In our first B2B product launch process step, I recommended you get the fundamental information together and check your facts. Once done, you’re ready for the second step.

This step is to have your kick-off meeting or call. If you’re well organised, it shouldn’t matter if you can’t get people to a physical meeting. A call should be fine.

In this call you need all the major players – or else their delegated representatives – in the product launch to be present. This is where you set your ground rules, make sure expectations are aligned and roles and responsibilities understood. The kick-off is a great opportunity for all those who don’t know each other to get acquainted and understand how their own contribution will butt up to or overlap with the contributions of others.

On this call it’s a good idea for people to share their expectations and their requirements for the project so that everyone is aligned towards the overall objective for the launch – whatever the project team decides that overall objective should be. You can’t do any decent planning without the over-arching objective agreed, so it’s important to agree this before proceeding. This is also an important time for establishing what any dependencies or interdependencies might be for elements in the project. What stages can run in parallel, what have to be sequential, what the rate-determining steps are.

From an interpersonal and cultural perspective, the kick-off is the chance for the project manager of the launch – which might be you – to set the tone for the meetings, how they should be run and what the protocols are for reporting, meeting attendance, escalation procedures and so on.

You can use software or design fancy spreadsheets to help you automate much of the operational stuff, especially with large or comprehensive launches. You still, however, have to get the basics right – the basics I’ve outlined above.

With a good kick-off call under your belt and your objective and requirements defined, you’re all the set for the next stage.