Line up your launch plan with a networking event or trade show
that targets your prospect base
When visiting clients and prospects on-site at their
headquarters or local offices, one thing I look for is the
physical location — or separation — between
their communications teams, such as marketing, public relations
and events departments, and their sales teams.
Teams that are well aligned mean stronger telecom companies
— period. And sometimes, the physical location of
these teams can actually say quite a bit about the corporate
culture. Are the teams on separate floors or wings? Separate
As a marketer raised in telecoms, I am used to sitting near or
even inside the sales pit. I earned my stripes by knowing the
sales teams’ incentives and by defining promotions
that helped them achieve their incentives. I was also privy to
the overall company strategy and objectives, such as what
product they believe is the next big thing and why. Then we
developed the strategy for selling it to the marketplace.
Now as the CEO of a telecom-focused PR firm, I can no longer
literally sit next to each salesperson. Nevertheless, my team
and I have crafted a list of questions that gives us that same
sales insight, as if we were sitting nearby.
These questions ensure that our communication lines remain open
and effective, now and in the future. Usually this conversation
works best quarterly and/or before a new product or service
So here’s some of our favourite questions from our
list. Please add your questions and thoughts in the form below.
We will include your ideas in our social media or potentially
in upcoming GTB articles. In particular, we want to continue
the discussion in a marketing thread on the Global Telecoms
Business group on LinkedIn — see the end of this
article for ways to join in the debate.
I have written "product/service launch" often in these
questions as a placeholder, but you can swap that phrase with
any big news you are planning to announce to the
Why is this new product/service launch important to your
overall business strategy?
In order to be an effective extension of a team, we
have to be part of the team. This means trusted access
— in accordance with our strict non-disclosure
agreements, of course — as to where the company is
For example, what’s the end-game strategy? Is it a
series of acquisitions/mergers, going public, going national or
global? Is it a medley of these strategies?
And how does the new launch of a service/product or news
further this corporate end goal? How will it make the company
stronger or more accessible? How does it add to your
customers’ experience and/or that of the telecom
industry as a whole?
Ensuring that each new message further strengthens the
company’s underlying essence goes a long way in
strengthening the brand and overall company value and
Who do you see as your competitor for this new/existing
With today’s telecoms companies
redefining themselves and consolidating their offerings on a
regular basis, a competitive check-in, even per product, can
result in some surprising answers.
Clients can be partners as well as competitors and we need to
be mindful of this ecosystem as we craft new messages.
We also need to stay on top of competitive benchmarking, to
understand and define our niche differences.
By clearing outlining these differences to the marketplace, we
are not only providing more educational resources, which helps
further position our company as the thought leader on this
particular keyword or phrase — see my Global Telecoms
Business article in the July/August issue for more on this
— but ideally shortening the time needed to close the
deal, something your sales team will love.
What’s your timeline?
It’s not enough to have a strategy if
you don’t marry it to a hard-hitting timetable
that illustrates a sense of industry/community awareness.
Line up your launch plan with a networking event or trade show
that targets your prospect base. Make sure the media attending
this event receives as much information and advance notice to
pique their interest and to plan one-on-one interviews on-site.
We have to be aggressive in this industry to be the first to
market with a new idea or product, but be wary of announcing
before your company is ready — for example, your
provisioning capabilities and so on.
Also try to set realistic deadlines so that your collective
teams are able to work together constructively to ensure
streamlined messages and outreach. A launch of a new product or
offering should not just be handled by the communications team;
it should include, for example, the sales teams contacting
their prospects or existing client base to inform them of this
exciting news and how it could potentially benefit them.
Who is the point person?
Not only do you need to know who is the key
salesperson or sales team that is running point on this new
initiative, you should also create a group email address
— for example email@example.com
— that includes more than one person’s
This group email will be included on all new contact form
submissions and as a call to action on printed collateral and
campaigns, to track the success of the outreach.
In addition, which person is media-facing? Is this person
trained and comfortable about speaking to the media on this new
Is their messaging consistent with the overall campaign
messaging? Are there any curve balls — or tough or
tricky questions — that a journalist or analyst may
ask that you can prepare for now?
Make sure this key person doesn’t have a vacation
in the books for the week after the launch. Chances are, if
your campaign is a successful one, the phone will be ringing.
How can we use this news as a way to increase our lead
generation pools and website traffic?
Consider this as a golden marketing rule today: if
it’s happening offline, then it’s not
All new products, offers and ideas need to be posted on your
website, on your blog, in your press releases, which are then
posted on your site and picked up by other online media
organisations, in your metadata — with keywords
embedded into your site code — and posted throughout
your social media channels.
I know, exhausting — but necessary.
Additionally, it should be posted in a way that encourages more
conversations and access to additional resources. For example,
if you have a new product — say a new cloud hosting
offer — and you are about to announce it in a press
release, make sure you also have a landing page on your website
which briefly explains what it is, with the key benefits, and
then has a specific form for people to key in their names and
email addresses so that they can quickly download the full
cloud hosting datasheet, case study or webinar.
And don’t just tie this to your generic "contact
us" form. Today’s marketing and sales are based on
tracking, tracking and tracking. Knowing who is downloading
this particular resource is critical to assessing how well you
are getting the word out on this campaign.
These contact details are also great leads to distribute back
to your sales team — who at this point think you are a
superstar and want to work with you more.
What are the reasons a lead doesn’t close?
This is a biggie — and traditionally a
question that really gets to the heart of any disconnect
between sales and marketing teams and strategies.
We as marketers need to not just funnel leads towards the sales
team, but we also need to nurture the leads that are not yet
quite ready to make the jump and commit to buying.
Instead of just throwing these unready leads in a "for later"
bucket, ask your sales team for the top reasons they are not
biting. Whether it’s timing, budget or the value
of the product, this feedback becomes extremely valuable
information for marketing.
Now we can segment these leads accordingly and create key
messages that target each one of these pain points.
You may find that old leads can get some new traction with some
fresh, pointed messaging. And, you can eliminate any
misunderstandings that might be out there on your product.
Are there any ways marketing can do a better job?
Sometimes we get caught up in all our strategies and
new fangled reporting tools and so on that we forget to listen
to the word on the street.
The sales teams are the ones who are actually talking to the
leads, understanding particular concerns, and taking that
well-crafted message — which you might have spent all
month perfecting — from the drawing board to the
meeting rooms. The reps should be considered your soldiers on
the front line in garnishing and analysing
This necessary insight can help create stronger prospect
personas, and could trigger even better messages and campaigns,
a different positioning of your product or a new local angle
for your follow-up. Sometimes the best answers are often found
in our backyards.
And next, join the discussion
What are your must-ask inter-departmental questions? Email
firstname.lastname@example.org, respond via the comments facility on
the web version of this article (http://tinyurl.com/GTB-Jaymie2),
or join in the conversation on the Global Telecoms Business
group on LinkedIn, (http://tinyurl.com/GTB-Link)
The previous article in this series can be read online at http://tinyurl.com/GTB-Jaymie1
This and all articles are available on your iPad or iPhone.
Download the Global Telecoms Business app free from iTunes on
Jaymie Scotto Cutaia is CEO of Jaymie Scotto &