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60-1-60: Improving Your B2B Launches (Part 1 of 3)

"When was the last time you orchestrated a B2B software launch that resonated beyond the day it went live? Let’s face it, some launches echo; others are barely a whisper."

If you are on a quest to improve how you manage product launches or any go-to-market activity, let's dive into a new approach. The difference between a fizzle and a flourish lies in your strategy. This is 60-1-60 the approach. It's a new way to orchestrate the approach you take to market.

Unlike most of my blogs here that focus on community-led marketing, this one applies to all areas of marketing. In the multiple rounds of editing for Unfair Mindshare: A CMOs guide to community-led marketing in a product-led world, this approach could not be fit within the book. Yes, I have definitely used this approach in my community-led endeavors, but 60-1-60 works well in all parts of marketing as you define your plans and go-to-market strategies.


First, The Three Tiers

"In the symphony of your launch, are you merely a note or the entire composition?"

Before we dive into what 60-1-60 is and how it works, we first need to set the stage for the scope of your go-to-market effort. Some are big, some are small, and others are in between.

Your Tier 1 launches are full-scale operas that require the harmonization of multiple departments—from Product Marketing to Customer Success and even to Project Management. Tier 2 launches may be more of a chamber music affair, with fewer players but no less significant. Then there are your Tier 3 launches—think of them as your solos, crisp and concise yet capable of leaving a lasting impression.

It's about scale, scope, and the complexity of the piece you’re composing. Before starting your launch plans, you first need to scope out the effort ahead. Is it a note, a tune, or a magnum opus?

The tiers give you a sense of scope. They define who is around the table in your planning sessions. They also give you a perspective on the impact expected at your business.


60-1-60. Sounds interesting. What is it?

Welcome to the first installment of our three-part series on the 60-1-60 methodology. The concept is simple: it's a timeline for your launch or go-to-market activity. It also represents a more holistic way of thinking. And it helps remind you and your peers that the days leading up to the launch are just as critical as those that follow. 

The 60-1-60 methodology spells out a detailed plan for 60 days pre-launch, the day of the launch, and the 60 days post-launch. No, it’s not always a one-size-fits-all model. You can adapt it to 30-1-30, 120-1-120, or any other format that matches your scale and ambitions.

This methodology was introduced to me by my friend and fellow CMO, Matt Howard. While conceptually, I would execute launches with these "pre" and "post" activities in mind, the simple 60-1-60 label helped me visualize and organize my plans better. It was also a crucial element used to set the stage for everyone else's involvement across the business. Everyone, across all functional areas of the business, would play a role within our 60-1-60 execution plan.





Pre-Launch: Setting the Stage

"If your pre-launch was a musical piece, would it have the power to bring the audience to its feet even before the curtain rises?"

In a typical 60-1-60 approach, the first 60 days are your dress rehearsals and off-stage preparations. You’re not just issuing a press release; you’re developing a narrative. You’re not merely announcing a new feature; you’re solving a problem. The preliminary activities, such as pricing structures and sales team enablement, are essential keys in your keyboard. So, let's ask the unspoken question: If you're not giving your pre-launch the weight it deserves, why even bother with the main event?


Roles of Functional Areas: The First 60 Days

In this three-part series, you walk through each of the three stages for 60-1-60 planning and execution. You read examples of what different functional areas of the business are doing in the 60-1-60 plan. The functional area examples below are not meant to be comprehensive, but they serve to help you better visualize a comprehensive and inclusive launch plan. 

Let's guide you through some activities in the first "60" of the 60-1-60 plan.


Product Marketing

Your Product Marketing team crafts the narrative. It's not just about features; it's about the value your product adds to the lives it touches. It's their job to tune every message until it strikes the perfect chord.

They set the stage for all other marketing activities. From pricing strategy to competitor analysis, this team lays the foundation. Their work in these first 60 days creates a unified message that resonates through each department.


Demand Generation

Your Demand Gen team takes the lead on warming up your audience. Through targeted campaigns and strategic partnerships, they build the buzz necessary for a powerful launch. They're the prelude to your symphony.

Demand gen isn't just about quantity; it's about quality. The goal is to generate not just leads, but the right leads. And they track everything—bounce rates, click-through rates, conversion rates—to measure the efficacy of different channels and approaches.


Sales and Sales Engineering

Your Sales team, along with Sales Engineering, starts their prep by getting deep into product details. They're your front-line warriors, so arm them well. They need to know the product better than anyone else to effectively sell it.

They need to understand not just the product but also the problem it solves and for whom. The first 60 days are crucial for role-playing, objection handling, and consultative selling skills honing. Sales Engineering goes deep into the tech aspect, preparing to tackle detailed questions during customer meetings and demos.


Communications and Public Relations

The Communications and PR team starts crafting the public narrative. They're your external voice, making sure your message is heard loud and clear across all public forums.

Press releases, media kits, and journalist briefings are done to prepare for a synchronized blast on launch day. They engage influencers and industry insiders to build early interest and credibility. Their metrics of success? Media impressions, influencer engagements, and overall public sentiment around your brand.


Event Planners and Field Marketing

Event Planners start working on launch-related events, be it a grand launch party or smaller, localized events in key markets. Field marketing works in tandem to ensure that these events are highly targeted and aligned with the broader launch strategy.

Field Marketing starts organizing localized campaigns, tapping into local networks, and aligning efforts with regional sales teams. They measure event-specific metrics like attendee engagement, lead capture rate, and cost-per-engagement.


Website Planners

Your Website Planners work on developing new landing pages or full-scale websites if required. SEO, user journey mapping, and A/B testing are their primary focus. They work in tandem with the Product Marketing and Demand Gen teams to ensure the website speaks the same language as all other channels.

They're not just building web pages; they're creating an experience. They analyze user behavior, time-on-page, and bounce rates to continually refine this experience.


Why 60-1-60 Over Big Bang?

"Can you recall a one-day wonder in your industry? Exactly. Silence is the antithesis of impact."

Unlike the Big Bang approach—where the excitement peters out after the balloons pop—the 60-1-60 methodology sustains your narrative. You're not just a marketer; you're a storyteller, crafting chapters that unfold with logical yet compelling progression. By planning specific elements before, during, and after your launch, you create a continuum of engagement that most 'one-hit wonders' in your industry can only dream of.


In Summary: Why Settle for a Launch When You Can Create a Legacy?

"Some people aim for successful product launches; you aim for legendary status."

As we conclude this act, remember that your quest doesn’t end here. Your next journey involves perfecting your launch day, where the spotlight shines brightest.