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When you look at the best launches that you have done, what did you get right that made them so successful?

6 Answers
Teresa Haun
Teresa Haun
Zendesk Senior Director, Technology Marketing and CommunicationsDecember 2

When I think about the most successful launches my team and I have done, they all included 1) a clear go-to-market strategy with leadership and stakeholders bought in, 2) strong communication and partnership across cross-functional teams, 3) effective sales enablement, and 4) success metrics and estimates for what we expected to deliver set in advance.

Having a clear go-to-market strategy that includes all the key considerations and all stakeholders aligned sets the stage for a successful launch. It’s so much easier when all the critical teams for the launch have had a chance to weigh in and feel confident in the determined approach. As part of this, it’s especially important that leadership across these teams is in agreement early in the launch process. Without leadership buy-in early on, I’ve seen launches have a last minute shift in direction that then significantly impacts the launch, as it’s hard to change course so late in the game. It definitely adds more work upfront to get stakeholders bought in early, but in my experience, it’s well worth it.


Strong communication and partnership across cross-functional teams also leads to a great launch. If there is a change suddenly to the approach, everyone that’s impacted is quickly informed and can work collaboratively to figure out how to adapt. When teams are also acting as true partners, it’s so much smoother to get each step done. When there’s a gap in what’s needed from one team, another is willing to jump in and help, viewing the entire launch as a shared effort vs a piece from this team and another from that team.

Effective sales enablement is another hallmark of a successful launch. Your sales team has to adequately understand what is launching, why it matters, and how to sell it. One of the ways we ensured enablement was effective for a big launch of a new product plan was through a completely separate session than the way the sales team was usually enabled, so they knew it was especially important. We did a ton of vetting in advance with sales leaders to ensure what we presented would work for their teams and we also made it fun and engaging. We had 10 different speakers from across the company, including the President of Sales, and lots activities and learning checks to ensure the team was truly absorbing everything from the session.

Lastly, I would say establishing success metrics and estimates for what you expect to deliver in advance of a launch also sets you up for an effective launch. Beyond how well the team worked together and how smooth of a launch it was, ultimately what determines if a launch was successful or not is if it actually delivered impact for your customers and business. Deciding how you’re going to measure that impact and what you predict you will deliver is key to aligning on in advance of the launch, so you can fairly evaluate if the launch performed and exceeded expectations. By creating estimates for what you expect to deliver in advance, you’re forced to evaluate if all of the planned activities in the launch are actually enough. Using past performance for similar tactics, you can create a bottom-up forecast for how much pipeline, bookings, etc the launch should deliver and evaluate if it meets what the business needs top-down. If it doesn’t, it’s an opportunity in advance of the launch to then reevaluate the planned tactics to ensure they have a fighting chance at delivering what’s actually needed to be deemed successful.

5155 Views
Caroline Walthall
Caroline Walthall
Quizlet Director of Product and Lifecycle MarketingJanuary 15

Some of our success is up to us, and there are also conditions for success that are out of our control. You can learn to recognize when those conditions are and aren't present to advocate for what you need to increase your chances of having an awesome launch. I'll try to speak briefly to both.

Conditions for success (out of your control)

  1. You and others having real confidence that the product/feature is providing meaningful user value
  2. Singular company or group focus on making the most out of a key moment and organzing resources around that
  3. Company commitment of resources and imagination to keep investing in the product (post-launch)

It's possible to get your way to success without one or two of these, but it's rare and the internal alignment works wonders for momentum and decision making!

What I got right

  1. Understood my target audience really well to inform messaging
  2. Understood historical performance of channels and thought through what would work with my audience to nail the right channel mix
  3. Planned far enough ahead to invest in telling the story through meaningful creative (showing more than telling)
  4. Brought all stakeholders along throughout the journey (I'm pretty sure it's impossible to get this fully right, but attention to the question, "who needs to know?" is essential)
  5. Planned ongoing engagement and adoption measures beyond launch
789 Views
Christy Roach
Christy Roach
AssemblyAI VP of MarketingDecember 10

I think more than anything, the things we got right were the fundamentals:

