You pulled off a big bang release for your company’s new product. Everything went on as planned. And it also got a lot of mileage in the press, on social media, and more.
But the revenue?
The revenue flow has been far from exciting. And you are left wondering why.
Well, let’s say, you are not alone.
One of the commonest mistakes that product marketing managers make and maybe you have made too is not prepping your customer-facing teams about the new offering. Equipped with very little information about the new release, these teams who are central to bringing clients onboard fail to drive real results.
This makes it imperative for you to plan an internal release before an actual market release.
A Go to Team strategy before a Go to Market strategy
The idea is not to have a standalone webinar with your customer-facing teams and expect them to hit the ground running. In actuality, you need to provide these teams with continuous and timely support all along the way to drive sales. This means, you need to start planning a go-to-team (GTT) strategy alongside your go to market strategy. Let’s say, you are releasing a new product or an upgrade, then it’s best that your teams start hearing about it at least 3-4 months in advance.
Adding GTT strategy can look like a cumbersome addition to your already elaborate Go to Market (GTM) plans. But trust me, when run in parallel, it will not take away from your time or resources for the actual product release, instead, it will only add such value that you’ll be thankful for.
And just in case you are wondering how to begin, here are some best practices to put together your go-to-team strategy.
Bring everyone together
The barriers need to come down. For a successful release, teams need to stop working in silos and the onus of making this happen rests upon you, the product marketer. Collaboration is key to the success of any marketing release. And getting everyone to glide along towards this common vision is your responsibility. Make it happen with effective, transparent and timely communication. A strategic plan and team-wise goals and timelines can also keep teams from stepping on each other’s toes.
Have a roadmap ready
Create a product release spreadsheet that serves as a roadmap for everyone involved in the release journey. Make it as detailed as possible with specific asset deliverables, each team’s responsibilities, and timelines for each. Make it a point to keep the sheet updated at all times and store it at a place where it is accessible to everyone. As the product marketer, you have to ensure that teams are on task and aligned with a larger strategy.
Keep track of milestones.
Since software launches usually happen in several phases, align your roadmap with the product roadmap. Engage extensively with the product manager to ensure your plans are in alignment with the development of the product. Timing is of particular importance here. Any glitches can put your entire roadmap off-track, the ripple effect of which can cause extreme distress among teams. Further, strengthen your collaboration with product management by streamlining your interactions with appropriate documentation.
Segment your stakeholders
Your go-to-team strategy will have to be customized for different stakeholders. And for that, you need to segment them smartly. Here’s one way that can be helpful.
Zone 1: Analysts and other external communities
Zone 2: Sales, pre-sales, sales enablement
Zone 3: Marketing
Zone 4: Customer Success
Each of these zones will need release kits that will be unique to the conversations that they will drive with the customers.
Tailor release kits for each zone
Create a shareable, usable content kit for each of the zones and share it with them. Make sure to keep all other irrelevant content out of these kits. The last thing you want is for them to get lost in a sea of information. Here’s a ready format that can serve as a guide for what kind of content you need for each zone for every one of your product releases.
You can download the Product Release Go-to-Team Checklist Kit for free.
Follow a timeline
Bombing your teams with all the information at one go may not be the best of ideas. Instead, try dripping information to teams continuously to keep the release on top of their minds. The idea is for the information to stick and for the frontline teams to be able to discuss the product with potential clients. This means it helps to keep getting information continuously and consistently.
To get teams to see the larger picture and work together to this common goal is far from easy. In fact, even though collaboration sounds quite easy in theory, in action, it can be one of the toughest challenges for you. However, there is no bypassing this phase. For any product release to be as successful in reality as on paper, you must go through the arduous task of enabling your teams to speak the same product language. And if you can trust me, it will all be well worth the effort.