How to Fail Miserably at Your Next Product Launch

How to fail miserably at your next product launch

You’re working on an exciting new mobile application, piece of software, or SaaS product. You’ve spent months building this thing – fine-tuning and tweaking, user testing, building, re-building … It is essentially your baby and now you’re ready to show it off! You feel like Rafiki on Pride Rock, ready to present your baby to the masses.
Baboon presenting lion cub to the sun
Here’s the thing. That proud moment can quickly fade – along with your hard work – if you make these any of these 5 mistakes when it comes to your product rollout. These 5 scenarios will show you how to fail miserably at your next product launch. Or, if you’re looking for a successful product launch, consider these the red flags to look for that your product launch is about to get derailed!

Failing to train users and employees

Before you even think about rolling out a new product, you need to set some time aside to train your employees. Sales, marketing, customer support, etc. should all know how to use, sell, and help users navigate your product.

There should also be multiple ways for users to train themselves. How-to videos, email drip campaigns, webinars, a robust support section, etc. User adoption is crucial if you want to gain any traction, which is why pre-rollout communications are so important. Be sure you have the proper support documentation written and available so your support team is not bombarded with questions that could easily be answered with a robust support section or FAQ list.

Speaking of support staff, how well have you trained yours? Do they know how to communicate problems internally and externally? Is there a documentation process put into place to report bugs and keep everyone in the loop? A poorly trained support team can be detrimental to your launch.

Failing to go through proper testing

Test, test, and then test some more. Failing to have a proper quality assurance (QA) and user acceptance testing (UAT) procedures in place can leave you with some major snags come product launch time. It doesn’t matter how much your team digs into the code to search for bugs. Teams like that are usually too close to the product. There’s a bias that comes with looking at something you built. You need a fresh pair of eyes and the help of users who don’t know what you know. The goal here is catch as many bugs as possible before you go live.

Not delivering on your promise

You’ve spent all this time hyping up your product. There’s nothing worse than converting customers and then disappointing them when they realize you’ve sold them a lie. If you can’t solve the problem you claim to solve, or if you deliver a solution that is clunky and hard to use, get ready for an onslaught of poor customer reviews. The last thing a new product needs is a ton of bad reviews.

You’re likely not rolling out your full-fledged product, so it’s crucial to manage expectations by having a customer rollout plan. This plan sets the stage for what to expect when. Once your plan is developed, your marketing, sales, operations, and finance teams, plus your account managers, should all have a hand in fact checking the rollout plan to ensure you are delivering on your promises.

Not having the proper access and/or credentials

Be sure to have all the access and credentials you need to perform the go-live (such as DNS records or AWS/cloud hosting credentials). If that means coordinating with consultants or agencies, do so in advance so you know whom to get in touch with when it’s time to go live.

Assuming your job is done once the site is live

An immediate QA test in the live environment could reveal bugs that weren’t found in the staging environment. Your team needs to be ready for this potential outcome and should have a plan to reduce and mitigate any issues that may occur.

Ultimately, all of this comes down to not having a plan. Failing to plan = planning to fail. Going live is not as simple as flipping the light switch. You need a full committed plan that covers everything from training to support and beyond.

If you are getting ready to start a new tech project or are in the beginning stages of one, keep your project on track with these proven methods.