May 25, 2021
Lessons learned in 2020
2020 deprived us of many things, experiences and opportunities – including trade shows and in-person meetings – leaving B2B marketeers and salespeople struggling to effectively launch new products.
What can B2B manufacturers do to boost interest and generate leads? Below are best practice steps to launch innovation and gain faster traction among targeted audiences globally.
Step 1: Audience analysis and brand visibility
The global pandemic accelerated the shift toward digital interactions, flooding B2B buyers with information, product offerings and educational content. To cut through the clutter, it is important to create distinctive positioning and messaging for your new offering that dynamically highlights its unique business value. Consider research to best understand what target decision-makers consider the most desirable benefits and then craft a powerful communications platform and message house. Make sure you conduct competitive research so that your differentiation is truly unique.
Failure to create dynamic positioning for new products is a major reason why sales pitches and promotions gain little interest. B2B companies invest significantly in engineering new technologies and products but then often skip the necessary step to invest in creating powerful messaging to launch them. This step is even more critical today, when in-person meetings are restricted and virtual meetings are becoming a part of daily life.
Step 2: Landing page and content preparation
Before sales professionals begin sharing information on a new product, make sure that a landing page with more details has been created. If discussions with prospects are courtesy conversations ahead of the formal launch, provide customers with a password that will grant them exclusive access to the new product landing page. Give passwords to employees so that they can have access to it too and learn more about the innovation. Receiving passwords – keys to the gated content – will make prospects, customers, employees and investors feel special.
Certainly, make the landing page available as communications and promotions launch. A successful page will include compelling headlines, content, images and videos that resonate with targeted personas. Avoid engineering jargon as headlines and lead copy. Instead, craft content that spotlights the business value promised by the new offering.
Remember, the landing page is only as good as the material provided. Go beyond pure technical product specifications. Feature compelling, thought leadership content and consider adding useful features such as a return on investment (ROI) calculator, design-it-yourself tools, or authentic market research.
A main landing page goal is to capture leads. To achieve this, strategically incorporate ‘calls-to-action’ within the page. Invite prospects for a virtual coffee with technical experts, offer VIP invitations for a special demonstration, or share an on-demand webinar invitation. Offer a white paper or an exclusive video. NOTE: landing pages do not have an expiry date. With proper set up, they will become a powerful, evergreen lead generation tool.
Step 3: Fine-tune virtual selling
It’s now time to virtually assemble your sales team and advise them how to best leverage the powerful positioning and messaging platform to gain traction with key decision-makers. In advance of this meeting, create a sales presentation that focuses on probable customer pain points and how the new product effectively eradicates these issues and delivers value. Avoid presentations that talk about your business and product. Encourage prospects to talk about their needs and explain how your new offering can help.
Structure your sales meeting so that time is allocated as follows:
- 15 per cent introducing the new positioning and messaging platform and sales expectations and goals
- 20 per cent demonstrating how the positioning and messaging platform can be used to get virtual meetings with targeted prospects, and how these virtual meetings can become productive conversations. Included here would be a demonstration of the use of the strategic sales presentation
- 40 per cent on role play and practice
- 20 per cent on customer relationship management (CRM) use, email templates and the communications support plan
- five per cent on a summary of expectations and timeline.
Note: Each of the stages above should include time for questions.
Step 4: Strategic product promotion to drive leads
At this stage, a well-focused, integrated communications campaign will be launched to drive interest and leads. This effort will leverage the compelling positioning and messaging platform so that communications resonate with target personas and drive quality traffic to the landing page. The specially designed page will capture leads and the trained sales professionals will effectively follow-up and convert interest to sales.
The campaign will consist of a variety of tactics that use relevant channels to connect with relevant audiences. Tactics may include press releases, thought leadership articles, social media posts, speaking opportunities, innovation awards, infographics, digital marketing and videos. The choice of tactics and timing all depend on the targeted personas, market size, window of opportunity, geographies and relevant events.
The communications campaign needs to strategically interface with your CRM and marketing automation platforms so that leads are properly documented and tracked to monitor progress and ROI. An assessment of your marketing technology platforms should take place during steps 1 and 2.
Step 5: Reporting and insights
You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Reporting and insights need to be a crucial part of any product launch as they provide an understanding of the campaign’s effectiveness: quantity and quality of leads, promptness of sales follow-up, conversions to sales and cost per lead. In addition, measuring results regularly enables campaign optimisation so that appealing content gets more fuel to accelerate greater success.
The digital possibilities of launching and promoting a product are limitless. Following the steps above will allow you to take shortcuts to effective B2B product launch strategies and equip your sales teams with a continuous flow of high-quality leads.
A version of this blog was originally posted on finnpartners.com
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