When your company or organization is about to engage in a product launch, it is important to outline your goals for the launch.

What does your product development team expect to achieve? Your answer will differ depending on your role in the company. An engineer may set a launch goal of releasing the new product without any defects. A salesperson may set his or her sights on a target number of customers.

By setting goals in advance of the product launch, you can ensure that everyone in the organization works together toward the same outcomes.

Good goals are clear and measurable, and have an expected timeframe. They help ensure that your launch team knows what they have to do. Goal setting with this level of clarity will help a team measure results and make adjustments for any new product launch in the future.

Types of product launch goals

For any new product launch, make sure that you set goals that are clear, measurable and defined by a timeframe.

Sales goals

This may be the easiest type of goal to create because you already have sales expectations. How many units of your product do you want to sell in what timeframe?

Example: We will sell 100 widgets within two months of launch.

Prospect goals

Your company might have a long lead time for selling new products. An appropriate goal could be to outline how many prospects you would like to identify as a result of your product launch.

Example: We will identify 200 prospects within two months of launch.

Product awareness goals

The sales process usually begins with your market being aware of you and your product. Your marketing efforts can help to build that awareness. Although your tactics may vary, one goal should include being able to measure the awareness you have built. Review the different awareness-gathering methods in the article, Marketing plan for your product launch.

Example: Within the first week after launch, we will see 20 outlets pick up our press release, 50 retweets of our launch announcement and 1000 visits on the website.

Customer goals

If it is not your first release, you might have goals to show the adoption of your product within your existing customer base (for example, upgrades, enablement of features).

Example: Ten customers will show interest in upgrading within one month of launch.

Product defect goals

Although you will have set defect goals during the product development process, it is inevitable that additional defects will be found after launch. Consider setting a goal to resolve quickly any issues found as a result of the release so that they do not impede your revenue- or customer-related goals.

Example: For the first month after release, address all high-priority issues within 24 hours.

Setting your goals with the end in mind

If you are not sure what specific goals you would like to set (for example, how many prospects you need), the best method is to start with the end in mind:

  1. Determine total revenue: Decide on the amount of revenue you would like to earn for that release timeframe. Review your revenue projections for the year, and determine how much you could attribute to this release.
  2. Calculate the number of customers required: Divide your expected revenue by the average sale value to calculate the number of customers you need to sign.
  3. Understand your sales win ratio: Using past sales, apply how many prospects you would need to achieve the number of customers required. If you do not have that number, a reasonable “win rate” is approximately 1 in 5 (20%). This will give you the number of prospects you will need to acquire.

Note: When you create goals you are making assumptions about such items as your win rate or average sale. These could be inaccurate, but it is important to be consistent and explicit about your assumptions. The process of defining goals for your organization will evolve and improve with every release.

Example: Company ABC has significant revenue goals for this year. They expect to bring in $500,000 in revenue for their first year in business. They intend to have two releases, and predict that approximately 50% of the expected revenue will come from this particular release. Here is how they calculated the number of prospects they need.

Goal Value Calculation
Yearly revenue goal $500,000 Based on financial projections
Launch revenue goal $250,000 Yearly revenue / number of expected releases
Average customer sale $50,000 Taken from sales model
Number of customers required 5 Launch revenue / average customer sale
Average win rate 1 in 5 are successful Past sales win rate
Prospects required 25 Number of customers × 5 (need 5 times more prospects than customers)

According to this calculation, Company ABC will need to find 25 prospects through the various marketing methods they may employ.

Tracking and measuring your goals

Track how your organization is doing in relation to these goals. It will help you to understand if there are any problems with the launch and will provide benchmarks for future product launches.


Read next: Planning for a product launch: Elements of your plan

References

Cooper, G. (2001). Winning at New Products: Accelerating the Process from Idea to Launch (3rd ed.). New York: Perseus Publishing.
Daniels, D. (2010). Goals, Readiness and Constraints: The Three Dimensions of Product Launch. Pragmatic Marketing. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/magazine/7/2/goals-readiness-and-constraints-the-three-dimensions-of-product-launch
Daniels, D. (2010). Secrets of a Winning Product Launch. Pragmatic Marketing. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/topics/07/6-secrets-of-a-winning-product-launch/?searchterm=launch%20planning