What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy should identify a market problem and position the product as a solution.
GTM Strategy is a roadmap that measures the viability of a solution's success and predicts it's performance based on market research including, but not limited to:
- Customer needs
- including pain points solved and applications for our product
- what prospects are willing to pay for a solution to these problems
- Market landscape and sizing
- ROI Analysis
- Business case
- Prior examples of related product launches
- Competitive data
- Target Verticals and Personas
- Positioning and Messaging
- Marketing channels to get message out there
- Content, to answer questions, drive deamand, and prove value
- Sales Channels
Why Do We Need Go-to-Market Strategy?
A Go-to-Market strategy can prevent expensive mistakes like poor market fit, over-saturation, wrong features, no market (customers), ineffective messaging and positioning. It's possible to use data such as customer needs, competitive analysis, similiar product launches to help determine if this will be a winning solution before we go to huge expense of developing a new product.
An old trick that helps with how we look at positioning for new products, is to ask ourselves this question: "If I segment the market enough, can our product be the market leader at something?" Meaning, if our product can't be the best at solving some pain point for our target customers, then it probably won't be a big winner; And perhaps we should keep looking at that before bringing the product to market.
Defining our Ideal Customer Profile
A good GTM strategy generally identifies a target audience, includes a marketing plan, and outlines a sales strategy. Specifically, we need a step-by-step plan of how we will enter the market, position the product for our ideal customer profile (ICP), and for how we will message to every buyer persona in our target ICP or vertical. Further, we need to include how we will get the message to those personas and what sales vehicle we will use.
Start with Minimum Viable Product, then Iterate
Once we launch into development, we have to keep working with the customer on their requirements "to tapeout and beyond" to insure we have market fit and customers to buy the product.
Likewise with bringing the product to Market. Even after we launch into the market, we need to keep researching and improving the Go-to-Market Strategy over time to match evolving customer and market needs.
What is the Danger If We Skip the Go-to-Market Strategy?
Go-To-Market Plan Methodologies
The Components of a GTM Strategy
- Research to achieve Product Market Fit: What are the three most important pain points that our product solves, by vertical and persona?
- Target Audience: Identify your buying center and your buyer persona(s) and the pain point we solve for each, what is their win? What would they pay for the solution to this problem?
- Competition and Demand: Look at competition, what pain points they solve and is the market saturated? Or can we position against them with some better solution or segment to be the leader?
- Messaging: How will we message each personas "win" to them? Run tests for effectiveness of messaging.
- Define and build your content and lead-gen strategy. Inbound content with SEO draws people in when they are searching for a solution to their pain point, outbound creates more black-listed email addresses, but can be effective if done in a very targeted way. Build brand awareness and demand quickly using a mix of both.
- Define your distribution strategy. How will you sell your product? A website, an app, or a third-party distributor, direct sales force, inside (cheaper), field sales?
- Retain and delight your customers with offerings that give them quick time-to-value on the product continuously.
- Use best practices to optimize your pipeline and increase conversion rates.
- Measure performance in all areas, adjust, and iterate.
- Analyze and shorten the sales cycle
- Reduce customer acquisition cost
- Strategize ways to tap into your existing customer base
1. Identify Personas and their "Wins"
- Coach: Starts the buying process or shows initial interest, helps us navigate the complex sale,
- User: Uses your product regularly
- Technical Buyer: Convinces others the product is needed to solve a specified problem
- Financial Buyer: Owns the budget
- Approver: Final approver who pushes the initiative on a larger scale (typically someone in the C-suite)
- Gatekeeper: Blocks cold contact attempts due to too many people approaching in a scattergun method
2. Create a "value matrix" to help identify messaging
3. Test your messaging
Three variables to test: the channel you advertise on, the audience you target, and the message you share
4. Optimize ads based on test results, then implement wide-scale
5. Understand your buyer’s journey
- Proof of ROI, often answered by proof of cost-benefit analysis report or a third-party research report
- Competitive checklist to answer why our solution and not our competitor's, because our product functionality checks the boxes that are important to them.
- Weekly Jumpstart Webinar Series to see the software and ask questions about how they would use it, does it coexist with other software they use, does it have features to solve their specific problems, and so they become familiar with your product and if it is right for them.
- Customer Testamonials showin who else in their vertical is using the product and what success they are having with it.
- Resources such as "how to" blog articles or videos that show exactly how the product solves their pain points
- Free software demo so they start using and loving the solution
- Finally a one-on-one sales demo to answer more questions at which point they turn into a sales qualified lead (SQL)
6. Build brand awareness and demand with inbound and / or outbound methods
What goes into content marketing? It’s a cycle of keyword research, creation, and measurement