We often support clients with complex products to bring to market. The product launch training can be even more complex. With so many different customer types and messages, it can be a lot to cover.
So if you want your training to drive results, it must be carefully designed and implemented. Doing one without the other is a sure way to fail.
Careful consideration must be made to identifying the right goals during the design phase, getting necessary buy-in and designing solutions that help the right groups of learners acquire the right knowledge and skills at the right time.
Characteristics of Successful Product Launch Training
Every product launch curriculum design project is different, but certain characteristics remain consistent across most projects. Product launch curriculums that have these characteristics are much more likely to contribute to a successful product launch.
1. Performance focused: A successful product launch curriculum will have a clear, measurable, actionable performance outcome. The outcome typically focuses on a specific metric the organization desires to achieve.
2. Instructional goal(s): In addition to a performance or business outcome, the curriculum should have a clear instructional goal. The goal will guide the creation of learning objectives for the various solutions in the curriculum.
3. Organized into topics: Since most product launches are complex and relate to multiple different job types, the content must be chunked into topics. Branding should be created around each topic that is consistent throughout the curriculum so learners can make easy connections.
4. Organized into phases: We design most product launch curriculums around three main phases: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. Pre-launch materials present introductory concepts, product knowledge, and competitor information. Launch provides an opportunity for hands-on practice and a time for building some “buzz.” Post-launch focuses on reinforcement and usually includes just-in-time reference tools.
5. Includes multiple learning paths: It’s highly unlikely that all of the employees who will take your product launch training have the exact same role or position. Make sure that product launch training materials are relevant and customized to each target audience: managers, sales, support and sometimes even the end user.
6. Broken into chunks: You likely have multiple topics to cover in your product launch training. Consider breaking the topics into manageable chunks, and spread them out in the different phases. Varying levels of detail should be present in each phase, but the content must all connect.
7. Blended: New product launches, especially when the product is complex, are too important to deliver through a single format. We recommend a blended learning approach that combines eLearning, games, video, apps, instructor-led training, and performance support tools into a cohesive collection of learning solutions.
8. Supported throughout the organization: Your L&D department or an external vendor cannot create effective product launch training materials without buy-in and information from your marketing and product development departments. Sales will also want buy-in on the approaches used to train reps.
9. Helpful to on-site trainers: You will need to include “train the trainer” sessions in your curriculum so that individuals are prepared to lead the on-site activities at your product launch event. These learners will have special needs that differ from those of individual reps.
10. Measured with assessments: It is important that facilitators can accurately determine the progress learners make. You can also show learners the progress they have made throughout the curriculum with an assessment, which helps motivate them to continue. Finally, you can show stakeholders that the product launch curriculum has been effective.
Putting it all together
By executing on these ten characteristics, you can be sure that your product launch will be a success. Sales reps will go out with the confidence and competence they need to succeed.
But some of these tips can be harder to implement than others. It’s important to communicate the value that this training can provide to all stakeholders. Sure it can be hard to drum up the extra resources needed to reinforce the learning, but what’s the alternative? Sales reps forgetting that customer type B has no need for product feature A and blowing a six-figure sale.
So now that we’ve covered the bases, reach out to us if you need any help planning, creating, or implementing your own product launch training.