What is a Salesforce Roadmap?
Simply put, a Salesforce Roadmap is nothing more than a table outlining:
This sounds simple, yet most companies don’t go into a negotiation with Salesforce clear on these two points. As a result, Salesforce hijacks the conversation and creates a roadmap for them.
What you are going to buy
This question isn’t always as simple as it sounds.
Do you need Enterprise or Unlimited?
Do you even need premium support? Or would that money be better spent on a 3rd party consulting firm?
Have you run a utilization report to see how many of your licenses are actually being used?
Is marketing actually using that instance of Pardot you purchased three years ago?
The “what you are going to buy” conversation isn’t always easy. One company we worked with ran a utilization report to find that only 63% of their licenses had even been logged into in the past year. This means they were paying for 37% more licenses than they actually needed!
Another customer realized that a large portion of his organization could get by through downgrading to a lower license level. They were only using basic features that didn’t require them to be at the Unlimited License.
It’s easy to think you know exactly what you need going into a negotiation, but sometimes you need to do a bit more digging into understanding how each department actually utilizes the tool.
When you are going to buy it
Another common tactic Salesforce uses is to tell you that you cannot roll out licenses over the course of a three-year contract. Your rep will tell you that you need to buy them all up front now if you want to get a discount.
This ironically always works out in Salesforce’s favor as the added revenue from those dormant licenses makes up for the discount one rates. The truth is you can negotiate to roll out licenses at set periods of time throughout your negotiation.
In order to do this though, you need a clear roadmap and to create confidence with Salesforce that this is what you actually need and when you need it.
Why Is Building a Salesforce Roadmap So Important?
Before we dive into how to create this roadmap, let’s first dive into explaining why this roadmap is so important.
A roadmap is your best defense against divide and conquer
Remember the divide and conquer tactics we described in our guide on negotiating with Salesforce? We shared with you how Salesforce will make contact with multiple individuals and decision-makers throughout your organization.
Its goal with divide and conquer is to create conflicting stories which develop chaos in terms of what you actually need.
Creating your own Salesforce Roadmap helps you prevent against that.
When you create a roadmap and get buy-in from all your key stakeholders on that same roadmap, you create alignment within your organization. In addition to the roadmap, we are also going to give your internal stakeholders key talking points on what to say if Salesforce approaches them. It’s also important to know that timing is everything with regards to these key messages.
As a result of being aligned on talking points and what your organization actually needs, your organization begins to speak from one voice. Instead of having Salesforce gather conflicting stories from each department, they suddenly are left dumbfounded when they receive the same story from all contacts within the organization.
Flip-flopping your wants in the negotiation focuses the discussion on the wrong things
Whenever you don’t have your roadmap aligned, you spend your time in the negotiation with your rep going back and forth on how many licenses you need or what add-ons you do or don’t want.
Every time you go to your rep with a revision on your renewal because you and your team changed your mind, you are wasting a valuable chance to negotiate a key term or reduce your rates.
Without a roadmap, you will end up flip-flopping on what you want during the negotiation and spend your time focused on what licenses you are even going to buy instead of the price point or the terms. The entire negotiation gets focused on just figuring out what you need instead of getting you the best rates.
Your roadmap creates that clarity and alignment and lets you spend your time focused on getting you the best deal.
A lack of alignment undermines the key contact of the negotiation
Imagine for a moment that you are a Salesforce rep. You go into conversation with the Salesforce Admin who is your main point of contact in the negotiation. The Salesforce Admin request a 20% license count increase but is not interested in adding any new products or expanding their Salesforce footprint into any new departments.
Then two days later, your sales management team comes back from a basketball game with the CEO of your client organization. They tell you “we just met with the CEO, he wants to roll Salesforce out to his entire marketing department as well.”
As a Sales rep, you immediately jump to the conclusion that your Salesforce Admin is not the authority or decision-maker on this account. All respect you had for this Salesforce Admin’s decision-making ability has gone out the window.
