Continuous delivery SaaS companies are loved by their customers because new features come quickly with no downtime. However, it’s not so easy on the product team or the sale team to learn the new features/benefits. Not only can the features and benefits change, but the positioning of the product may change because of that one new feature. Products evolve and don’t always end up in the same place that they started out in. Large SaaS companies that adopt continuous delivery create several new problems for themselves: feature prioritization, technical documentation, marketing, and sales. At the end of the day the sales part keeps the company in business, so let’s solve for the hardest and most urgent first.
Informing sales teams about every feature that the product team ever dreamed up is inefficient. It’s a bit like standing next to the chef at a restaurant to see every ingredient that goes into the dish. Bottom line is that sales need to know what’s coming, but only when a release date is known and a feature set is locked down and delivery is committed to by the product team. That could be a month or quarter before release, so a follow-up before the release is even more important. The pre-release sit down with sales needs to include detail on the what and why.
The product team has two functions, deliver a great product but also prepare the rest of the organization to take that product to market. The product team should be prepared to train the sales team and/or sales enablement team on the everything that is needed to go to market. That includes: battle cards, positioning, unique selling proposition, price positioning, service agreement, and the portfolio placement in the bigger portfolio of products and services the company provides.
Product launch planning usually includes several days of training for different sales teams globally to ensure that everyone has at least one direct conversation with the product team before going live. Is one conversation and a few PowerPoint presentations enough though? No, but who has time for more? Or the better question is how to provide these materials in a way for people to self-educate.
Now that we’ve covered the how, when, and what the last bit is the execution which is critical to it all working. Having a strong team to execute can drive the momentum of the product launch long after the launch. Now that the launch is done, you can go right back and plan for the next launch. With continuous delivery the next major major or minor minor launch could be minutes away and the product and sales teams need all the help that they can get to be successful.
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