Involve sales in the development of new products
The flop rates for new products are alarmingly high. It has been empirically proven that a company’s long-term market success depends heavily on successful product launches. The Institute for Market-Oriented Management (IMU) now examined the role played by sales, which provides first-hand customer information. “We recommend companies to integrate sales into the process of new product development”, is the conclusion of Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuester, co-author of the study.
The first results of an international, cross-industry survey of 219 managers from different development-relevant functional areas showed that 75 percent of all participants are firmly convinced that sales employees can reveal customer needs and important market trends better and faster than marketing departments. “This realization shows that sales are an important source of information for new product development. Sales employees are in direct contact with customers and can thus provide valuable knowledge for product development, ”says Kuester.
The subsequent, scientifically based survey confirms this initial assessment. Although both marketing and sales integration have a positive effect on new product success, the influence of sales integration is much more significant. The unfiltered, qualitative information from sales enables a more customer-oriented product development. This means that new products are more likely to be accepted by customers. In addition, sales staff are additionally motivated to successfully sell the new products, as they identify more strongly with the new development through the integration.
Get salespeople involved early on
The positive influence on the market success of new products can be further increased by various factors, such as the systematisation and quality control of the information passed on by sales. The timing also plays a role. The earlier the sales department is involved, the stronger the positive influence, since customer requests can be better taken into account in the early development phases. The relationship examined remains significant across different contexts. But the integration of sales is all the more worthwhile, the more innovative and radical the new product is perceived and the higher the competitive pressure in the market is classified.