In terms of empowering your sales and success teams to get customers and prospects excited about upcoming features, how do you help them present the roadmap? Does product marketing create a roadmap deck that then gets shared out to the team?
I answer a similar question further on, but at a high level a great way to preview the roadmap is part of annual or quarterly account health checks.
In the past I’ve had a section in the sales deck. We’ve also recorded videos with our PMs covering high level plans because customers tend to really like hearing from the team that’s actually building the products they use and this gives the PMs an opportunity to celebrate their work. Some PMs also enjoy going on sales calls to directly experience customer reactions and this can be powerful in driving excitement.
And of course, if your company hosts events/conferences this is also a great place to preview what’s coming for you in the coming year.
In almost all cases you want to have Product Marketing creating the roadmap deck and delivering it, rather than Product. There are two main reasons for this.
First, some PMs (please don't hate me) tend to focus more on describing the feature rather than articulating the value and benefit. Of course there are many skilled PMs that can do both, however it’s unlikely all your PMs will be able to do it consistently. Customers don’t care about the specifications of the feature, they want to understand what problems it would solve. It's the Product Marketers job to make the connection between the feature and its real world benefits.
Second, you want to provide a holistic roadmap that tells a unified story. So, it makes much more sense to have a Product Marketer understand the different features that are coming and weave it into a narrative that is relevant for the different segments or verticals you are targeting. Even if a Product Manager is able to describe the benefits of a feature, it’s unlikely they have the time to look across all the other products and weave them together.
So, Product Marketing should create a roadmap that sells the benefits and tells a clear story to the customer. Sales and Success can then take this and present it to the customer as part of their regular meetings.
Ideally, any roadmap shared with your sales team would be owned and presented by PMM. The sales team doesn’t just need to understand when a product will be released, but when they’ll be enabled to sell it effectively. PMMs can leverage release timelines to craft a market-ready roadmap based on the GTM strategy.
Here are some ways in which a market-ready roadmap may differ from a product one:
- Bundled releases that deliver greater customer value, when most relevant (i.e. factoring in seasonality)
- Solution or persona based sales plays, that tag each release by target segment
- Sufficient lead time for GTM enablement and support requirements
- Marketing campaigns/activities that will be leveraged to boost the launch, making more noise in market around tentpole moments
The roadmap deck should be created by PM and PMM. Ultimately PM will have the best understanding of the upcoming features with dates of releases, but PMM is responsible for ensuring that the messaging and benefits are clear in the roadmap deck (you don’t want just a punch list of features).
Once the features are clear, we also include a talk track for Sales/Success teams so they are comfortable presenting the information. The flow of the roadmap deck starts with current features that have been recently released, then covers upcoming releases by month/quarter.