Let’s face it. Product launches are exciting, but they are also stressful.

At the end of a long and expensive product development process, the idea of your new product not performing well on the market can be daunting. No matter how effective or innovative your new product is, it still won’t sell if your sales staff can’t properly communicate its value to your target market.

This is especially true in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Conventional sales skills can’t compensate for a lack of in-depth technical knowledge on your product or treatment.

When new indications, devices, and therapies are launched, sales reps are often expected to master complex medical knowledge in a very short period of time. Competition is fierce, and accuracy matters. Your reps’ ability to learn the ins and outs of your new product and the benefits offered to key stakeholders can make or break your sales pipeline, or even create regulatory issues.

How Does Product Launch Training Help You Meet Your Goals?

Think about your current training plan for your new product launch. Does your training plan leave reps confident in their ability to understand the nuances of the disease state and method of action of your new drug, or the features and benefits of your new device? Are you feeling confident in their level of competence?

Will your reps also be able to walk into a meeting six months after the product launch and deliver this message in a comprehensive and compelling way to a physician or lab director?

A best-in-class product launch training will be designed to engage sales reps and reinforce their learning in a meaningful way so that they can continue to effectively and accurately discuss your product with key stakeholders long after the initial product launch.

How Can You Create a Dynamic Product Launch Training Plan?

A successful product launch curriculum will be dynamic rather than static. Instead of focusing only on the information being delivered, a well-designed product launch training program will be created with the learner’s journey in mind.

1. Move beyond the single-event model

It is time to think beyond a single launch event as the cornerstone of product launch training. An event-based model of delivering important information to sales staff does not reflect the complexity of product success in the pharmaceutical and medical device market.

Our product launch training plans emphasize introducing learning objectives in meaningful phases and providing learners with appropriate tools to reinforce knowledge and practice more complex scenarios.

2. Use principles of design thinking

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to solving problems that has many applications for learning and development. Learning solution designs often make the mistake of starting with business goals rather than learning goals.

We believe that learning designs should be driven by the learner. Design thinking encourages you to consider the entire journey of the target learner from start to desired end point. This places the focus on creating meaningful and engaging learning experiences that will guide learners through the process rather than overwhelming them with information all at once.

3. Sustain learning post-launch with the toolkit approach

Even the most well-designed training module becomes ineffective when learners don’t reinforce their knowledge. In some cases, sales reps don’t know or remember how to access the appropriate resources and information when they need it.

Regional affiliates may struggle to follow through with a post-launch learning plan if they find it challenging to operationalize the available tools in a practical way. Remember, the effect of your instructional design depends on more than just the content. Usability and flexibility are equally important. Regional affiliates need to understand how they can fit launch materials into their workflow and schedules.

We recommend a four-phase product launch training model that emphasizes not only pre-launch and post-launch reinforcement tools, but also a flexible toolkit approach to long-term learning. This can involve designing modular and easily revisable post-launch training materials, incentive and reward systems to keep engagement high, and built-in feedback mechanisms that allow affiliates to easily fill knowledge gaps and reach out for support.

4. Bring learning to life

Effective learning goes beyond lectures from keynote speakers and information-packed PowerPoints. The more meaningful experiences that you can incorporate into your product launch training design, the more learners will be able to engage with the material and commit learning to long-term memory.

There are many ways to engage learners. But product launch training design, in particular, should strive to create realistic scenarios to practice skills and knowledge. Your reps will greatly benefit from opportunities to engage in active practice.

Though this can be as simple as creating roleplaying activities that allow reps to go through different practical scenarios, another option is incorporating augmented reality into your training design.

product launch plan

Augmented reality can be used in product launch training to bring a disease state or a drug’s method of action to life for pharmaceutical and medical device reps. The type of experiential learning offered by augmented reality can help reps transform abstract factual knowledge into a more concrete and nuanced understanding.

The more confident your reps are in their mastery of the product launch materials, the more effectively they will be able to deliver your message to key stakeholders.