Everyone says they want a successful launch. But few people put in place a way to know if they are on track to have a successful launch.
The scenario goes like this. Your team worked hard to get the product finished. They worked just as hard to get your organization launch-ready. And once the product is in the hands of our sales team (or distribution channel), you thought the launch was over.
Let’s go have a party and celebrate the success of our product launch!
Months later a meeting is called to discuss the status of the product launch. And it’s not going to be a celebratory meeting. It’s going to be a blame-storming meeting and it won’t be pretty.
OKRs Define Success
Hold on a minute. Getting ‘done’ doesn’t define a successful product launch. Achieving your launch objectives and key results (OKRs) defines a successful product launch.
That’s an idea that is fundamental to the BrainKraft Product Launch Framework.
It means your product launch doesn’t end when you ship your product. It’s the start of a journey to accelerate your product launch to achieve the launch OKRs your team has worked so hard to support.
Accelerate is Where the Fun Starts
Launch acceleration is where the fun starts. It’s when everything you believe would happen either does or it doesn’t. Staying on top of launch performance gives you the flexibility to make adjustments should things start to go off the rails.
Accelerate - to cause faster or greater progress
Your sales channel could be the biggest obstacle to a successful product launch. That’s not intended to be antagonistic. It’s intended to share a dose of reality.
You shouldn't assume your sales channel will embrace a new product unless it’s the only product they can sell. If your sales team can sell any product in a portfolio of products, guess which products they gravitate to?
Did you say the products with the highest commission? You would be wrong. Salespeople gravitate to the products with the least amount of risk to their sales quota.
Measure Launch Performance
Launch OKRs are always the reference point. It’s the North Star of the product launch. With that in mind, we need to measure, analyze, and adjust to ensure that launch performance is going in - and staying in - the right direction.
Think of launch performance like you would the gauges on your car’s dashboard. The most obvious measure of performance is miles per hour.
MPH can be used to know if you will get to your destination on time, to comply to local speed limits, or to brag about your quarter mile track time.
Who is watching the gauges of your product launch?
Do you know how fast or slow it’s going?
Can you use the information in those gauges to predict an outcome?
Launch metrics are defined in the Launch Plan process of the BrainKraft Product Launch Framework. And those metrics are connected directly to your top-level launch OKRs.
Defining great launch performance metrics is one thing. Please make sure you can collect the data and that you can get the data in a way that allows you to slice and dice it.
Analyze Launch Performance
Now that you know you can get launch performance metrics, it’s time to make sense out of it.
The point of the Analyze step is to understand what is going well and what isn’t. And to know long before it becomes a problem.
The goal of the Analyze step is to identify launch performance trends and bottlenecks.
Choose an analysis frequency that makes sense for the cadence of the product launch. Products with a shorter sales cycle benefit from more frequent analysis. Products with a longer sales cycle don’t benefit from frequent analysis.
A single negative issue should be monitored, but a negative trend requires action.
Start by identifying the reasons for the negative trend (or bottleneck).
Bring your launch team together to identify methods to address the negative trend. Evaluate the pros and cons of each method. Then take action.
The action you take could be an adjustment to launch tactics, an adjustment to the launch strategy, or a realization that more data should be collected to better understand the negative trend.
Stay the course. Don’t change launch performance metrics to satisfy a hunch.
Make adjustments after identifying trends, not individual anecdotes.