Why Product Managers Should Include Training in Their Launch Plan

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Everyone like surprises – at least good surprises like surprise birthday parties, surprise company lunches at work, finding a surprise twenty dollars in your jeans, etc. Then there are bad surprises… like when you take that first sip of coffee and it’s way too hot or when your computer crashes at work and you lose everything.

And then there’s the really bad surprise when you’re a product manager and you find out your company’s sales reps are misrepresenting the product you so carefully developed!

When sales reps don’t have the knowledge and skills they need to sell your new products, all the time and money you spent goes down the drain. So how do you avoid bad surprises when you’re creating your next product launch plan?

Training. More Training. And reinforcement, too.

Most sales reps don’t receive sufficient training on new products they are expected to sell. They rely on marketing collateral and PowerPoints to learn, which barely scratches the surface. And when sales reps don’t know how to effectively articulate the value of a new product, they wind up missing opportunities with buyers.

However, the right training can make a significant impact on the success of your launch. It has to be designed in a way that helps learners remember by teaching and reinforcing key skills and knowledge. You have to identify what you want sales reps to learn and when to introduce each learning objective in the curriculum. Then decide how and when to reinforce this knowledge.

We recommend a four-phase product launch training model:

product launch plan

Product launch plan training examples

Here are three examples of product launches where we worked with product managers to help them create and sustain a successful product launch:

1. Gamified Product Launch plan uses the power of story

Our client partnered with us to design a gamified blended learning curriculum for the launch of its innovative medical product. In addition to custom eLearning and instructor-led components, we used our Knowledge Guru platform to engage participants, reinforce knowledge and assess knowledge transfer prior to the launch events.

The Goal: Sales reps and accounts managers can effectively uncover unmet needs and convey the value proposition of the product to meet those unmet needs through the use of powerful and compelling stories.

The Results: The training curriculum has driven strong business results and has set a new organizational standard for product launch training at our client’s organization.

See the curriculum

2. Launch with innovative theme connects learning through all three phases

A life science company was about to have a global product launch with a highly complex product. The product launch training curriculum we developed used a three-part framework to drive knowledge retention long after launch. The training used a fun racing theme throughout.

The Goal: Sales reps can confidently communicate the points of differentiation that drive the value of the product based on each customer’s needs.

The Results: The client is getting ready for another global product launch, and is using the same structure and methodology because of its “proven success.”

See the curriculum

3. Global launch uses performance support, video, and games to support reps

We worked with a life science company to create a three-phased launch with easy-to-access performance support tools and engaging pre-work.

The Goal: Make sales reps both confident and competent.

The Results: Sales reps were excited by the training and launch countries invited to the pilot chose to use the materials, translating the global versions with minimal customizations.

See the curriculum

Product Launch Plan Training Template

We have created a simple worksheet that allows you to go through the process of planning a product launch curriculum using the three-phase launch model pictured above. At the end of the worksheet, we included ten characteristics of a successful product launch curriculum to help you visualize what type of learning solutions might be used in each phase.

The worksheet is available for free download here.