What are the telltale signs that a product launch plan is headed in the right direction?
Telltale signs of success: customer buy in. If you have customers that have tested the new feature (in alpha or beta phases), informed the roadmap, and have provided use cases that the feature has solved for - you know your launch train is headed in the right direction. Even better, get commitment from your customers to use their authentic testmonials in launch assets to bring your narrative to life and bring value to similar customer profiles. This helps customers get activated quickly while building trust. Without customer participation and validation, I'd be concered about launch performance as you're relying on guesswork instead of customer hearts and minds.
This might sound too simple but I find the best predictor as to if your launch will work is feedback from the closest people you can find to the customer.
I always recommend my team run messaging and go-to-market assets by internal experts on your customer like sales teams or friendly customers when possible. This allows you to double down on what will work and pivot away from what wont.
We regularly change our messaging, channel tactics, and launch timing after having conversations with internal experts. We also have a client counsel that we can take particularly high-profile launches to for feedback. I find client counsels can be great for predicting success and making iterations because they allow you to test your launch in a situation close to the real thing.
Pre-launch: Communication is strong. Teams are hitting the milestones they’ve set.
Post-launch: Metrics are tracking positively toward the goals you set. Someone asked another question about measuring success, so check out that answer for a more in-depth response.
Signs that the launch plan is headed in the right direction:
- Your launch plan tasks in proj. management tool are buzzing and finishing well before time. You are well ahead of planned completion dates and that is always a great sign
- Sales and CSMs cannot wait for enablement sessions to get more information. They nag you because they can already feel it is ready.
- Execs are responding to your weekly updates in a positive note.
- Engineering has flagged that the product is QA-ready.
- No one is worriedly saying I am getting nervous about this launch.
- You have enough buffer built into your processes to manage unexpected delays.
- And more importantly, you have a deadline that you are building towards and all (assets, comms, PF briefing and more) is ready and approved atleast 2 weeks before launch.