Launching a software product that you have worked hard on is one of the most exciting times in a business’s lifetime. However, getting there and executing it can be challenging. It is crucial it’s done properly to ensure your software has the best chance of doing well in an already competitive market.
To ensure that you have all the information you need, we have created these eight steps on how to take an idea to product launch;
You have an idea, which is a great start, but just because you build it doesn’t mean buyers will come. Hence, it is vital that you fully understand your buyer matrix. This is knowing who your buyer is, what motivates them and the problem your software is going to solve for them. This will allow you to have clear vision and goal and how best to get buyers attention and interest in your product.
Next, you must begin researching how to complete the project of creating and launching your product. Depending on the product, this project may be simple or very complex. Regardless of the complexity, the project planner must predict the completion times of tasks based on cost, resources, risks, and time.
The tasks should be characterised based on risk assessment and include contingencies within the allotted schedule and budgetary restrictions. Assessing risks and planning alternative ways to reach important milestones means the planner must use quantitative methods for determining the status of any event. All these complex parameters must be organised and prioritised based of the schedule, budget and resources.
Gather Feedback and Innovate
Before pouring resources into your product, you’ll want to make sure it’s viable. Many software companies begin to fail during product development because they begin to develop something for the sake of the technology, rather than buyer demand. Just because the technology can be created, doesn’t mean it will sell.
Successful software product launches are due to listening to feedback. Feedback can be gathered via surveys and/or one-on-one interviews. Either way, create a list of set questions to ask buyers to ensure the software you are developing is something that they want.
Create a Timeline
Now that you have your research and specific tasks, you must now create a clear timeline. You need dates for milestones to keep development on track and to ensure you are on time to reach an optimal launch date. A good product launch is usually around a specific time of year: an anniversary (business or product), corresponding with the buying cycle (Christmas etc.) or a customer event.
Your business and product can’t be ready if there’s no specific timeline, milestones, and launch date to meet. A timeline keeps your entire business focused and goal orientated, as well as also helping to set realistic expectations.
Once you have developed and built a very basic version of the SaaS software, it is vital that you have a beta test. All of your research and development doesn’t mean anything until it’s in the hands of real byers who will test it, ask questions you haven’t dreamed of and discover new uses for it. Essentially, they will point out all the flaws that you hadn’t thought off which is vital before you roll it out to the general public.
If you already are an established business with existing customers, use your best ones. They already have a relationship with you and will want to work with you. If not, focus groups are the way to go.
From your testing, listen carefully and gather all of the information you can. You can learn so much from the test results, which will help create your MVP.
Launch your MVP
An MVP is a basic version of the software you have developed that covers the buyer’s needs, and does not include any features that would be a bonus. The goal of the MVP is to validate your ideas and get them out into the market . This allows for feedback in order to develop the business in the right direction.
Occasionally SaaS software launch’s show the software is over-engineered and can’t be easily understood by potential buyers (a common scenario, especially in the B2B tech industry), or it’s under-engineered and you haven’t solved the problem you aimed too. If the software isn’t everything you hoped it would be at launch but is still MVP, make sure everyone throughout the process knows the details so that the message of what your software will do remains clear and consistent.
To learn more about MVP’s and what should be included in them, check out our blog post about them.
Optimal Software Form
After developing an MVP and having buyers try it out, it’s time to develop your software into its optimal form, so it’s ready for the final phases of the launch.
This includes adding on extra features and making any improvements the were found during the MPV trail.
Create a Product Launch Plan
The objective of a product launch plan is simple: build momentum and sales velocity! When you construct a product launch campaign, you’ll want to consider two key launches: the existing customer launch (if you have any) and the prospective customer launch.
With this launch plan, your two key objectives are to:
-Build greater brand awareness through marketing and PR campaigns around your launch time
-Increase in product sales to new buyers
It’s time to launch your final software product! Make sure you get the most from your product launch by choosing a specific, relevant date that will optimise your chances of standing out in the market and becoming a buyer’s choice.