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April 10, 2019

How Allego Helps Reps Nail a New Product Launch

What’s the biggest challenge of selling an innovative new product?

According to Thomas Steenburgh, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, it’s the lack of support most sales reps receive before and after the launch.

“The basic problem is that [product development teams] think that once they’ve created a good product, it’ll sell itself,” said Steenburgh in a recent podcast. “They just figure, ‘I can get it to the salespeople and they’ll figure it out.’

“You’re asking the salesperson to become a change agent … and that’s not a role that the salesperson plays if you’re selling an existing product because it doesn’t upset any of the internal processes at the buying organization. Selling new products requires 32% percent more time spent in face-to-face meetings, which, depending on the location of your customers can be costly in time and money.”

5 Tips for New Product Messaging

The process will be even more costly if your sales reps aren’t adequately prepped to discuss the product’s features and benefits, and to overcome customer objections – sometimes with a completely different set of buyers.

This is where a sales learning and readiness platform can help. By adopting these 5 tips, you can ensure that reps are ready to effectively message the value of the new product or service once they’re interacting with customers.

  1.     Create content for a virtual training course

To start, determine what content you’ll need for a virtual new-product training course. Enlist the help of subject matter experts, including product managers and the marketing team, to create short videos detailing the product’s specs and benefits, as well as some best sales messaging examples, suggested best practices, objection handling, quizzes and flash drills. Then, organize and sequence the material so it forms a coherent “learning journey.”

  1.     Augment in-person training with videos

If the sales team will attend an in-person event for the initial product-launch training, distribute the videos (above) before the meeting. That way, reps will show up ready to discuss the product in more detail and ask more insightful questions, instead of trying to “drink from a firehose” of entirely new information. In addition, they’re more likely to understand and retain the content because they won’t be learning everything for the first time.

  1.  Capture new content from live meetings

Don’t let live sessions “evaporate” once they’re over. Record the presentations, role-playing exercises and sales messaging rehearsals from each day’s session and use it as future learning material. Much more interesting and engaging than a PowerPoint deck, these videos can be used for on-demand knowledge, skills development and just-in-time learning once the sales team is back in the field.

  1.     Reinforce the learning

To make sure the sales team doesn’t forget most of what they just learned, send out bite-sized video updates to refresh their knowledge. In addition, spot-check the readiness of every rep with adaptive reinforcement exercises in the form of short, daily quizzes in various formats like video, text, and slides. This gives salespeople the opportunity to bone up on particular topics in just a few minutes a day.

One Allego client recently used these Flash Drills to help its reps sell a new product to a different audience segment in the same market. The program achieved a participation rate of 96% and was so successful at helping the reps prepare for sales calls that the company trainers have been flooded with requests for more exercises.

  1.     Post-launch: collect and curate the best field examples 

Collect, curate and share new best practices videos, coaching exercises and customer win stories from your reps in the field. Be on the lookout for stories that are specific to particular industries, companies, and types of buyer. Solicit stories from your sales team that highlight how customers are using the new solution and obtaining value from it. Your reps can leverage these videos to continually enhance their sales messaging.

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