The Top 5 Tips for Successful Product Commercialization

Image of team meeting for article on product commercialization.

What can go wrong during product commercialization?  Anyone who has ever managed products from idea through market introduction knows the complexities involved in bringing a successful product to market.

Here are my five tips for laying the ground work for successful product adoption.

  1. Start with the end in mind – Knowing the strengths and limitations of your product let you take an “eyes wide open” approach.  It helps you position your product against the competition by identifying the true problem that needs to be solved and how your solution will fill that gap.  Knowing the limitations is as important as knowing the strengths. Market the strengths, acknowledge the weaknesses.
  2. Talk to your customers early in the process – Customers may be buyers, influencers or both.  For a therapeutic, the customer is both the doctor and the patient.  The doctor must be well versed in the data.  What data can you show from the clinical trials?  What side effects were encountered?  How does it compare to standard of care?  The patients want to know how to use it, how much it costs and what are the short or long-term safety concerns?  Being prepared with the data and packaging it in an attractive, well thought out format ensures it will get disseminated and read as planned.
  3. Make sure your financials are solid – Run your scenarios!  What is the expected reimbursement?  How will patients use their insurance?  Model out your best case and worst-case scenarios as well as an “average” scenario to see the effects of pricing differences,  discounting and dosing for the eligible population.  Always make sure to factor in current standard of care when estimating what percentage might use your solution.
  4. Continually communicate with your team – Be the conductor of your orchestra and make sure everyone is playing from the same sheet music.  Stay on top of product development, manufacturing issues, regulatory, packaging and product inserts.  Make sure you approve the sales training decks and all customer facing materials.  Pull different disciplines in the company together for a team lead meeting weekly.  Make sure everyone understands how their role affects others, and keep everyone accountable.  Use a dynamic document, perhaps on SharePoint, to enable others to see what they have to do and share their progress.  Celebrate the victories along the way and always make sure to complement team members for a job well done.
  5. Prepare your teams – You cannot overcommunicate with your stakeholders.  Update senior management on a regular basis.  Work closely with the sales team to prepare materials for training, customer-facing literature and sales tools.  Choose 2-3 sales representatives to be your feet on the street.  They can relay valuable information from the field and help drive peer to peer adoption Preparing the go-to-market teams ahead of approval will jump start the sales process.  

Smaller companies often bring in marketing/sales after key decisions have been made.  You can work with an Interim Chief Commercial Officer (iCCO) to get involved early and help you make critical decision that will impact the launch process.  An iCCO can save you money, often half the cost of a CCO.  They can also help the transition to a full time CCO when the time is right