BUILDING THE COMMUNICATION HIGHWAY
Feedback and communication help to bridge the gap
between marketing and sales. It’s critical for product launches to be sure we hear feedback from the
sales force. We had a swat team, a field input team,
that was assembled on regular conference calls.
We wanted to know what they were hearing from
the customers. Is this something that is happening
regionally, in pockets, or nationally? We created a
virtual working group between marketing and sales
to discuss what was going on in the market place.
As we were developing the launch plan, strategy and
positioning, we had the sales managers come in and
provide feedback on our progress.
This is what we call the “open kimono” approach.
Transparency, honesty, confident communication.
“This is the current thinking, why we are going
in this direction. We want your reaction, a reality
We talked about the full organizational approach.
This requires more than just a conference call. It
needs a focused discussion where everyone is fully
engaged. We scheduled intense comprehensive
workshops so that everyone had a voice into the
strategy. Then we could leverage the champions
when it was rolled out. Your colleagues on all levels
have to see they have a part in the process. We asked
questions around how colleagues would receive the
strategy, what type of questions they would have,
what type of concerns and barriers, what will they
be most excited about. This takes us to where training, marketing, and compliance can be prepared
to address what can potentially arise as we roll the
strategy out. When we didn’t do that in the past,
there were unwelcome surprises.
LEVERAGING THE DASHBOARD: EXECUTION
Make sure that once you put the plan in place you’re
clear on what’s to be done to follow through. Track
that, and change course if necessary. I saw where we
needed to tweak some areas and made sure the sales
force was well-equipped for follow-up. It’s important
to recognize the areas where adjustments need to be
made – you’re not always going to get it 100% right
for a launch – just identify the problem areas, learn
fast and adjust.
NAVIGATING THE FLIGHT: THE DASHBOARD
Shifting gears from launch into this role, I made sure
we had crystal clear priorities and metrics to create a
dashboard, and communicated them. It’s important
people know what their goals are and how they are
tracking towards them – and communicate this often. Once again: transparency. And it’s made possible only when we work together to achieve the goal:
what can marketing do, what can sales do, what are
our pockets of opportunity? •