Your product launch won’t be successful if your sales team doesn’t trust you

Have you noticed that your sales team isn’t very excited about your next product launch? You’re getting a “yeah, whatever” vibe from them and it’s driving you crazy. So crazy you’re at the point of believing the launch goals are in jeopardy, and you should.

How did the last launch go?

This problem started with a previous launch; probably the last one. You know, the one where you got the Sales team all hyped up and then failed to deliver. It’s another checklist product launch that crashed and burned.
They didn’t get hyped up because of the product. They got hyped up because they believed the product was going to be the fast path to reaching quota.
This idea was set in motion perhaps by you (or the CEO, or development, or…), and you were a hero until your sales guys realized that the product a) was much harder to sell, b) took much longer to sell, c) wasn’t as interesting to buyers as they were led to believe. Now you have an uphill battle on your hands.

Hero to zero

Your salespeople stopped selling the old product and focused their energy on selling the products in the portfolio that would help them make quota. By this time they’re behind and they are pissed off (sorry, Mom) they were led down this garden path that wasted their time. Their sales leadership didn’t really care that the new product wasn’t selling. They wanted answers to why quota wasn’t being hit. And when they found out it’s because the team was selling a product that buyers weren’t buying, they were told to stop selling it immediately. And they won’t soon forget.

Brute force produces temporary results

You might be thinking that since everything is dialed in the next launch, you can get the CEO to force the sales team to sell the product. If they were required to sell X dollars of the product as part of their compensation they would see what a great product it is, and sell even more of it. Don’t count on it. This is about compensation not about the product. The sales effort will be superficial just to make a point. The result will “prove” the product doesn’t sell and the CEO will drop the mandate. And you’ve lost even more trust.

A stick doesn’t work so try a carrot

The pressure is on for you to deliver a successful product launch. You know your sales team will be skeptical and you have your work cut out for you. Don’t try to fix the trust problem all at once. First, consider your audience. We hire sales guys to sell stuff, not to be product experts. Always keep that in mind and you will make good choices. Next, focus on enabling your sales team to sell (notice I didn’t say “sales training”). I’ve covered this in previous posts: 3 Tips for Product Launch Marketing Success (part 1) 3 Tips for Product Launch Marketing Success (part 2) 3 Tips for Product Launch Marketing Success (part 3) By enabling your salespeople with the knowledge they need to move a buyer through the buying process, they’re more likely to listen and embrace what you’re sharing with them. Continue down this path and you’ll regain trust and be viewed as a partner in helping them achieve quota, not a supplier of stuff when they want it.
David Daniels

David Daniels

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