October 6, 2021October 17, 2021Marketing6 Min ReadHow to Plan Flawless Internal Product LaunchesOlivia VanCurenIn a corporate environment, launching a new product is nothing short of an event — especially in this new era where hybrid work is quickly becoming the norm.The good news is that people are responding quite well to the fact that many major events are going fully virtual.In fact, over half of people agree that viewing an event digitally can be just as satisfying as seeing that same event in person!But the not-so-good news is that, for many of us, this means entering uncharted territory. There really hasn’t been an obvious guide for bringing together all the right people to pull all the right levers to carry out a flawless product launch — and doing it all remotely.Well, not until now anyway. Welcome to the complete guide to flawless internal product launches. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key reasons why having an internal product launch plan is imperative, the tech features you’ll need to make sure every internal product launch event is successful, and even a checklist template that will take you from pre-launch through post-launch smoothly.Come along as we empower internal event organizers in bringing large-scale product launch events to life in the digital space.What is a product launch?The product launch is the final step in the development of a new product when it is released to the market.Diving deeper: the internal product launchThe goal of every product launch should be making sure consumers — as well as business partners and employees — are crystal clear on the purpose, benefits, messaging, and other details surrounding a new product.The problem is that many product launch planning guides manage to skip over those internal stakeholders and focus only on the external customers.But not this guide. This guide is focused heavily on the internal side of pulling off flawless product launch events.Here’s why this is much too important of an approach to overlook.Why large organizations should have an internal game plan for every new product launchThere are company-wide benefits for organizations that prioritize internal planning when it comes to new product launch events.Align product, sales, marketing, and other departments on product details, messaging, and moreThere’s much more to a new product launch than just its name.What are the carefully crafted benefits statements your marketing team has created to describe it?Which feature has sales identified as the most valuable for each buyer persona?What does the product roadmap look like for this launch and any later add-ons or developments?How does this product launch impact the rest of your brand “universe”?What are the business goals for this product and its launch?How, specifically, can salespeople and channel partners make money from this product?Delivering a clearly laid out plan and messaging to every internal department ensures your whole team is one united sales and marketing front that can work together flawlessly to reach major goals.Keep business partners informedUnfortunately, business partners are often the last to get the details when a company is introducing a new product.But when you have a solid game plan that includes them, you can loop these stakeholders in in the early days. Not only does this strengthen your relationship by showing that you value their partnership, but they may even be willing to provide an early (and affordable!) round of user testing.Another benefit is that as soon as your partners know about a new product, they can start sharing it with their network — providing you with free word-of-mouth marketing via their social media messaging, on-site blogs, and so on.Abolish communication silos from the very beginning“Hey, are those TPS reports ready?”“Huh, you want the PBS airports?!”Games of telephone in the workplace are definitely less fun than they were back in grade school. And, unfortunately, the cost of mixed and missed messages is also way higher.Mixed signals in the business world are often the result of communication silos — invisible separations that form between departments.An effective internal product launch plan ensures that communication is clear across every impacted department and individuals feel encouraged to ask questions and add their own feedback.A silo-crushing communication style can also set the tone for honest and diverse discourse during this launch and, hopefully, many more to come.A step-by-step internal product launch event checklist templateIn this section, we’re going to walk you through all the high-level steps that internal event planners should at least consider doing when it comes to a new product launch event.Remember to treat this checklist like a template that you can customize to best fit the needs of the product as well as your unique team.Pre-launch stepsIn the following section, you’ll see all the tasks we recommend doing as you lead up to the big go-live day. Set your launch goalsWhen you eventually find yourself at the bottom of this checklist, what do you want to have happened? Do you want all of your business partners enrolled in your early user testing program? Or are you more focused on just making sure every single department has had the chance to get their questions answered?Whatever your goals are for this internal launch, make sure they’re clearly laid out. The achievement of these will be your signal that your launch was a success.Develop a to-do list and timelineThe goals you’ve outlined above will now inform the many tasks that need to be done in order to reach them.In this step, you’ll want to think through those high-level tasks and all the smaller steps that go into them, arrange them along a timeline leading up to the product launch, and finally assign responsible parties to each task to inject accountability as well as take some of the weight off your own shoulders.Choose pre-launch and launch tech that paves the way for easy communicationThe pre-launch and launch phases of introducing a new product are busy — for both the team that is launching the product and the team that is helping to manage all the internal comms that go into that launch (that’s you!).That means the priority at this time is putting the best tech in place for making fast-paced and often-changing communication processes not just possible but enjoyable — even among distributed team members.The tech that will help:Seek out a highly capable and accessible tech platform that simplifies virtual, in-person, and even hybrid events — from on-the-fly internal meetings to longer and more complex launch day live streams.When you need it:You should plan to start using this tool about two months before product launch (though of course this can vary widely) all the way up to and maybe even through the day it goes live.Features to look for:Accessibility (like closed captioning) and multi-language support will make sure your whole team, and any other parties, feel welcomed and empoweredMulti-device capabilitiesEasy live streaming as well as video uploading, because you never know what situations might ariseChat, Q&A, and polls so event attendees can engage in real-time