In a previous blog I explored some of the challenges that a successful vendor, with a well-established core product, channel and customer base might experience when launching a second solution.
I covered 5 common mistakes and as promised, here are my suggestions for resolving them:
- Over-complicated messaging
The most crucial message to come from Product Marketing should be WHY does this product exist? In other words, what is the benefit to a buyer and their organisation? Is that compelling enough?
- Channel messaging
The vast majority of launch collateral fails to address the question, WHY would the channel want to sell this product?
4 more Value Propositions are needed…
Why would a Distributor (1) and their Sales Team (2) be motivated to sell it?
Why would Execs (3) and Salespeople (4) from a Channel Partner be motivated to sell it?
Workshopping Points 1 and 2 with a Vendor is often very interesting (and challenging). If inconsistency and confusion exist within the team responsible for taking the product to market, what hope is there that the Channel or End-Users will “get it”?
- Corporate Personas
Working through points 1 & 2 should enable you to create both Corporate and Individual Personas. These are short bio’s or profiles of the companies that the Value Propositions should appeal to.
Often, someone in marketing will do the individual personas and identify the target job role to sell to. However, our workshops show that not enough clarity is sought regarding the target sector, size, location or existing tech stack of an organisation.
Perhaps it’s because access to such profile data has never been readily available in the past, but market insight technology now enables you to get very specific about where you will get the fastest or biggest opportunities.
- Start Afresh - Channel
Disruptive vendors start with a clean slate and no baggage. They don’t have to worry about existing partnerships.
Working through the points above will give you a good idea of the kind of Partners needed for your new initiative. Perhaps the best fit partners aren’t today’s stars, they may come from lower down the sales revenue report of your existing channel or perhaps you don’t have a relationship with them today.
Working with an unknown or smaller partner might create a problem with your biggest partners and therefore takes a little courage. However, if you have done the research properly, you will have the evidence to support your decision and, just like leaving a star player benched, you could always challenge the partner complaining, to prove that they should have been your preferred player all along.
- Start Afresh - Processes
As above, disruptive, newer vendors build their processes and systems as they develop their channel business. More established vendors are often trying to work within the confines of systems that were put in place to manage an established channel to transact established lines of business. Consequently, people on the front-line waste countless hours on conference calls trying to force square pegs into round holes and the vendors commercial strength isn’t brought to bear in the race for market share.
Could large vendors act like a start-up when launching a new solution?
How about creating a new autonomous Business Unit to make the new market?
The new unit would need the authority to (within reason) act outside existing processes and take decisions that a smaller, more agile vendor would take. Mistakes will happen, but unlike in a large organisation where they are difficult to find and dissect, they will be much easier to spot, learn from and rectify. Once sales reach a milestone, the solution can be integrated into the usual processes and systems and the Business Unit can move onto the next new solution to be rolled out.
Author: Ant Young, Co-Founder, IQBlade