Will your B2B product launch strategy succeed? The answer depends on your ability to make the right calls in a series of high-stakes decisions:
- What are the objectives for your launch?
- What features and benefits are mandatory to compete and which ones can elevate you to a leadership position?
- What is the competition doing with their products, messaging, and marketing tactics?
- Who do you need to reach to initiate and close deals, and how can you persuade them?
- What messages will resonate with your target audience during their B2B customer journey?
- How can you track progress towards your goals and adjust your B2B marketing strategy, including brand health measurement?
Getting the answers to questions like these is vital for a successful product launch strategy for B2B companies.
How to use research to inform your B2B product launch
The essential element of any successful product launch strategy is market insight. Hindsight is 20-20. That tired cliché simply points out how easy it is to make the right decisions when you have dependable knowledge in hand.
The trick to launch planning success is to have foresight that is 20-20. Here is how to use research to gain that foresight at each step in the product launch process.
Capture information needed to define objectives
It is easy to list objectives based simply on what you want to achieve. A better way is to create launch objectives based on what you can achieve. Knowing what that is takes an understanding of the B2B product research lifecycle.
Realistic, data-backed objectives are SMART—that is, they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and have a timing component. How can you know what specifically is attainable that your potential customers want, and how fast can you achieve your objectives?
You will want to research the potential size of your market, the willingness of potential customers to pay and an idea of how much to solve pain points, and how long your sales cycle might be, just for starters. The insights you gather to answer these questions will drive everything from your launch schedule to your budget.
Gather insights to describe buyer personas
B2B product launch strategies hinge on a fundamental difference versus launching consumer products. In B2B, the buying decision almost always involves more than one person. You may have a user who is different from a purchaser who is different from a decision-maker—and you could have a range of influencers in the mix.
Creating personas for each individual involved in making decisions will help you know who is engaged in each step of the sales funnel and how. You will want to conduct research into basic demographics, job titles and roles, goals and motivations, and needs, challenges and pain points.
Understand what messaging will be effective along the sales funnel
When you know who you need to reach to launch your product and what matters to them, you will then need to create messaging that gets attention and what persuades each player on the decision team at each step along the sales funnel.
Your launch plan should include time to test messaging options so you can select the most effective options and fine-tune content marketing ideas and language aimed at your target audience.
Know how to select launch tactics
The next step is to decide what media and methods will get your messages to the right people.
In most cases, your launch tactics will involve your sales team, resellers, and distributors. Your B2B content marketing strategy including digital media, from email to website to social media posts and beyond, also play a role. You may want to do an event at an industry trade show or conference. PR also contributes to your market strategy.
What are the right ways to get your message out, and how can they best be coordinated? Research will guide your planning.
Measure performance fast to respond quickly
Your need for insight doesn’t stop when the planning is done. You will want to track what is working from day one onward. Ideally, the metrics you gather will help you fix problems, fine-tune what is working to work even better, and get a jump on ad hoc opportunities in the moment.
The best plans in the world necessarily change when confronted by reality. If you have great research, your plans likely need only a tweak. You’ll know more about your options and can be more agile. Still, things change fast in business. The faster you capture and interpret data from your B2B buyers, the faster and better you can respond.
Three keys to effective B2B insights product launch planning
It is good to know how important it is to have 20-20 foresight for each of the elements of launch planning covered above. Still, you face a crucial issue: How can you get dependable information? Research has shown 98% of professionals know the importance of dependable data, yet just 49% of them believe their data is trustworthy (Experian).
Here are three keys for capturing, using, and making good decisions with high-quality B2B research:
Custom recruit exact audiences
Having accurate data for a successful B2B product launch rests on your ability to find and engage the right sample. For most B2B products, that means finding qualified professionals in very specific roles and industries and convincing them to share their perspectives. A general panel simply won’t cut it. All too often, you have to rely on unscreened and unvetted respondents culled from out-of-date lists recruited with incentives that make no sense.
Your better alternative is to work with a B2B research specialist that can custom recruit the exact right people you need to reach; people who understand the intricacies of your industry, business, and product. You can get answers to the hyper-specific questions you have—the ones with massive implications for your business.
Synthesize insights with data experts who know your business
Data can end up as just a bunch of numbers, leaving you and other launch planners saying: So what? Work with a research provider with a background in business consulting and specific industry experience. They can help you see specific and actionable insights and can make spot-on recommendations.
Tell a story with your data and share findings with your planning team
A story can give context to complex data and analytics and makes it easier to understand what the numbers are saying and how to use them. Bring all stakeholders into the research process. You will ensure alignment and buy-in for a smoother and more complete launch plan. You may also spark innovative cross-functional tactics and possibly ideas for new product features and add-on services. Your insights can drive growth far beyond your successful product launch and B2B marketing strategy.
The value of expert insights in B2B product launches
Launching a new B2B product is a high-stakes endeavor, especially in today’s economy. Making guesses at any step of the process can hobble or even doom a promising new market entry. Cutting corners on data is a false economy, and the cost of bad data can reach millions in lost time and value.
Using the latest technology to recruit the right experts, working with a company that knows the challenges you face as a B2B company and the details of your business, and one that can bring useful insights across functions is well worth the investment.
NewtonX uses custom recruiting to find the professionals who can give you the answers to your critical B2B product marketing and launch questions. It’s why we’ve provided B2B market research services to leading brands like Microsoft, Figma, Pinterest, Fortune, McKinsey, and Salesforce. We provide the data you need to make confident product decisions that deliver better business impacts.