A successful product launch is a lot like juggling. You have a dozen balls (or maybe chainsaws) in the air at once, and if you drop one of them the show is ruined.

So how do you lead your team in getting those balls going? How do you even know which ones to throw? I recommend taking a step back and making sure you and your team are aligned on your goals and metrics.

What Does a Successful Product Launch Look Like?

A successful launch can and will look different from company to company, and even from product to product. If you don’t have a specific goal, you’ll never know if you’ve won. You could easily end up misusing resources, mangling your budget, and missing out on a chance to measure ROI. Even worse, management might start wondering if the people planning the launch are as credible as they first appeared.

Avoid all this by creating clear goals before launching your product.

A great goal is simple, clear, measurable, and has a specific timeframe. Outside of those constraints, your goal will depend on your company’s resources, management’s expectations, existing customer base, and the product itself.

One of the simplest product launch goals is a sales goal. Choose a timeframe and the number of products you expect to sell. If you hit that number, congrats! You’ve met your goal.

Maybe your goal is to increase your brand awareness. More social media followers, more retweets, more website hits, more media mentions… choose the channels you’d like to measure, set a benchmark, and set a timeframe. This is a good time to review potential new channels with your marketing team.

Perhaps your company tends to have a relatively long lead time for sales. If it’s not feasible to set a specific sales goal for launch, try thinking in terms of prospects. Aim to reach a certain number of prospects by the end of a defined time period. If you reach it, you’ve met your goal.

What am I Measuring? Choosing Product Launch Metrics

In a product launch, goals and metrics go hand in hand. The problem is often that there can be dozens or even hundreds of ways to measure progress towards a single goal. Defining metrics at the outset equips your company to cut through the static and find results that really mean something.

Your key performance indicators will reflect your goals. If your goals revolve around sales, it should come as no surprise that the number of sales you make will be a major metric to track. The same goes for gathering prospects or measuring ROI. Things get murkier when you start to talk brand awareness. Track everything, but only report on the metrics that are most crucial to your organization’s strategy.

It’s easy to get caught up in metrics that aren’t particularly measurable. For example, your new gadget may be much more easy to use than the last model. Ease of use is difficult to define, and not something you can quantify. Even if providing an intuitive product is a core goal of your launch, it’s not a great metric to track.

Achieving Clarity

Defining goals and metrics early on provides clarity for everyone involved in a product launch. You’ll know that your team is working towards a specific goal, and that they know what their role is in getting there. Focusing on goals makes sure your launch starts out on the right foot, and sets you up for success.

What are your goals for your next product launch?