A lot of money and work has gone into developing the new solution. Now the finished innovation has to be sold, the success or failure in the market results from the sales approach. Because even an ingenious solution never sells by itself. So, which things are particularly important for marketing?
Even ingenious technical innovations have to be actively sold. What are the success factors to consider when marketing? © REDPIXEL/stock.adobe.com
Finished innovation as a basis: Now it’s the sales department’s turn!
In the last weeks and months, everyone has done their best. They put their heart and soul and time into the development of the latest innovation. The result is impressive: a novel, functioning technical solution, technically well ahead of the competition. So now that the goal has been achieved? From the inventor’s point of view: very likely.
From the point of view of the entrepreneur and the responsible decision-makers in sales, the decisive part now begins: the successful sale of the innovation.
Selling an innovation successfully – these 3 points are important
1 Ensure that the innovation has a head start: marketing concept at the right time
An innovation always includes a time lead. It is important to take advantage of this: Today, technical development in medium-sized companies is often preceded by project planning in agile sprints, from which the development status can be read off well. The development of the sales strategy should therefore run in parallel at an early stage. True to the motto "first come, first served".
Is there an ideal time for sales planning to really take off?
Yes, an ideal phase is usually the development of prototypes. Together with the first prototypes, your first rough sales concept should also be ready. This has two key advantages:
- Sales is only brought on board when it becomes clear in development that a technically functioning innovation can actually be created. This saves resources in sales. Because no concepts and sales strategies are developed for solutions that do not clear this hurdle to the prototype.
- Innovation and sales go hand-in-hand in terms of time. Everything relevant is available for an overall assessment: technical feasibility + sales feasibility. This also reassures external parties such as banks or investors. And last but not least, all stakeholders and risk takers get a good overview before further resources are invested.
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2 Select a new sales structure: Own sales channels that match the innovation
"Karsten Meyer from the sales force can also sell it" or "We’ll pass it on to our long-standing sales partner, who already knows our other products". Please do not fall into this trap so easily when marketing an innovation.
It may be temptingly easy to introduce an innovation into existing sales channels.
The character of an innovation is its novelty. So there is nothing 1:1 comparable on the market. For an innovation, this means that it must first create demand for itself. For this, we need capacities in sales to ensure the flow of information to customers and users. This is an important insight for sales strategy and when it comes to selecting the appropriate sales channels for this innovation or. Build.
Important questions for determining the right sales channels for the innovation
- Demand volume: How big will the demand volume be? Because the resp. the sales channels must have the necessary capacity to serve the number of customers. Serving many customers online will be much more efficient than with key account management.
- Costs for the distribution channels: The question of costs arises, at the latest when it comes to an own sales force or the use of sales representatives.
- Customer proximity: Do sales partners need to have an appropriate branch network or high-performance nationwide field sales force?
- Data management and analysis of prospective customers: What role can a sales-active inside sales team take as an alternative to a reactive inside sales force?
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Which mix of sales channels makes sense?
The selection of the right sales channels is one of the core decisions that determine the success or failure of the market success of an innovation.
In practice, enormous potential is wasted in medium-sized companies at this point, because sales channels once selected by a company are almost never questioned for new innovations, and alternatives are almost always ignored.
This is also due to the fact that the selection of the right sales channels is not easy and, moreover, not an everyday question for entrepreneurs and sales managers.
Experts for innovation sales make well-founded inquiries here and find new approaches to the sales channels for this particular innovation. And they have a coherent argumentation and calculation why this is their choice of distribution channels.
3 Set appropriate price level: Prices neither too high nor too low
It is difficult to set prices for a solution that does not exist on the market in a directly comparable form. The two biggest risks for entrepreneurs are:
- Prices are too high> Difficult market entry
- Prices are too low> lost margin and revenue
It needs a pricing model that can generate the optimal returns. After all, developing the innovation cost money that needs to be recouped. And from a commercial point of view, nothing should be given away.
So what to do? Quickly look at price levels of roughly comparable solutions. Quite a few of the people in charge fall back on classic costing models that they are familiar with – such as overhead costing, which is often found in manufacturing companies.
Better to put the overhead calculation to one side when setting sales prices for innovations. Experts in innovation sales know other methods, understand the value of performance and determine value-based price levels for each sales channel.
Conclusion of the expert
No successful sales without a marketing concept – successfully marketing the innovation
Many innovations have the potential to move the market – from a technical perspective. Successful marketing is on a second sheet of paper. Forward-thinking decision-makers are ensuring that innovation has a head start, are taking new approaches to selecting the right sales channels, and are relying on value-based price levels instead of surcharge calculation. This is how they implement an authentic and new sales strategy for the innovation in order to successfully establish an innovation on the market.