What is a go-to-market roadmap?
Every company needs to think deeply about how to drive new customer growth. The opportunities to garner new customers are defined as part of an overarching go-to-market strategy. This could include marketing activities such as programs and campaigns that are part of the broader marketing strategy. It also includes plans for bringing new products and services to market.
This guide focuses on that key aspect of the go-to-market strategy — how to launch a new experience to customers. The experience itself could be a new product or a feature or enhancement to an existing product or service. It could also be when your company wants to introduce a product to a new audience or user base.
Creating your go-to-market strategy is the first step in the go-to-market process. It documents how you will leverage internal cross-functional teams and external partners to communicate the value of what you are delivering and gain competitive advantage. This strategy is critical to planning a launch that reaches the right audience, based on defined buyer personas. It also includes effective product positioning so those customers understand the value of the new offering.
A go-to-market roadmap is a visual representation of the work you want to accomplish for your launch and the timeline for when you will get there. The purpose of a go-to-market roadmap is to capture and coordinate the timing of all the cross-functional activities required to release a new customer experience.
Why is a go-to-market roadmap important?
While defining your go-to-market strategy is a foundational planning step, it is only as good as how you implement it. Time to market is key, along with tight collaboration and communication across teams. A go-to-market roadmap captures the details of the work and defines deadlines to drive the delivery of your strategy.
Not every launch will be a big and flashy new activity but all launches have some commonalities. There are always many moving parts and fixed deadlines. A go-to-market roadmap provides a central place to track the many details and dependencies of your launch. Having a repeatable go-to-market roadmap template that you can customize helps ensure everything is documented and planned for, as well as identifying any gaps.
Your go-to-market roadmap is also a great communication tool. It can help you spot cloudiness — from missed tasks to downstream impact to other teams that you might not have considered. You can use it to provide clarity to the cross-functional teams on shared responsibilities and important milestones. The roadmap helps keep everyone on track and holds them accountable to their contributions to the launch.
Who is involved in creating a go-to-market roadmap?
Marketing leaders are typically responsible for crafting the overall go-to-market strategy. Where the responsibility falls for completing the go-to-market activities will vary. At software companies, the product marketing managers often “own” activities related to the release of new functionality and the roadmap needed to successfully launch on time.
Whether the marketing team or product marketing team is creating the roadmap, the focus should be on communicating product benefits internally and externally. They will coordinate with the other cross-functional teams and implement the launch. This work can entail collaborating with product management to hone key messaging, providing training to sales and support teams, and making sure the website will get updated accordingly — and all of these activities are defined in the go-to-market roadmap.
How do you create a go-to-market roadmap?
Before you start building your roadmap, first review the broader marketing strategy. This will inform your go-to-market strategy, including key launch items like product positioning and pricing for new offerings. Both strategies are foundational to your roadmap. You want to make sure that whatever you plan supports higher-level company goals.
A Gantt chart is ideal for planning all the work that goes into delivering a new customer experience. You can tie launch activities back to the go-to-market strategy in a visual way. You need to track hard dates and deliverables with different dependencies that support the launch and coordinate the timing of those activities. This view is ideal for tracking deadlines, deliverables, and milestones to hit along the way.
In the example below, you can see the go-to-market roadmap accounts for activities such as website updates, sales and support training, and design assets. You have a full picture of everything that needs to be completed for a successful launch.
Share your go-to-market roadmap
Your roadmap is a critical document for planning a go-to-market launch. But it becomes more powerful when you make it accessible to cross-functional teams and other stakeholders. Sharing the go-to-market roadmap internally reduces the chance of misunderstandings and overlapping work.
It will be an important asset in meetings as you develop messaging, pricing, and training. Referencing your roadmap in planning meetings will help you find opportunities and insights — through conversation with cross-functional team members — that you might otherwise miss. This will also help you ensure that the product and go-to-market strategies stay in sync.
Go-to-market roadmaps help tame the chaos of coordinating efforts across multiple teams to deliver a new customer experience. Connect everything you plan in your roadmap back to the overall goals to show the “why” behind the work. Then you will drive the continued growth of the business with successful launches.
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