launch from a customer support perspective.
The implementation phase works best if you follow the processes outlined in your Documentation Plan:
1. Set measurable objectives for how product adoption will be achieved by customers during and after the product launch.
Appoint a senior member of your technical documentation and marketing teams to work with the product launch team to coordinate all customer awareness, adoption, and support activities associated with the launch. Prepare a comprehensive launch plan that includes all marketing communications, product documentation, and training, as well as a budget to cover expenditures. Prioritize all critical tasks.
2. Create a communication plan that allows everyone associated with the product launch to stay informed.
Internal communication is a critical part of any successful launch. Too little communication causes confusion; too much communication dilutes the overall message. Plan communications well, initiate them early in the process, and communicate with team members regularly.
3. Produce essential customer documentation.
Make sure the project team has evaluated product performance in line with market requirements and compliance with all relevant FDA regulations. Complete the development of product documentation, and make sure it is easily accessible. Operate a test market before the launch. Ask selected distributors to stock the product and run a sample promotional campaign. Evaluate test market results and feedback, and make any necessary adjustments to the launch program.
4. Conduct training for sales representatives, installers, service technicians, and customer support personnel.
If the adoption of your new product is going to be easy and efficient for customers, it is critical that your company is thoroughly prepared to assist customers at all points of interaction. Provide comprehensive training and sales guides, service manuals, troubleshooting guides, and quick-reference guides to follow up the training. Hold an internal launch event to build enthusiasm and commitment to the launch within the company.
5. Brief the distribution network on the timing and scope of the launch.
Hold training programs for your extended network of medical device dealers and distributors. Supply promotional and support materials that stress the benefits of the new medical device.
6. Confirm that a support infrastructure is in place and that spare parts are available.
When the sales start flowing, it can make or break your company. To ensure you’re prepared, check that spare parts are available and service personnel are trained and available to install and maintain the new device. Verify that a help desk is in place to handle support requests and queries during the initial launch phase. Monitor incoming calls and questions and publish Frequently Asked Questions for customers to utilize.
7. Set up a technical documentation monitoring/revision program for producing and delivering updates to customers when necessary.
Make sure all electronic customer documentation for your new medical device is monitored and managed in compliance with the FDA’s Title 21 CFR Part 11. See 7 Tips to Ensure your Electronic Records Meet FDA Requirements.
Wondering what to include in a product launch Documentation Plan?
Download Novatek's Free Guide: Creating a Documentation Plan