Speed-To-Market Idea: Try Packaging Expertise With The Product
If you have a great sales idea that youd like your company to use, what do you do?
If youre like most of us, you probably get on the phone and call the senior vice president of marketing at your company. If the VP agrees its a great idea, he or she will probably ask you to write it down and send it in.
Once you do that, the VP takes it to Legal for compliance approval. Then it goes back to the VP to develop sales materials and training aids. Once thats done, it goes back to Legal for approval of the additional materials. Finally, the idea goes back to the VP and is ready for marketing–at least, if its still viable!
Thats a huge and cumbersome process, and it has pitfalls for you, the original innovator.
You see, if too much time passes between your call to the VP and the final legal approval, your idea may have lost its window of opportunity.
New products are coming to market every day, and new regulations affecting those products are also issued continuously, so your window can sometimes be surprisingly small. Unless your company can get new ideas to market quickly, itand youcould lose out, no matter how great the concept or execution.
Companies need to be able to adjust to the marketplace as quickly as the marketplace makes adjustments. Or, to paraphrase Jack Welch, the retired chairman of General Electric: If the rate of change outside your company is greater than the rate of change inside your company, then your company will not be around much longer.
That statement could not be illustrated more aptly than with the ability to get new ideas into the insurance market.
Clients have recounted stories about lost opportunities due to product development logjams of all kinds.
For instance, logjams can result when someone in the review and approval process does not feel comfortable with an idea. Usually, thats because the person does not know as much as he or she would like about the idea. This may be particularly true if a new sales idea relies on tax and legal issues–sometimes called “loopholes”–that demand a full working knowledge of the substantive area of law or taxation.
In addition, as companies have outsourced expertise, it happens that the expertise is sometimes no longer in-house to review a new concept at a level the company would desire. That, too, can cause an idea to languish. In one case, the sales idea and materials sat on the corner of someones desk for several months due to that reason. This results in a “slow to market” process that makes everyone unhappy, field and home office alike.