I once worked with an aggressive product manager who decided to include a product made by another company in his suite of products. It seemed like a good idea because it provided a capability his current products didn’t have and it would increase the overall value he was able to deliver to his prospects and customers. In fact, he was so excited about it; he began describing it to a couple of customers he worked closely with. Being a small and tight industry, those who heard about this upcoming offering told some of their friends at other companies. They were curious about this new product and called their account manager for the details.
 
Unfortunately, the product hadn’t been introduced to the sales force so each account manager was put in the awkward situation of having to admit they didn’t know about the product and they would have to collect information about it and get back to the prospect. This is not a situation you want to create for your sales team.
 
This raises the importance of in what order should the product be introduced to your different audiences. It’s not a complicated problem if you think about where people get information and who you want to deliver the information. First, you want to prepare the people that should be delivering the information to the most important audience, the intended customer.  This is your distribution channel, and for many B2B companies, this means your direct sales force. To strengthen their relationship with current and future clients, they should be given the opportunity and information to accurately and confidently present the value of the new offering.
 
You also need to prepare industry analysts and influencers so they will have prepared thoughtful and hopefully positive reviews of your product when the curious prospects start surfing the web for information about the new product. Don’t forget your support people. They are in constant contact with customers so you need to prepare them with the key messages to use when a customer asks them what they think about the new product.

Following this simple pattern, it’s not hard to develop a schedule of which audiences need to receive the new product information before others. It’s usually your target market that should hear about your new offering last. Introduce the product to
your sales force, your company, the industry infrastructure, and your value network partners first because they’ll play an important role in delivering your messages for you.
 


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