Huffpost Business
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Tom Butta Headshot

The Road to Value (Part 2)

Posted: Updated:
Print

In "The Road to Value (Part 1)" I revealed a powerful way to lead a changing or emerging industry by developing a roadmap that delineates the way to create and capture value in that industry. The post showcased market-based benefits to doing this leading work. It also referenced the internal value that could be gained inside the company designing the roadmap. Internal value is the focus of this post.

A value roadmap can provide a number of sustainable benefits inside the company that invests in the effort.
  1. The capabilities section of the value roadmap showcases the gaps between what the roadmap says is needed and what the company can actually provide. The gap analysis showcases exactly where the company needs to improve its own capabilities in terms of people, process, solutions, and services.
  2. The gap analysis becomes a decision treefor what, when and how a company needs to fill the gaps. It sets up decisions that need to be made regarding
    1. Priorities
    2. Timing
    3. Investments
    4. Methodology -- build, buy or partner
  3. The effort to develop the value roadmap can motivate a company. Let's face it. The work is highly strategic. It's about creating an innovative yet functional form of intellectual property that can help catapult the company to category leadership. It represents a significant value opportunity, and everyone involved knows it.
  4. The roadmap team is a reflection of how powerful a company can be when it aligns its critical assets. The construction of a value roadmap requires the active participation of a cross-functional team from Product Management, Sales, Services, and Marketing. Input in = input out. Smart, committed people supported by executive sponsors will produce a really good result
  5. The roadmap identifies what each department needs to do
    1. Product Management needs to fill gaps in the product portfolio while continually improving existing products that are core to what's needed
    2. Services can elevate its game from simply supporting customers to strategically guiding customers through a new consulting practice
    3. Marketing must leverage the thought leadership value of the roadmap, first with influencers like analysts and the media, then as a vehicle to drive higher value engagements with customers and prospects
    4. Sales needs to be trained on how to leverage the roadmap content in two ways: to create a new narrative with current customers; and to be able to have a credible conversation with senior executives who heretofore have eluded the company's reach
  6. The content of the roadmap can be repurposed into other thought leadership forms, such as keynote addresses, Point-of-View booklets, executive seminars, workshops, articles, and the like. For one company, we even formed a partnership with a top business school to create an executive education series off of the content of the roadmap. We received money (nice), valuable input (good), access to executives (really good), and the pedigree of partnering with a leading institution (invaluable)
As you have seen in these posts, a value roadmap is a highly worthy endeavor for those companies looking to lead a changing or emerging category. It has clear and sustainable benefits within the marketplace and within the company doing it.

But, it's not easy. Not in the least. To be successful you have to be willing to commit to the hard work of doing it properly. Here are some tips.

-- You have to stay firm with a skeptical sales force used to selling from demos

-- You have to test the content of the roadmap as it's forming with real customers in real sales situations as often as you can

-- And, you have to be willing to take to heart what one of my executive partners in one of these efforts said when he admonished a Services team for not fully committing to the roadmap as it was forming. He said, "Get with the (expletive) program! If you're not on the roadmap you're off strategy!!!"

That was... and very much is... the point. A value roadmap is the strategy that can make all the difference. It has for the many companies with whom I've done this. It certainly did for the company and executive in the above story. Now, 10 years later, the company is leveraging Version 6 of their roadmap as the clear leader of their market space. And that passionate executive is the CEO/President of the company!

Read the first part of "The Road to Value" here.