SWAT Team Approach: Introducing New Products to Established Sales Teams

You are responsible for launching a new product and you have an established (perhaps large) global sales team. The board of directors has high expectations the new product and if you nail it, you have a shot at a big promotion.

The risks are high. You have two reasonable options. Option A is to roll it out to the entire sales force at one time. Seems logical. Get it into the hands of as many sales people as possible and magic will happen. Option B is to do a controlled introduction by using a small but highly focused sales team.

With Option A a significant risk is that the new product will get lost in the portfolio. Your sales guys may already have more products they can sell than they can keep track of. Couple that with the fact the new product requires a different sales approach, calling on a different buyer. It’s critical to get a beachhead early on to build sales velocity.

The SWAT team approach is more conservative. Take two salespeople and a sales engineer (technical presales) and have them dedicated to the new product for a limited period of time. Consider the expected length of the sales cycle and start there. Conduct sales enablement and then provide very close sales support. As deals close, the other salespeople will take notice.

By containing the risk within the SWAT team you have the flexibility to make adjustments as you get market feedback. Once the patterns of a successful sale are revealed you can roll out the new product to the rest of the sales force, hopefully with a few success stories. You’ll have refined the sales tools and understand which buyers get involved in a buying decision.

A bonus is that you’ll have two salespeople and a sales engineer who are the ‘go to’ guys for the rest of the sales team.

David Daniels

David Daniels


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