Create a product push strategy from product position to training
When selling in a crowded market, your sales strategy is the foundation on which your success will be built. In my first article in this series, “How to Penetrate the Market with a New Product in the Oversold Market”, I examined how salespeople can excel by using relationship-focused sales techniques. However, when developing a strategy to answer the question of how to penetrate the market with a new product, a company must also consider product positioning and publicity.
Keep your salespeople involved
Your salespeople are integral to the process of positioning your product and marketing it. They know your target customer, and have built meaningful client relationships. Encourage your salespeople to also know and understand the competition, how they position their products, and the strategies they are using. This information becomes invaluable when positioning a new product.
Train your sales team
Releasing a new product is always an anxious exercise. Every member of the sales team should benefit from product demonstrations, so they fully understand its features and benefits. This will help them to sell solutions to problems confidently.
Help your salespeople own their learning
Conventional wisdom says that sales training is achieved by ‘push’ – for example, by telling your salespeople about the what, why and how of new products. Sales managers need to coach as well as train, and encourage an environment where salespeople take responsibility for their own learning.
Ask them to assess product pitches, and question what is working and what is not working, and to combine their experience and best practices to produce a sales strategy for the new product that will reflect its value and enable them to communicate this to customers.
Create a sharing environment
Focus on enabling salespeople to share their experiences of both success and failure in selling the new product. Provide methods, places, and time for exchange of information between salespeople, in an environment that encourages continuous learning.
Engage new opportunities with existing customers
Value propositions will help salespeople to target existing customers, driving leads among existing customers who may have gone stale and need to be re-engaged. If key elements were missing from previous products, the new product launch could be the perfect opportunity to upsell.
Using the knowledge and experience of your salespeople, you will be able to devise a strategy that achieves three components of product positioning:
- Differentiate your new product from those of your competitors
- Answer the customers’ buying needs
- Explain the new product’s key attributes
With your product positioning strategy given definition and clarity, you will be prepared to create your marketing plan. Create buzz on social media, combining this with email messaging and more traditional forms of advertising, and promotions at trade fairs. All your marketing materials and messages should:
- Convey a single primary message
- Connect with the target customer
- Differentiate from competitor products
- Be credible, believable, and offer a sustainable solution
We find that many companies with whom we consult have failed to fully utilize the potential of their salespeople at the early stage of market development with a new product. However, an imperative of success with new products is to include salespeople in strategy conversations at the earliest possible stage. By doing so, your company will be feeding back invaluable customer profiling data that will help to develop a meaningful, focused, and targeted marketing message that is consistent and clear at all levels.
With positioning and publicity now in place, the time has come to roll out to the market. With the right strategy and utilizing your sales strength to the max, you needn’t be starting from scratch. However, it will be time to get back to basics. This is where the seven characteristics of a successful salesperson come fully into play.
Selling a new product is most easily done by a salesperson who is liked and trusted, and when sold to those existing customers with whom the salesperson has developed a strong business relationship. When strong sales skills are combined with high emotional intelligence and back-to-basics techniques, the result is a cocktail of powerful selling ability that will ignite sales.
Sales managers must ensure that their sales teams understand the new product, how it is positioned in the market, and the key benefits it offers to new and existing customers. Therefore, it is incumbent on sales managers to provide adequate training in the lead-in to a new product launch, as, ultimately, it will be the sales team that drives success.
Still, there will be resistance to ‘trialing’ a new product. Salespeople who are adept at gaining trust, and connecting not only with needs and wants but also on a greater emotional level, will be able to position the sale as what it is: early-stage access to a great new product. By requesting the client’s valuable feedback, and listening to it before taking appropriate actions, your company will be best placed to evolve its product placement and publicity strategies to take full advantage of the real market potential.
The better you are at understanding your market, and the closer your salespeople get to your customers, the better you will position your new product. And a well-positioned new product markets itself.
To discover how Forward Focus will help your sales teams ignite their sales, contact us now to discuss the Integrity Selling Course.