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So What’s Wrong With Your Sales Ops Roadmap?

We recently conducted a live webinar for Playbook subscribers entitled, “Developing a Winning Roadmap for Sales Operations“. As the title would suggest, this webinar (now available on-demand) was all about creating an effective plan for generating more significant results and taking your Sales Ops function to a much higher level of strategic contribution.

Along the way, of course, we exposed some of the common mistakes that can derail a roadmapping exercise to the point where it ultimately fails to produce the desired result. Here’s one of the most damaging:

Focusing too much attention on the form, rather than the substance.

In other words, roadmapping efforts can go off the rails when the planning team focuses too heavily on the process and documentation—i.e. developing color-coded Gantt charts, nailing down precise timelines and milestones dates, outlining details and establishing ownership for each and every anticipated action, etc.

I realize this probably seems counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t the whole point of a roadmapping exercise to produce a roadmap? And won’t all of that detail enhance the quality and efficacy of the resulting roadmap?

To answer those questions, let me ask another: If you’re in Chicago and you need to drive to Las Vegas, does it help to have an incredibly detailed, color-coded, and topographically-accurate map of Florida?

In the webinar, we reinforced the point by highlighting two real-world examples…

In one case, the team had developed a roadmap that impressed virtually everyone who saw it. Covering an entire year, this roadmap documented a whole host of actions, owners, dates, and milestones, all in exquisite detail. With this roadmap in hand, there could be absolutely no question as to what would get done, how it would get done, and when it would get done.

But after a year of relentless execution, this team failed to generate anything of note in terms of improved results. Why? Because the roadmap had been focused on things that really couldn’t move the needle, no matter how effectively those things were executed.

In sharp contrast, another team spent an entire month considering the options and evaluating the possibilities before producing their roadmap. To some, applying the term “roadmap” to this team’s outputs might seem generous because their “plan” was nothing more than a PowerPoint slide with a handful of bullet points. As for timelines and milestones, this team simply established a weekly cadence around making progress toward each of the bulleted items.

And through this constant drumbeat for progress against a small set of bullet points, this team was able to produce significant performance improvements in relatively short order. Why?

Because that set of bullet points…that small handful of strategic initiatives the team had labored for a solid month just to identify…was so powerful and so meaningful that steady progress…no matter how ad-hoc or haphazard…couldn’t help but move the needle in a big, big way.

Always remember that effective roadmapping is not actually about the roadmap itself. Rather, it’s about the destination the roadmap is guiding you toward.

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