Sell in Advance of the Roadmap

Last year I was talking to an entrepreneur who was recounting how they had just lost a big deal they thought they were going to win. Curious, I asked for more details. The prospect was pitched by a competitor where the competitor spent an hour doing a vision call talking about their direction, upcoming features, and general approach to the market. This call, which was about what was potentially going to happen, sealed the deal.

Entrepreneurs need to sell in advance of the roadmap.

Meaning, have a vision for the future and sell features and benefits that are coming soon, not purely what’s there today. Now, this can get tricky as we’ve all had sales people promise us things that were not true. That’s not the idea here. The idea is that when prospects buy a SaaS product, they’re not only buying what the product can do today — they’re also buying what the product will do tomorrow. Find the right balance between making sure the prospect will get value right away and promising things to come.

Don’t underestimate the importance of selling in advance of the roadmap — customers are also buying a vision of the future.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea of selling in advance of the roadmap?

3 thoughts on “Sell in Advance of the Roadmap

  1. Agree 100% with the importance of highlighting the great capability that’s coming – making sure not to mislead about what ‘is’ and what ‘will be’.
    Interested in your thoughts about how to manage/position the risk that some of those features may not eventuate if the company identifies some greater potential features and re-aligns the roadmap towards that, especially in earlier stage companies.

  2. When positioning future feature / functionality, be careful with the contract language – revenue recognition can be impacted if you commit to future vision rather than the product you can take off the shelf today.

  3. David – you write at a fever pitch. Thanks for the great commentary. I’m selling about a mile ahead of roadmap right now. Would love to get on the phone with you to talk through what we’re building as I could use your advice in getting into the beast (Salesforce).

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