Better Internal Communication Prevents Product Launch Failure

Posted by Michele Nichols on Tue, Nov 29, 2016

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According to a recent study of new product development, 39% of new product launches failed. Often these failures occur when companies don’t have a clear marketing plan, but there are other reasons, too. Improved internal communications can head off a number of these causes.

 

4 Reasons New Product Launches Fail

  1. Sales team reluctance to sell new products over older, proven ones. Better internal communications can ensure the confidence to sell, and help sales teams better understand the value of new products to customers.
  2. Misalignment between customer needs and engineering specs. Addressing the traditional gap between engineering, marketing and sales can ensure a product that customers want.
  3. Soft launch due to timeline delays, strained resources, limited budget. Better internal communications can keep the momentum up and timelines on track.
  4. Status quo. Launching a truly innovative product by using the tools, techniques and templates you use for every other product.

Poor internal communications impact not just the top line, but the bottom line as well. MRA, the Marketing Research Association, says that 10% of new product costs are wasted on offering features customers don’t value or appreciate, due to a lack of team alignment.

So how do you improve team alignment and internal communications?

 

7 Ways to Improve Internal Communications

  1. Start with the voice of the customer. Working backward, start by creating alignment around customer focus.
  2. Create early opportunities for buy-in. A product positioning workshop and the development of target customer personas are both great ways to hear from all stakeholders in a cross-functional team.
  3. Define clear accountabilities. If everyone owns it, no one owns it.
  4. Use your tools. From Slack to Trello to intranet sites, great tools exist to manage internal communications. Don’t let your product launch internal communications become an email chain and islands of spreadsheets.
  5. Decide on new product launch gating in advance. At what points will you assess the data and decide go/no go?
  6. Share the vision, not just the tasks. All team members need to know what’s expected of them, but to create momentum and accountability, they need to know the why.
  7. Create measurable goals, and test them for realism. Test product sales numbers against market size and market share. Establish lead count targets, and work backwards to conversion and web traffic.

Download our Product Launch Checklist, a helpful resource to keep your team on track.

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Topics: Internal Communication, Product Launch