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How does product readiness affect launch success?

4 Answers
Patty Medberry
Patty Medberry
Infor Senior Director, Product MarketingJuly 27

Launching a product too early or too late can impact launch success. In many organizations, there is a lot of pressure to launch products before they are ready. In launching too early, I have seen the following results:

  • Loss of trust - quality issues or changes in product availability can affect how the market views the product and your brand
  • Loss of momentum – It is hard to get your sales force behind a product that won’t be available for months when they have a quota to meet today. Customers can feel the same way, as they also have deadlines.
  • Loss of productivity – much of what goes into a launch must be replicated or redone when the product becomes available.
  • Loss of Revenue - Instead of buying what you have today, customers may wait to purchase the new product.

That said, there are very good reasons to launch early. For example, announcing a new product may stall your competitors’ sales and provide an entry point for you into the market.

Waiting too long to launch a product can also have ramifications. It could delay time to revenue. It also could give your competitors the opportunity to fill the void in the market, making it more difficult for you to compete.

As a PMM, it is important to understand the readiness of the product and market dynamics to guide the organization in choosing a launch date that will bring the most success.

I typically like to launch products within two months of their general availability. Product managers have more confidence in the product timeline and its quality. Customers and sellers have time to learn and assess the product before buying.

1081 Views
Holly Xiao
Holly Xiao
Salesloft Director of Product MarketingMay 28

This is such a good question. Product readiness is a critical factor that significantly affects the success of a product launch. But it’s a multi-faceted aspect that means different things to different people. On top of that, every company has a different tolerance level for what they’re willing to go to market with. Some companies launch products that they haven't even started building yet (and might never build), while others only launch GA products.

I personally believe that there’s a happy middle ground, and the pendulum swings depending on the market and business needs from launch to launch. But typically, I'm open to launching products/features that PMs are confident we'll GA within a couple of months. At the end of the day, what you don’t want are "smoke and mirrors" and the loss of trust from your customers. 

Here are some things to consider:

  • Alignment with market needs: a product that is well-aligned with market needs is more likely to succeed, even if it's not perfect yet. This also involves crafting a narrative that highlights the product's unique value proposition and benefits. 

  • Customer satisfaction: first impressions matter. A fully functional product free of major bugs ensures a positive first impression. However, you can still launch with EAP and Beta products. The idea is to set that expectation for early adopters so they understand that the product they're using is still a work in progress and that they can help influence its direction. 

  • Quality assurance and testing: even if the product is in EAP or Beta, launching a product with unresolved high-level bugs can lead to a poor user experience, negative reviews, and high churn rates. Ensuring that the product is stable and reliable is essential for building trust with customers — even if you don't have all the bells and whistles yet.

  • Competitive advantage: launching a ready product on time can help you seize market opportunities and gain a competitive edge. Delays due to readiness issues can result in missed opportunities and allow competitors to capture market share.

  • Revenue Impact: waiting to launch a feature or product until it's "ready" will likely have a revenue impact. So, there are tradeoffs to think through.

  • Internal readiness: ensuring that all internal teams, including sales, marketing, customer support, and legal, are prepared and aligned with the product launch is crucial. This includes training, creating support documentation, and developing sales collateral.

409 Views
Vishal Naik
Vishal Naik
Google Product Marketing LeadMay 22

It's harder to measure usage if the product is launched before its available. So if product readiness doesnt map to launch dates, you'll need to consider follow up touchpoints for when the product is actually available. Otherwise you risk the launch being ignored.

1149 Views
Tracy Montour
Tracy Montour
HiredScore Head of Product MarketingJuly 28

Product readiness is critical for launch success...sometimes. It all depends on your organization's definition of "readiness". For B2C and SMB B2B products, readiness is differs from B2B enterprise SaaS launches. For more complex B2B products, readiness must include an MVP (at least), metrics, a GTM plan, implementation strategy, and iteration timeline, at the very minimum. 

274 Views
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