They say that which makes us strong can also be our biggest weakness. Entrepreneurs are no exception to this rule as our driven, confident, and focused nature can often inhibit new product success. Entrepreneurs often have such confidence in their personal abilities based on past success they take shortcuts in launching new products and when sales fail to meet plan they believe they can “manage fruit ripe.”
“When it comes to new product sales; you can not manage fruit ripe”
After my last post I had a number of people reach out to me saying: “ Ok we get it, we should do research prior to launch …but what should we do if we are in a launch that is not hitting plan?” As I have shared in past posts…I have made a number of mistakes over the years.I have kicked off new products and then had to figure out how to make it work; “make it happen ” on the fly. So I thought I would do a follow-up post and share what I said to those who contacted me directly.
Entrepreneurs who launch on gut and not market truth often start trying to “manage fruit ripe”. They are so tied to their plan their failure to achieve goals has to be a sales problem. Based on my experience, over 90% of new product sales falling short of plan are not the result of “poor sales execution” but the result of not having good current data and or understanding of your market, and is actually a marketing problem. Without current accurate market data one if not all of your four P’s of markting are probably wrong. Entreprenuers are smart people. If given good information they make decisions that grow businesses profitably. If given old or wrong market data one or more of your four P’s will be wrong.
As the owner, leader,you are the boss… so if you want to try to manage the fruit (sales) of your new products ripe… go for it. I have seen many try ( heck, I have tried) and I have yet to see this approach correct new product sales below plan and create sales velocity.
If you find yourself in a launch based on gut and old or poor data, what should you do?
- Assess what you have learned ( experienced) during launch so far
- Conduct win loss interviews
- Identify common roadblocks to sales and bust through them with new sales tools
- List what you still need to know and assign priority and timelines
- Adjust your strategy based on the current market data you gather
- Test new strategies before you scale them
- Repeat what works
- keep asking questions, determine why customers are buying and not buying
- Challenge your four P’s of Marketing ( at least one is off)
( or put another way; get the data to answer the four yes’s …as quick as possible)
So how about you…have you launched a product without having four yes’s first?
What did you experience ?
What corrective action did your team take?
Does it take longer to do research on the front end? Or fix roadblocks during launch?