3 Tips for New Product launch sales readiness
1. Build a Sales Readiness Plan. It is not just a training event
2. Make the content work for sales
3. Make Training Fun!
Launching New Products are the key growth vehicle for Consumer Electronics and Appliances companies. Marketing teams spend time and money to make this successful. Most teams would follow a checklist of activities in a sequence…including direct consumer marketing, web-readiness, e-marketing readiness, and marketing collateral. Of course, one of the critical items is Retail sales-readiness. Most consumer good companies will hire thousands of product trainers, tens of thousands of promoters to get the retail sales channel ready for the customers who will be excited by all the adverts, mailers, etc. These trainers would plan to train up the retail staff, promoters on ad hoc manner. The goal is to get as many salespeople trained up as possible before the public launch. Training needed to include promotions, competitive compare, target customers, etc.
Is the channel ready and as excited to convert all the walk-ins to the new product? This is where the rubber meets the road!! One of the marketing managers whom we interviewed commented; “we really don’t know who is really trained… we don’t have any idea if they were attentive in the training!” As we discussed in the previous blog on retail channel mindshare, readiness is not just training.
Today’s smartphone world offers a completely different paradigm. Reaching the channel and engaging promoters, retail sales team does not need to be ad hoc. It can be a series of events which can build up to a crescendo and we have a retail team which is as excited, better prepared and motivated to sell the new product to the right target customers. Here are some best practice tips executed by our leading customers.
It starts with a 2-week teaser campaign which creates excitement with the channel. The Teaser campaign can start educating about the target customer persona, or key USPs using Gifs, videos, and streams. Add a small new fun content, every day. The Sales channel is now waiting to learn!
This is followed by an extensive 5-day daily stream of training with quizzes. Abreena Tompkins, an Instruction Specialist shared that Learners find it difficult to focus for more than 20 minutes at one stretch. This calls for snackable content. Bite-Size cards, videos, games can create fun in learning and improve the recall.
Each day is focused on one idea. For example, day 1 could be a product intro and quiz, followed by USPs, followed key specs, variants and ordering, competitive compare and end with a final product quiz. The quiz can be gamified with leader-boards to encourage competition and learning. And of course, the results can be converted to rewards to motivate the learning process. In a smartphone and cloud world, the quiz results can be collated to identify sales-readiness at scale. These can be tabulated for further face to face training activities.
Finally, to get additional focus on premium areas of the new product a sales contest can be launched at scale to all the promoters and retail staff. This is recommended as a multi-step process. Starting with a pre-announcement on week 3 and communicating the contest on week 4 with details of the contest and reward. Rewards and incentives are critical at this stage, and they need to be trackable, instantly redeemable to drive the right sales behavior.
Driving a 5-week New Product Introduction process with a retail channel is impossible without the use of digital technologies. A single training using 1000s of trainers and incentive communication to the 100000s retails shops takes organizational effort. With all the retail sales staff connected with your brand using a smartphone and the right sales readiness platform can change the way you train, enable and empower the sales channel.