  • Product need: We were launching a product that truly solved customers’ needs. We were crystal clear in our product spec about who we were solving for and what problems we were focused on. We validated that and got even sharper in our vision throughout a clear beta, and PMM was involved in every step, so we were operating with the information we needed to run a successful launch
  • Tight messaging: Messaging isn’t as hard as we crack it up to be, but it does take work and finesse. These launches had super clear, customer-focused messaging and that we could all rally around. We weren’t trying to say too much, we were deliberate in our pain points, value props, and differentiators, and everyone was aligned on what needed to be said. Our product team read the messaging and said “Yes! That’s exactly it!”. Our beta customers heard our pitch and said “Yes! That would solve my needs”. And our marketing team had a clear message to work off of, which enabled them to create incredible launch materials that resonated with customers and prospects.
  • Our entire team was rallied around the work: The hardest launches are the ones that lack alignment. They’re soul-sucking and take way too much internal conversation to get anything done. If you catch yourself in multiple conversations with the question "Why are we doing this again?", you're probably working on a launch that lacks alignment and buy-in. The best launches I’ve ever worked on have had clear alignment on what we’re doing and why. And I, as a PMM, have brought my key partners in early, listen to their feedback, and not tried to be a hero to do everything myself. PMMs often have to run the last mile to get a launch over the finish line, but that doesn’t mean that you should do everything. My best launches had an incredible partnership with campaign management, creative production, PR, lifecycle marketing, sales and CSM, content, and more to make it a success. It was “our” launch, not “my” launch.
928 Views
Holly Xiao
Holly Xiao
Salesloft Director of Product MarketingMay 29

When I reflect on my most successful launches, a few key elements stand out:

  • Internal activation: This often gets overlooked because we tend to focus on the external splash. However, internal activation is SO crucial. This internal momentum builds excitement and ownership, fosters cross-functional collaboration, and addresses potential issues early, amplifying the impact of your external marketing efforts. When your internal teams understand the new product's value and are equipped with the right tools and knowledge, they can communicate its benefits confidently and consistently to customers.

  • Internal alignment and buy-in: We made sure every internal stakeholder—from sales and customer support to product and marketing—understood the why, what, and how. We answered questions like: What are we launching? Why is it important? What’s the value to our customers and business? How does it work? How will customers use it? Who will have access? We held comprehensive training sessions, created detailed launch kits, and ensured alignment on messaging and goals. This buy-in was critical for confident and consistent communication of the product’s benefits to customers.

  • Cross-functional collaboration: Trust and collaboration are essential for smooth launches. My most successful launches have been those where we established cross-functional launch teams that left egos at the door, encouraged healthy conflict, and drove accountability. This collaborative culture makes launches easier to manage and more effective in achieving desired results.

  • Messaging: Getting the messaging right is pivotal. This starts with thorough market interviews and validation. In-depth interviews with your target audience help uncover their pain points, preferences, and the language they use. This direct feedback is invaluable for crafting messages that resonate and communicate the unique value proposition effectively. Grounding your messaging in real customer insights ensures it is relevant, compelling, and poised to drive engagement and adoption.

409 Views
Courtney Craig
Courtney Craig
Shopify Head of Retail Product MarketingMay 22

Looking back, the most successful launches I've done have the following elements:

- Messaging/concept research, conducted EARLY on, while the product is still being developed or early access/beta. Conducting this research when product is still in development will ensure a strong go-to-market message, so you aren't guessing the what is the best value prop, reasons to believe, or even features to lead with in your launch. Early testing can also tell you what features your market cares most about, and your product team can use this information to re-arrange what they release, and in what order. It can also inform packaging.

792 Views
Erik Eliason
Erik Eliason
Patreon VP of Product and Growth MarketingMay 23

I would synthesize it into 3 things: 

  • Start with the end in mind: if this launch goes well, what does it mean for the product, the company, and customers? In 6 or 12 months from now, how is the company different? What is the story you want to tell to the market? Build alignment with exec and XFN on the scope and expected impact of the launch. Doing this early will open doors to new possibilities. 

  • Build compelling products: you can have the best raw ingredients in the world at a good price, but if the meal doesn’t taste good no one is buying. Product, PMM, Design, and Eng have to build a compelling product that addresses a key customer job to be done. 

  • Embrace quirkiness: for launches to breakthrough with press, partners, and customers and be successful a dose of quirkiness is needed. Not quirkiness for the sake of it, rather, a culture that embraces different points of view, trying new approaches, and embracing cultural trends. As a PMM (and more broadly the marketing team) it’s important to push the boundary to find the edges. It’s often where you’ll find mispriced channels, creative, and messaging. 

495 Views
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