Sales Engineers: Presenting the Product Roadmap

Sometimes a Sales Engineer has to do that special kind of presentation - the Product Roadmap.  The trick to this is to show a strong future, but not a weak current product.

The Product Roadmap (Photo Michiru Maeda 2011)
There are 3 main things you need to get across:

  1. Your future product aligns well with the customer/prospect's needs
  2. There is excellent value in paying their maintenance
  3. There is no reason to wait before buying the product
The first two points represent the advantages of buying from your company to the prospect.  That your product will continue to suit them, and is well aligned to what they want to do in the future.  
The importance of these points may vary with the willingness of the customer to receive these updates later.

The final point is a warning! Don't give the customer a reason to delay spending their money.  
  • This is the risky part of presenting future product, in that your customer may be reluctant to buy now - you might force them to pay more to get the new features. 
  • It may put some contingency over their buying now - and this might delay you in getting paid!
  • An upgrade might be something they are not planning for
While it is great to be innovating and helping with future needs, don't rely on them to sell your product. Use it to differentiate you from the competition, particularly if they are slow moving, or are not developing your product very quickly.  This presentation is a two-edged sword, and can hurt you or help you.

Good luck and happy selling!