to keep communication clear and openAgendas so your team can make sure they don’t miss the meetings or other events they need to attendNotifications that let everyone know if an event was changed last minuteBreak-out rooms that encourage one-on-one discussions to make sure every last detail is thought out when it comes to your new product launch Align the team on any new messagingOne of the most important reasons to think about product launches from an internal perspective is so you can make sure your entire team and any partners are on board with the product messaging.Involve members of both the product and the product marketing teams to determine how the messaging will play out and how it’s different for internal parties and partners than it is for customers and prospects.Next, it’s time to turn your attention to the internal dispersion of this messaging. Start publishing messaging internally: Slack, wikis, and beyondConsider all the channels where messaging is typically shared amongst your company and its partners.There are your internal wikis and knowledge bases, email lists, Slack channels, your sales enablement platform, and so on.These same channels and platforms are where you want to disseminate your newly-crafted messaging.Your internal event managers won’t have much to actually do here aside from helping marketing teams make sure the right messaging is spread far and wide.Launch!Launch day will likely be all hands on deck. Just be ready to handle whatever comes your way that day — and maybe even the following week or so as the dust settles.Post-launch stepsSure there isn’t a ton your internal planning team needs to keep doing once a product is out in the world — but the few things that you should be staying on top of are quite important!Find post-launch tech for continued collaboration and ongoing successAs you move into the phase after your new product hits the market, you’ll want to be thinking about two key things: Supporting collaboration among your team and new users as well as collecting any and all feedback that could make your next product (and/or launch) even better.The tech that will help:Right now, what your team needs is a tool that makes collaboration and documentation a breeze. Your team needs to be able to easily collaborate with consumers as well as each other at a moment’s notice to work through bugs, host product demos, discuss future improvements, and so on. Easy documentation of these discussions is a must to ensure important conversations receive the appropriate follow-up.When you need it:If you choose the right collaborative platform, you should expect to keep using it throughout the lifecycle of every new product — starting with the day they go live.Features to look for:High-quality 1:1 video chat capabilities that are intuitive enough for new customers to useVideo rooms where a few people can “break out” to participate in more focused discussions, presentations, etc.The ability to create community groups where your team can stay in touch with specific user types (developers, a set of product testers, etc.) and send them ongoing targeted messagingNote-taking and exporting features for both demos and feedback callsAttachable videos and documents that help document collaborative effortsOf course, multi-device usability and accessibility features should also be table stakes for this kind of technologyManage assets created in the course of, and after, the launchYou and your team have likely developed some new resources — recordings of the internal product launch, sales enablement assets, and so on — in the course of your internal product launch. And, your team might continue to develop more and more as time goes on. Create a plan to organize and share these types of resources to make sure all the effort around your launch assets isn’t lost.Make yourself available for questionsQuestions aren’t just going to stop once a new product is live. In fact, they might even ramp up as not only your team but a bunch of consumers start using it on a regular basis. It’s important that, especially in the first few months post-launch, you make yourself available for internal questions and create a system for following up with the ones that need responses. More on that next.Build a feedback management systemLike questions, feedback is also likely to come your way after you’ve launched a new product internally. But once you’ve collected a bunch of feedback, what are you supposed to do with all of it!?We recommend developing an easy-to-follow feedback collection and distribution system to make sure that feedback makes its way to the appropriate teams so that it can be addressed.Bonus points if you’re able to include some kind of tracking that ensures the original person who gave the feedback is notified once it’s been addressed! You may be able to piggyback off the issue tracking software your customer service team is using. In simpler cases, task management systems like Trello work well.For an even more detailed guide on planning any type of event, don’t miss our article “Event Management Process: 5 Steps and Stages to Launching an Event.”Socio is the best tech for hosting flawless internal product launch eventsYou could spend a ton of time, effort, and money cobbling together a bunch of different tools to create and manage everything that needs to be done for you internal product launch event.Or, you could work smarter with Socio’s virtual event platform.Socio is the only platform you’re going to find that delivers on all the features you need when it comes to the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch events that go into getting your team and partners on board with a new product and ready to take it to market.If you’re virtually collaborating with a team across various locations and time zones, Socio’s virtual suite gets you as close as possible to in-person product launch events. But no matter if your launch is in-person, virtual, or somewhere in between; features like native live streaming for product demos (with in-line chats and polls!), video rooms for hosting Q&A sessions, even 1:1 video chats mean no one will be left wanting more information after the launch.In addition, note-taking features and attachment capabilities make sure your internal launch is well documented and those resources can be saved and shared across the company.Then there is Socio’s unique community platform, which allows event managers to keep the engagement going post-launch between developers, user testers, and other groups that are vital to the adoption and improvement of your product.Of course, we can’t leave out that Socio is on the cutting edge when it comes to empowering users at every ability level, in any language, and on every device type — so no employee or business partner is ever left out when it comes to your thoughtful product launch events.Find out what Socio’s Professional Services team can do to support your new product launch. Or, sign up for a free demo to see how your team can use the all-in-one virtual event platform to elevate your internalOlivia VanCurenContent Marketing Specialist @ Socio. Words enthusiast. Passionate about events that foster meaningful connections.