As a result, that Sales rep treats the Salesforce Admin differently in the negotiation. He starts going around them and maximizing his divide and conquer tactics because he knows the Salesforce Admin is not in charge.
This is what happens when your organization is not aligned.
It undermines the individual who is the face of the negotiation. It doesn’t matter if it is a Salesforce Admin, CIO, or CFO.
Alignment and a roadmap gives power to the negotiator
Let us imagine another scenario for a moment here. Imagine that you are a Salesforce rep. You go into a conversation with your Salesforce Admin who is your main point of contact. The Salesforce Admin tells you they want to increase sales cloud licenses by 20% and consider a demo of Pardot in their marketing department.
Then two days later, your sales management team comes back from a basketball game with the client CEO. They tell you “we just met with the CEO, he wants to grow his licenses by 20% and is considering expanding Pardot into their marketing department.”
As a Sales Rep, you just heard consistency.
You heard that your Salesforce Admin is aligned with the CEO.
You heard that your Salesforce Admin is actually in charge of this negotiation.
When you have organizational alignment on your roadmap, it gives power to whoever is running your Salesforce Negotiation. It doesn’t matter of it is the Director of IT, CIO, or CFO. Whenever you have that alignment of stories, it gives that person in the negotiating seat power to drive the negotiation on their own.
When to Create your Salesforce Roadmap
We typically recommend companies start building their roadmap six to nine months prior to their negotiation. You are going to want at least three months to handle the actual negotiation with Salesforce so a six month runway gives you an additional three months to get that internal alignment.
Each organization is different, but that internal alignment won’t happen overnight. Give yourself some time to meet with all key stakeholders and achieve that internal alignment.
Three Steps to Creating your Salesforce Roadmap
A Salesforce Roadmap is not complicated. It is a simple table of “what you need” and “when you need it” over the next three to five years.
Even though most Salesforce renewals are only three years, it is helpful to plan five years in advance so you can think of a bigger picture of what may be coming down the line. This helps you in creating an aligned story for Salesforce at your renewal.
Step 1) Create a rough draft alone
If you are reading this, chances are you are the one who is driving the Salesforce negotiation. You have extensive knowledge of Salesforce and can probably fill out 80% of the roadmap on your own.
The key in this step is to document all of your ideas for the roadmap on paper.
You don’t want to go to your key stakeholders with a blank slate and build the roadmap from scratch together. That is not a good use of their time, and it is going to create too much debate.
By crystallizing your thoughts about Salesforce into a rough draft of the roadmap, you can share that document with others. It becomes a starting point for the entire roadmap discussion.
Step 2) Take the rough draft to key stakeholders for feedback
This rough draft of the roadmap is purely for internal use. Once you have this rough draft complete you are going to present this document, typically in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, to your key stakeholders within the organization.
This may be your CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, VP of Sales, Director of IT, Salesforce Admin, Sales Management Team, etc.
You are going to take this roadmap to them and say “This is what I believe our 3-5 year Salesforce roadmap looks like...what feedback do you have?”
As you go into these meetings you may find yourself saying, “I have an idea here but I don’t know exactly what X department needs.” This roadmap and these conversations are meant to help you refine the roadmap and clarify those needs with each department in the organization.
What is great about this step of the process is that this allows your team to have internal dialogues about what you need with Salesforce. Without doing this internal roadmap, these contacts would not be brought into the conversation until a contact from Salesforce had reached out to them.
Instead of letting Salesforce guide these conversations, you are getting in front of them and taking charge. This helps you own and drive the conversation.
Step 3) Gather all feedback and refine your roadmap
Once you have gathered alignment from each of your key stakeholders on the roadmap, you are going to want to take some time to sit down and refine that roadmap into a final polished version.
At this point, you are almost ready for entering the negotiation. But before that we need to build a communication strategy and negotiation plan.
Lastly, it's also important to realize that a Salesforce Roadmap is essential for SELA Agreements (Salesforce Enterprise License agreements). Read our guide for more details on how to renegotiate your SELA Agreement.
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