Go-To-Market Strategy: Process, Implementation, Examples
An effective go-to-market strategy is critical for any business launching a new product or an existing product in a new market.
The GTM strategy outlines the many moving pieces of bringing a product to market, including information about the target audience, the marketing strategies to be implemented, and the sales strategies that will be used to sell it.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the go-to-market strategy, including when to design one and what to include.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is Go-To-Market Strategy and What Does It Mean?
- When Do You Need a Go-To-Market Strategy?
- What to Include in Your Go-To-Market Plan
- Who is Responsible for Go-To-Market?
What is Go-To-Market Strategy and What Does it Mean?
A go-to-market strategy is a playbook that outlines the specific things marketing and sales teams need to execute in order to successfully launch a product to market.
The go-to-market strategy should address a number of factors, plans, and strategies, including:
- The market problem, and your product’s positioning as the solution to that problem
- The target audience and their pain points
- Marketing and sales plans, with timing being a specific decision factor
- The state of the market you’re planning to enter
The GTM strategy should demonstrate a strong value proposition and unique positioning among the competition. Ideally, the GTM is designed in a way that enhances the buyer’s experience.
In sum, the go-to-market strategy addresses three questions:
- Who is the customer?
- What is our offering?
- How can we reach the customer with the product in a scalable, repeatable way?
When Do You Need a Go-To-Market Strategy?
The GTM strategy, first and foremost, needs to address whether or not there is a need for your product — most startups fail because they realize too late that there is no room for their offering in the market.
Any time your team launches a new product or launches an existing product into a new market, you should develop a go-to-market strategy. Defining the need is the first and most important step of the process.
There are other times, too, that warrant a GTM strategy. The inefficiencies outlined next may be less defined, and perhaps harder to pinpoint than the launch of a new product, but still all indicate the need for a go-to-market planning session.
Reduce Time to Market
Time to market (TTM) represents the amount of time it takes for a company to bring a new product from the point of conceptualization to its first release into the market.
Shorter TTMs have been shown to cost fewer overall resources, offer a significant competitive advantage, and generate more revenue over time.
A solid GTM strategy will help your sales team orchestrate an efficient and profitable product launch.
Save Costs After Too Many Failed Products
Launching new products can be an expensive endeavor for teams that aren’t mindful of how they plan. Unfortunately, many businesses have first-hand experience in this — over 95% of new product launches fail.
If your team isn’t new to launching products, but yet still struggles to come out ahead, a GTM strategy can help.
The GTM strategy will ensure that product-market fit, strategic messaging, pricing strategy, and target audience are all given the green light before your product hits the shelves.
Provide a Positive Customer Experience
Even for companies who do take initiative in creating a GTM strategy, finding the right approach can be a challenge.
Here’s the secret: align your go-to-market strategy with the buyer’s journey.
For a top-tier GTM strategy, design your content marketing plan — including mapping out the marketing channels and social media platforms you’ll use — around the needs, values, and pain points of your ideal customer.
What to Include in Your Go-To-Market Plan
The way in which your team designs and executes your go-to-market plan will be unique to the business plans, strengths, and goals of your specific organization.
That being said, there are some basic frameworks that can effectively guide you through the process of creating your own. Here’s one example in flow-chart form:
The following are some things that any GTM strategy should include.
When you measure product-market fit, you’re essentially gauging whether there’s a need and room for your product in the market.
In other words, the PMF is designed to show how well a product fills a need in a market and how likely the sales team is to be successful in selling it. Every GTM strategy needs to validate PMF before anything else.
Another core component of the GTM strategy is defining the target market. Your sales and marketing teams should work together to create detailed Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs), and buyer personas for each decision-maker in their target accounts.
You’ll want to flesh out who exactly your buyers are, their pain points, and how much they’re willing to spend on a solution.
Of note, Gartner reports that the average B2B buying group includes six to ten decision-makers — be sure to create buyer personas for each.
A thorough GTM strategy should also include a competitive analysis that defines your unique selling proposition. This will help your salespeople define their messaging and communicate with potential customers in a way that helps you stand out.
One way to address this component is by creating sales battle cards, such as the one shown in the template below.
Sales reps can use these throughout the sales process to effectively connect with and persuade target customers.Find what content worksView attachment opens & page-by-page breakdowns
You’ll also want to use the GTM strategy as a way to highlight the level of demand for your product.
Note that the “demand” piece is different from “demand generation.” Demand generation describes how you plan to attract inbound sales; demand refers to how big of a need exists vs. how much supply is currently available.
The level of demand will help your team determine whether you have a viable business case for your product.
Your GTM strategy needs to also discuss how you plan to distribute your product and offer customer support.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a sales-specific job. But it’s important that everyone from marketing to sales to the customer support team are informed of each of the steps in the chain of the go-to-market strategy.
It’s also worthwhile to include your most recent sales metrics and KPIs, as well as your future goals.
While these stats don’t necessarily have any bearing on the tangible strategies you’ll use to launch your product, it’s important to keep in the back of your mind where your performance currently stands, and where you’re hoping to end up.
Branding and Messaging
According to a 2019 Edelman study, over 80% of consumers said they need to trust the brand from which they make a purchase.
One way to earn this kind of trust is through rock-solid branding and well-refined messaging. A value matrix can help add structure to the process of defining your position.
Remember, too, to test and track how effectively your various message points resonate with your buyers.
Perhaps the star of the GTM strategy show, your marketing and sales strategies will make up a large bulk of the actual document.
In it, your teams should outline strategies for all of the following:
- Lead generation
- Demand generation
- Content marketing
- Pipeline optimization
- Sales channels
- Shortening the sales cycle
- Reducing customer acquisition cost
- Tapping into your existing customer base
- Onboarding new customers
Depending on your team’s goals for the product launch, you may address additional strategies, as well.
Who Is Responsible for Go-To-Market?
In general, the product marketer is responsible for heading up the development of the GTM strategy. For some sales teams, this may be a new role.
The responsibilities of the product marketer may be familiar, even if the job title isn’t. They hold a number of other responsibilities within the sales and marketing departments.
Although the product marketer takes the lead, it’s still important that sales and marketing are fully involved in the process of creating the GTM strategy. This document is best addressed collaboratively — this will ensure the highest likelihood of customer success.
Sales and marketing alignment is key here.
What does your GTM strategy look like? Have you designed one before? Try following the framework outlined in this article the next time you gear up to launch a new product.
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