Launching a product? The following is an excerpt from Nancy’s Harkness’ new white paper: Learning Solutions and Your Product Launch: The Secret to Success

11 Rules for a Better Product Launch Banner

There are as many ways to learn about a new product as there are new products! Consider the following decision points:

Prelaunch Training:

  1. If you are limited on time, specifically analyze what learners have to know, versus what they can look up. Focus your training on the few key items that your learners need to know and recall—incorporate practice and repetition as much as you can in your tight timeframe. On a parallel path, create a robust support system so that they can quickly and easily look up what you did not have time to teach them before launch.
  2. If your new launch is similar to one learners have experienced in the past, do not start from the beginning. Use the knowledge they already have—tell them what is the same, and what is different, from what they already know. Reinforce their current knowledge, and focus your repetition and practice on the new or changed information or skills.
  3. When you have a large volume of information to teach, give them time to learn it. Weave the information together to increase retention: teach a new concept, then harken back to a previous concept, then reinforce the new one and move on to a different idea. Make sure you have time to repeat and use the information. It is tempting to touch on each concept once and move on because you have “so much to cover.” Do not give in to temptation! In most cases, mentioning something once makes the teacher feel better, but it does nothing for the learner. They forget unless they repeat, use, and get feedback.
  4. Use stories, not bullets, to help learners learn. Can you create a metaphor for your key product concept? Do you have customer success stories to share? Can you create a learning agent to guide the learner through the launch? Give learners a story to connect the product to real usage!
  5. Prelaunch training used to be dry—a set of fact sheets or a series of research results. Facts and research results are often critical to product launch success, yes. But putting them in the context of product success, customer problems and needs, and real-world results takes dry fact and ignites it into memorable learning.

Launch Training:

  1. Whether gathering sales reps for a company-wide meeting or conducting smaller training events, remember that one experience rarely creates lasting change. A launch meeting alone is less successful than a series of events that help learners incorporate the learning into their daily sales or support routines.
  2. Make sure the launch event is a learning event as well as an excitement and entertainment event. Hype only lasts until the next hype; learning creates lasting change.

Post-Launch Training:

  1. Post-launch training is better called “using launch information.” If the first use is long after the launch event is over, how do learners practice between the event and real life? What normal events—meetings, training, conversations, newsletters—incorporate the new information and skills? How can reinforcement become part of the way you do business?
  2. If your product launch is delayed after training, what are you doing to keep the information in memory? Do your learners need to retrieve it and use it on a regular basis? Are you expanding their knowledge base and skill level as you learn more in anticipation of your launch? Or, if they do forget, how will you reestablish their learning later?
  3. What are you doing to support the efforts of local leaders? What are their learning priorities, and how are you making them happen?
  4. As you begin launch planning, think about follow-up systems. Is a key skill finding information after launch quickly? If so, build the support system first and incorporate using it into every aspect of the launch… don’t just save it as an afterthought.

[av_button label=’Click here to download the white paper!’ link=’page,11854′ link_target=” size=’large’ position=’center’ icon_select=’yes’ icon_hover=’aviaTBicon_hover’ icon=’ue887′ font=’entypo-fontello’ color=’theme-color’ custom_bg=’#444444′ custom_font=’#ffffff’]