Product marketing roadmaps aren’t a staple in most B2B organizations, but there are a host of reasons they should be. The biggest reason metaphorically speaking, is they willingly “fence the salesforce” into your most lucrative markets and give them a shorter path to meeting sales quotas and revenue goals.
What is a Product Marketing Roadmap?
A product marketing roadmap is a visual representation of the product/service solutions that will drive the most revenue in each market segment based on the business priorities of organizations in those segments. In other words, it answers the question, Which market segments will drive the majority of our revenue and which solutions would be most valuable to each segment?
It’s part strategy and part execution plan that outlines how product marketing and sales are going to collectively attack the market and meet their revenue goals in any given year. The execution part of the product marketing roadmap consists of the action items and artifacts required to generate demand and support the sales process.
A product marketing roadmap answers 5 questions:
- What are the top investment priorities of our target customers?
- Why are those priorities/initiatives critical to their success?
- What’s stopping them and why?
- Which solutions in our portfolio align best to the customer’s priorities?
- What action items and artifacts are required to maximize revenue from these solutions?
Product Marketing Roadmap vs. Product Roadmap
The biggest difference between a product marketing roadmap and a product roadmap is the intent. The goal of the product marketing roadmap is to maximize short-term revenue (this year) from existing solutions while the goal of the product roadmap is to drive future growth (later this year and going forward) from solutions that have yet to be built.
The relationship between the two is strong. For example, the items on this year’s product roadmaps will have a strong influence on the product marketing roadmap next year, assuming solutions in the product development pipeline will be in high demand when they’re released to market.
Do I Need a Product Marketing Roadmap for Each Product?
The short answer is no. In fact, you shouldn’t have a product marketing roadmap for each product for two primary reasons.
First and foremost, when you map each product to the top business initiatives of your target customers, they don’t all have equal value. Focus on the products that have the greatest value and pull the others into the sales process when they can have a significant impact on your competitive position.
Second, it’s too overwhelming for sales, especially if you have a lot of products. Make it as simple as possible for your sales team to tell a strong value story for a few solutions. If it’s easier for sales to sell, it’s easier for customers to buy.
Who’s Responsible for Creating the Product Marketing Roadmap?
The term product marketing roadmap may be a bit misleading as the actual artifact itself is more of a portfolio marketing roadmap that maps the highest value solutions in the portfolio to each market segment.
While it’s a team effort to create the roadmap, the responsibility falls on the head of product marketing or the portfolio marketing manager to organize the content and present the plan to stakeholders, primarily sales, customer success/account management and the executive team.
Product Marketing Roadmaps and the Sales Enablement Tactics
If product marketing managers consider the salesforce their primary customer, here are three things they should do every year to boost the sales success rate.
- Identify the top market segments, the ideal customer profile and the corresponding business solutions (from existing products) that will drive the lion’s share of revenue in each segment “this year.”
- Create a simple and conversational value story (specific to each segment) that’s easy for salespeople to internalize, repeat and know exactly what they’re saying and why customers care. Remember, customers don’t buy because they understand you. They buy because they’re convinced you understand them.
- Execute the demand generation plans that open doors for salespeople at the decision-maker level where the value messaging will resonate best and engage those decision makers in meaningful conversations at the start of the sales process.
The Bottom Line on Product Marketing Roadmaps
The easiest way to summarize product marketing roadmaps is to use the analogy of defining your destination and then following the turn-by-turn directions to get there.
Think of the strategy part of the roadmap as the destination that outlines the target markets, the solutions and the revenue potential relative to the size of your salesforce. The turn-by-turn directions are the execution tactics required to generate demand, build the pipelines, qualify prospects and close deals.
A product marketing roadmap is as valuable to your stakeholders as a product roadmap. In both cases, they outline where you’re going, how you’ll get there and the tactics necessary to succeed.
If you want to learn how to use a product marketing roadmap to help your organization drive more short-term revenue, contact us about a personalized training workshop or enroll in an on-demand course. We’ll use your products and your markets as the case study so you’ll know exactly what good looks like for you when you leave the classroom.
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by John Mansour on February 2, 2023.