#LaunchFail – Losing Credibility with Your Channel

#launch fail - losing credibility with your sales channel

I’m about to tell you something that might not be so obvious to you, but it could be the difference between a successful launch and a failure.

Carefully Consider the Implications for the Channel

When planning a product launch it’s important to carefully consider the implications for your sales channels. Glossing over this crucial detail by assuming the channel can sell anything may result in a big surprise (and not a good one). OK, I get it, the product is the coolest thing ever and you can’t imagine why the channel wouldn’t sell tons of it. I’ll tell you why; it’s when they start putting effort into selling it and the market doesn’t accept it.

The Problem of Product Avoidance

Product avoidance occurs when people within your sales channel believe a product won’t sell. Put another way, they don’t see how they (the sales people) can make money so they back off, focusing their energy on other products. They avoid selling the product believing that other products in the product portfolio give them a better chance at reaching their sales quota.

Get It Right the First Time

The first, and most important, consideration to prevent a product avoidance problem is to deliver a product the market actually values and is willing to pay for it. This is a foundational concept in what we teach at Pragmatic Institute. Delivering a dud product guarantees product avoidance in the sales channel.

The next consideration is to ensure your sales channel understands the problems the product solves for your customers, have confidence the product actually solves those problems, and have proof.

Your sales people have a mission; to bring money into the company by delivering something of value to people who have the money. By throwing the product over the wall to your sale channel assuming they’ll figure it out may result in a #launchfail that will ensure you will lose credibility with your channel and get the attention of management (and not the good kind of attention).

Have you ever had the “Why aren’t we selling as many of these as you projected?” question?

Jim Semick

Jim Semick

Jim Semick is co-founder of ProductPlan, a leading provider of cloud-based roadmap software for product and marketing teams. For more than 15 years he has helped launch new products now generating hundreds of millions in revenue. He was part of the founding team at AppFolio, a vertical SaaS company. Prior to AppFolio, Jim validated and created version 1.0 product requirements for GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting (acquired by Citrix). Jim is a frequent speaker on product management and the process of discovering successful business models. He contributes at www.productplan.com/blog. Follow Jim on Twitter at @JimSemick.

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