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16 B2B Product Launch Best Practices to Help You With Your Next Launch

16 B2B product launch best practices

Launching a B2B product can be a daunting initiative. It involves multiple stakeholders across varying functional areas. The larger the organization, the more complex it becomes to navigate the bureaucracy to accomplish even what seems to be the smallest tasks. 

I’ve compiled a list of 16 B2B product launch practices to help you with your next launch that I’ve learned from my personal launch experience and working with hundreds of B2B companies in dozens of industries.

1. Have a defined launch process.

A documented step-by-step product launch process, even an informal one, is far better than starting from scratch every time. Your engineering team has processes. Your sales team has processes. Your launch team needs a process too. 

2. Separate the launch team into two groups. 

A core group is the PM, PMM, and project manager. The extended group includes representatives from the functional areas responsible for launch readiness. Use the core team to focus on problem areas and set the agenda for weekly launch meetings. Use the extended team to drive launch readiness and identify problem areas.

3. Define clear and concise launch objectives.

The reason is to measure the impact of the launch on the business and to align the launch team. Launch objectives must include a metric, an amount, and a timeframe. Use the Win, Keep, Grow, and Steal method. Socialize and gain approval for your launch objectives from launch stakeholders.

4. Establish a weekly cadence of launch team meetings.

The frequency and cadence of launch meetings ensure you catch problems early and have enough time to address them. It also makes it easier to get participation when the meeting time is locked into everyone’s calendar.

5. Use weekly extended launch team meetings to share status and identify problems, not solve them.

Solving problems should occur outside of the regularly scheduled launch team meetings. Your goal is to keep everyone on the launch team engaged and participating. The launch director or project manager must catch when this happens and remind the affected members to address the problem in a separate meeting. Identify the issue and assign an action item for follow-up.

6. Track the progress of your launch readiness.

Track meeting attendance. Document progress. Track actions. Track issues. Track decisions. No detail is too small. This way, the entire launch team can see the progress, identify issues, and not retrace steps already taken.

7. Brief stakeholders often so they see the progress of the launch. 

You need the support of your launch stakeholders. Keeping them in the dark for long periods of time is a recipe for losing the vital support you need. Bad news doesn’t improve over time; good news is worth celebrating. 

8. Focus on the market segments with the highest probability of achieving your launch objectives.

Not everyone wants or needs your product. Identify your ideal customer profile and the market segments where they are most likely to be found. 

9. Avoid competitors where they are strong and you are weak.

It's unwise to attack competitors in a market segment with a strong market position unless you have a superior offering and reputation. You will waste valuable time and resources. Neither a superior product nor a low price will be enough.

10. Attack competitors where you are strong and they are weak.

It's wise to compete head-on with competitors with a weak offering and reputation. Leverage your strengths to gain a beachhead you can expand from, gain market share, build references, and a stronger reputation.

11. Identify and remove internal and external obstacles that prevent achieving your launch objectives.

Every launch has obstacles. Some are internal, like politics, resources, systems, and budget, and some are external, like competitors, authority, and reputation. Identify the obstacles, rank them by impact, and find ways to remove them. 

12. Identify and leverage your advantages to accelerate achieving your launch objectives.

Every organization has advantages that can be leveraged that are often overlooked or dismissed. Even the smallest advantages can help your launch achieve the launch objectives. Brainstorm with your team to identify the advantages that your organization has built up over time and discuss ways to leverage them. 

13. Build your launch strategy by following the least path of resistance.

A strategy defines how you will achieve your launch objectives. Narrow your launch strategy to ensure all available resources are focused in the most optimal way to achieve your launch objectives. 

14. Define launch readiness based on each functional area's capabilities to support your launch objectives, not the deliverables people want.

Launch readiness is often considered the deliverables and the stuff we create. Zero in on capabilities, like the ability to qualify a sales prospect, the ability to nurture a buyer through a buying decision, the ability to accept payment, the ability to deliver a product, the ability to onboard new customers, and the ability to provide help when customers need it. This method drastically narrows the scope of the deliverables. 

15. Accelerate your launch objectives by measuring key progress indicators.

Adjust your launch tactics based on performance patterns, not instances. Key progress indicators are objective measures of performance. When you see something is working, do more of it. When you see something isn’t working, figure out why and adjust. 

16. Learn and improve.

When your launch is finished, it’s time to reflect. Identify what worked well, what needs to change, and what you must stop doing because it didn’t work.



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