I don’t think I am alone in this, but 2019 feels like a lifetime ago. It was August of that year that we first introduced our Product Innovation Quotient, a tool to help organizations assess their product innovation capabilities. Since then, our thinking has evolved—and so has the assessment.
Today, we have a more robust assessment that is still simple to complete and understand—and digital. We’ve renamed it the Product Innovation Maturity Diagnostic. You can take the assessment on our website. We’ll send you the results via email once your scores are calculated by our team.
A Model for Product Innovation
Modern product innovation and management is an organization-wide competency – not a single person’s job.
With this in mind, we created an organization-wide model - what we call the Productize Pathway - for how to develop and bring products to market successfully. It encompasses activities from data analysis, market research, finance, product development, sales and marketing.
We've created the Vecteris Product Innovation Maturity Diagnostic to measure your competencies across the six phases of the Productize Pathway:
Few teams are strong across all phases of the Productize Pathway. Knowing ahead of time where you may need help (either in resources or in training) will help save you time and money allowing you to reach success faster.
We designed the Product Innovation Maturity Diagnostic to walk you through each stage, outline best practices and help you determine which areas you should focus on improving first.
Digital transformation is coming at lightning speed. Previously in-person services are being offered virtually. New digital products are coming to the market quickly. The way we do business is forever changing.
For example, our video platforms and remote work tools have been a beacon of light while working remotely during the coronavirus. They've offered us a chance to see familiar faces, whether those are casual social interactions or facilitated business conversations. These virtual moments keep our days feeling unique and less isolating.
While accelerating the digital transformation of products and services, it is important to remember that our sales strategy may need to change. Even if we have identified a great consumer need and developed a great product or solution to meet that need, we won't be successful if we haven’t taught our sales teams how to sell a new digital product.
No matter how fast we are moving, there are some tried and true tactics for preparing sales teams to pivot, adapt to a new product, and deliver results:
Make sure they know what they are selling. That sounds ridiculously obvious. But, when we quickly develop and launch a new product it’s easy to forget to slow down long enough to explain it to other people. Introducing the sales team to the new product and sales process is important to building trust among the sales team, and for giving them the knowledge they need to sell it.
Salespeople need to understand the “why” of this product. What problem is it solving? What is the true market for it? They must feel good about who will buy the product and how much the customer will pay for it.
And, let’s not forget that the sales team is closest to the voice of the customer and will often have opinions about the success of the product before making their first pitch.
Ask for their feedback along the way. The pace of development might be lightning-fast, but the sooner we engage the sales team, the better. It’s a way to get valuable insights into marketability and likely customer reactions, but it will also make them feel more invested in the product and more equipped to sell it.
Spend time and money on marketing collateral. We are typically thinking of the client when we develop marketing collateral and often forget that marketing collateral also gives our sales team the confidence that we’ve invested in all levels of the product launch. So, don’t skip this step no matter how quickly the product is moving.
Build a selling toolbox. In addition to the marketing collateral, we also need to give our salespeople an arsenal of tools to make their job easy. This includes things like a 30-second elevator pitch, a sales deck, a checklist, and anything else that someone learning about the new product needs to know or that you want them to know.
Incentivize, incentivize, incentivize. Last but not least, this isn’t the time to make our sales teams feel financially insecure. It is important to make sure the sales compensation model matches the new product type to get the sales team focused on where you need them.
Just like everything else when it comes to products, iterate! Evaluate the product, marketing tools, sales pitch, etc. with the team. What’s working? What needs to be revised? What additional research is needed? Keep the conversations flowing to and from the sales team.
We’d love to hear what you are doing to engage your sales team. Or if you are in sales, what’s working in your organization as it digitally transforms? To help, Vecteris is offering a limited number of free coaching sessions for leaders to advise on your product launch plan and how to set up your sales team for success. Reach out if you are interested in learning more.
“If I give this new product to my current sales team to sell, it might eat away my existing business.”
We hear this a lot.
So many executives get caught up in the fear that new products will detract, or worse destroy, their existing business. It is a legitimate concern. Total or partial cannibalization can occur when a new product moves customers away from current service offerings or product lines.
That’s why we spend a lot of time helping companies to scope, position, and launch new product innovations in a way that does not mistakenly cannibalize existing revenue streams.
We call our approach the 3 Cs of Cannibalization.