According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, only 3% of new products achieve their revenue targets. There are lots of reasons new products don’t make it. The product design could be poor, the marketing campaign could be weak, the timing could be off, or economic conditions could be unfavorable. Companies work hard to mitigate these risks by spending millions in R&D, customer surveys, and marketing research. And yet even when millions are spent to make sure that the new product is the right product at the right time and place, companies simply make the assumption that a key element of success – selling the product – will simply take care of itself.
When most new products are launched to a sales force, there is a similar pattern that seems to be followed. New product training and marketing collateral are provided to the sales team, frequently in a large meeting setting with the appropriate fanfare. The meeting, including the training and collateral, is focused almost exclusively on product details, explaining how the product is different and better. Marketing teams work hard to prepare their presentations so that it generates excitement and gets the sales force motivated to take the new product into their territories. Marketing often makes the dangerous assumption that the sales team will know what to do with the information they have provided and that the sales reps are as excited about the new product as marketing is.
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