Three Tips for a Successful Product Launch

We all know the importance of a good first impression. The first date, the job interview, the kickoff meeting with a new client; we spend extra time preparing and obsessing over every detail to ensure we start the relationship off in the right way.


In pharma specifically, the launch of a new product can be overwhelming due to the number of decisions and challenges faced along the way, but much like the events noted above, product launches present an incredible opportunity to connect with a new group of customers and patients. An opportunity to establish brand advocates and ultimately improve patient lives. First impressions are extremely important in these situations, as studies have shown that a strong correlation exists between the first-year performance of a new product and its overall long-term success (Deloitte). With so much on the line, it is surprising to learn that more than one-third of launches result in performance far below pre-launch expectations. So, how can you set up your team and your product for the highest probability of success?


Deloitte shares that a successful launch must have meticulous planning, innovative approaches to market intelligence and customer engagement, and disciplined execution throughout the process. We have had the privilege of sharing in the successful launches of products with our clients and agree that the best launches tend to have a comprehensive strategy.

 

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There are a few crucial activities we have recognized as being paramount in ensuring our clients have successful launches for their products. These activities fall into three categories that we will review below: Selection, Preparation, and Continuous Improvement.

 

Selection

When product approval is on the horizon, brand teams are tasked with making decisions around a variety of topics including how to construct a contact center to maximize interaction with customers and patients. Will the contact center be managed internally, or will it be outsourced? Will a single contact center be outsourced (Med Info, Patient Support, Patient Access, Inside Sales), or will a hub service provider be contracted to manage multiple contact points?


If outsourcing your contact center is the right choice for your brand, we would recommend an extensive RFP process to differentiate candidates more clearly and help identify the right partner for your organization. This contact center will represent your brand to your customers, so while capabilities and accolades may be of value, often the cultural fit across organizations is most important.


Partnering with an independent, third-party organization like Centerfirst can help you and your team navigate the challenges of the RFP process. We have worked with nearly every contact center in the space and had great success finding the right partners for our clients. Here is a template we have utilized with clients in the past during RFP processes to help you get started (RFP Template).

 

Program Insights

Once your contact center decisions have been made, all efforts refocus on preparation for launch day. Numerous trainings may be conducted around a variety of topics including corporate history, product portfolio, and, of course, scripting, and FAQs for your new approval. We have found that detailed review of scripts and role playing amongst trainees is a successful approach to help build confidence among the team. Furthermore, one of the most impactful additions to pre-launch training we have recognized are mock customer calls conducted by outside individuals with the trainees themselves.


Often, trainees will gain confidence and comfort working through scenarios with their fellow teammates, but when put into a situation, like mock calls, where verbal skills and product knowledge are tested in a slightly stress heightened environment, opportunities are readily uncovered and able to be remedied in the pre-launch phase rather than manifesting on launch day with your customers and patients.


We have also found similar success after launch day with the addition of mystery calls. By utilizing mystery calls, you can target specific topics and scenarios that may be more sensitive or have been proven challenging to handle.


Both mock and mystery calls are valuable additions to any brand’s launch plan, as they provide an opportunity to quickly identify program and agent learnings that the entire team can apply to achieve early success.

 

“Centerfirst brought us critical information about our callers that we needed to take quick action. I am so happy we worked with them.” - Client Brand Manager

 

Continuous Improvement

Bain and Company conducted a survey of 100 senior launch executives from the top 20 pharmaceutical companies to determine what helped to provide a launch with the highest likelihood of success. One of the key findings of their study was that the launches that were set up to receive, analyze, and continuously improve based on frontline feedback were most likely to succeed.


Timely, actionable insights from your contact center interactions can be a great asset to the success of your launch. We use our enhanced Quality Monitoring (eQM) process to ensure our clients receive the right information at the right time to improve the experience of their customers and patients. Our eQM process combines industry leading artificial intelligence partnered with the human adaptability of our pharma-experienced monitoring team, which allow us to provide insights and guidance at the agent, program, and customer level at the right scale for your program.


We understand how complex a product launch can be, whether this is your first launch or hundredth. Making informed vendor selections, preparing effectively, and maintaining a focus on continuous improvement will help ensure that your launch is a successful one.


Please reach out anytime to learn more about Centerfirst can help you throughout your launch process.

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