When you’re a B2B software company like Ephox, your goal is to get the initial go-to-market product launch right the first time. And then you want to ‘nail’ the subsequent product releases (or software updates).
Granted, we’re no Microsoft (and we never will be). But companies like us can learn a thing or two from last year’s Microsoft Windows 8 update and its recent upgrade to 8.1. There’s been a lot of negative press about both versions, so it pays to know your audience and get the bugs worked out in advance.
With nearly 14 years under our proverbial enterprise software belts, the Ephox team recommends these seven things to consider before launching a product:
- Stay focused. Just like the sports saying, “Get some points on the board,” don’t get ahead of yourself by dreaming about future product features. Concentrate on launching the first version. And make sure your budget covers the unexpected hiccups that inevitably occur.
- Get prospects ready to buy on Day 1. Whenever possible, offer a beta test (or product trial) ahead of the main launch. This will get prospects using the product in advance, so they’re excited to buy on Day 1.
- Test, test and re-test. It’s important to make a great first impression, so work out as many bugs and kinks as you can before going ‘live.’
- Prepare teams and systems. Be at-the-ready to handle the influx of customer orders, questions and requests. Ensure that the billing department can handle invoices and inform your partners.
- Create marketing materials so people can research your product and make buying decisions quickly (pricing sheets, one-pagers, white papers, etc.).
- Develop strategic partnerships. Team up with companies in your industry to help you fill gaps that your company cannot fill on its own.
- Have a contingency plan. Be ready if your product launch sells well and be ready if it doesn’t sell well. Will you be able to ramp up production? Or shift focus to another new release or different product altogether?