How to Get Ahead of the Disruption Caused by Sunsetting a Product

by Jeff Zdanowski

You’ve done the research, studied the data, and looked at the numbers to determine that a product needs to go through sunsetting. You know that sunsetting this product will save your company money and positively impact the bottom line, but it’s not always an easy task.

You also have a new product that you’re trying to rally the troops around to sell. How do you get sales leaders and staff away from the comfortable and known to excited about offering up the new products? What will clients think?

There are many challenges in these situations, but if you can get ahead of the obstacles with a plan that includes detailed and ample communication, incentives, and the benefits of the changes, you’ll have an easier time getting your sales team and customers onboard.

Challenge: Sales will end up primarily focused on selling the products going through sunsetting.

Solutions:

  • Create a communication strategy that details why this is happening, how it will benefit everyone, and how sales should go about the process.
  • Give as much prior notice as possible and continue to communicate until the product is no longer being offered.
  • Provide an updated compensation strategy that helps drive the behaviors of your sales team to focus on both new and sunset products.

Challenge: Clients and potential customers will become confused or won’t know about the decision to sunset the product.

Solutions:

  • Involve marketing early on in the process, so they can create messaging that reveals and emphasizes the new product and clarifies the reasons for sunsetting. Work with marketing to create communication that details what customers can expect as a result of the change.
  • Maintain focus on clients, not just financials. Look into the possibility of offering incentives for moving from one product to the other. Or if it’s a brand new product, offer some form of motivation to purchase now.
  • Provide products or solutions the customer might be willing to purchase in lieu of the sunset product.

Challenge: Too much focus on the new product will result in customer and employee dissatisfaction.

Solutions:

  • Develop or outsource a team that can completely focus on the old product, ensuring that customer satisfaction is maintained.
  • If there is too much resistance to the new product, consider an outsourcing sales solution. The outsourced sales team can focus on selling the new product, while current sales staff continue selling core, mature products or sunset products.

Challenge: Competitors will use against us the fact that a product is being sunset.

Solutions:

  • Do your competitors have a similar product and is there a possibility you will lose customers to them? If so, develop a strategic plan to overcome perceived or real advantages of the competing product.
  • Provide a roadmap to your customers, which addresses any uncertainty or doubt about your product.
  • Have an internal migration plan in place, which directly addresses how to handle any customer issues.

Sufficient planning coupled with taking all challenges into consideration before you roll out new products or sunset others is essential for success. It will reduce confusion and problems for employees and clients, as well as assist in rolling out the new and sunsetting the old.

If you’ve ever thought about outsourcing your sales for any reason or would like to learn more about it, please contactMarketSource today for a free assessment. Not sure about sales outsourcing? Check out this eBook, 4 Outsourcing Myths Every Executive Should Know.

Topic: B2B

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

With more than 25 years of experience, Automotive Business Development Director Jeff Zdanowski is responsible for expanding MarketSource’s automotive practice throughout the OEM, tire, and automotive supplier industries. His primary focus is impacting behaviors and driving sales in the dealer network and aftermarket channel.

At MarketSource, we believe better sales begin with better relationships. Our proven alternative to traditional outsourced sales is led by a proprietary process that helps businesses thrive by fostering deeper connections between people and brands.