A go-to-market strategy is a solid plan to define your business.
Without proper planning, it is hardly possible to achieve effective marketing. You will never know if you are chasing the wrong audience or targeting a market that is too saturated.
Obviously, you can’t afford to waste time and resources on an unprofitable strategy or product.
To avoid such hangups and disastrous hitches, you must create an actionable, effective, and thoughtful go-to-market plan.
When properly executed, a go-to-market strategy will help align each stakeholder to your business goals. It will establish a perfect timeline that ensures every stakeholder meets the desired outcomes and milestones, creating a brighter path to market success.
Let’s see what a go-to-market strategy looks like, how it benefits a product-based business and some examples.
What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is a step-by-step plan that tells how a company should act to reach target customers and achieve goals. A good go-to-market strategy identifies your target audience, includes a superb marketing plan, and outlines a sales strategy.
Whether you launch a new product or expand an existing product into a new market, a go-to-market strategy is an effective technique. It will help you answer the following important questions and sets your initiative up for your success:
What type of product are you going to sell, and what unique problem can your product solve?
Who is your target customer, and what advantages do they get with your product?
Where will you sell the product?
What markets do you want to target, and what do the competition and demand look like in the same market?
How will you reach the target customers to create demand?
Creating an effective go-to-market strategy helps you consider important points to avoid costly mistakes, including launching your product in the wrong market, to the wrong audience, etc.
In simple terms, a go-to-market strategy is how the company brings a new product to market. It is worth noting that the strategy isn’t exclusive to physical products. You can build a go-to-market plan for a new branch of the company, a new service, or even a new business.
Types of Go-to-Market Strategies
There are two types of go-to-market strategy:
Product-Led Go-To-Market Strategy: This strategy uses the product to acquire and retain customers. In this approach, the product provides much value to the user so that a user can’t help but upgrade their existing package. For example, Slack and Calendly use product-led go-to-market strategies.
Sales-Led Go-To-Market Strategy: This strategy uses marketing to grow the interest in a product by capturing it in content or demo forms. Next, salespeople reach out to prospects willing to convert into customers. For example, many B2B SaaS companies use this strategy.
Next, let’s explore the need for a go-to-market strategy.
When Do You Need a Go-To-Market Strategy?
Whenever you bring a new product or service to the market or an existing product to a new location, you need an effective go-to-market strategy. This includes:
Launching your latest idea (product) in your existing market. For example, an established fashion brand launching a line of apparel products.
Bringing your existing product to the new market. For example, a local lifestyle brand is expanding into another state.
Testing your new product in the new market. For example, a startup business is launching its first application for trial.
Even large companies need a strategy when prioritizing a new product launch or business expansion. This is due to the frequent change in competition and market forces. Even if you used a strategy a year ago might not work in your current product launch.
Benefits of a Go-to-Market Strategy
A go-to-market strategy describes a company’s steps to succeed in today’s competitive world. It has many benefits. Let’s check out some of them:
Provides a clearly defined direction for stakeholders and helps them stick to the plan
Reduces the extra costs generated by failed services or product launches
Improves the ability of a company to react to the customer’s desires immediately
It can help you deal with certain challenges
Shows an established path to growth
Now, let’s discuss the major components of a go-to-market strategy.
Components of a Go-to-Market Strategy
An effective B2B go-to-market strategy is tailored to the target customers and other elements, such as market positioning, pricing strategies, digital marketing tactics, partnership development, sales enablement, and more.
It is also preferable to adapt to changing marketing conditions and customer preferences. While the level of detail and complexity can vary, here are some components you should include in your go-to-market documentation.
#1. Target Audience
The primary foundation of your marketing strategy, on which your business relies, is your target audience. Knowing who is your potential customers, including geographic, psychographic, demographic, and other identifying characteristics, you can easily narrow your approach.
#2. Market Demand and Competition
Understanding the competition and demand in the marketplace for a new product, business, or service launch is crucial. You need to ask the following questions to research the same:
Is the market oversaturated already? Is there any significant demand for the product or services that you are planning?
Who are the essential players in the market you want to enter? With whom are you competing?
You will tailor your approach after perfect market research based on these questions. This signifies how different you are from others.
#3. Specialized Content and Messaging
Content and messaging are opportunities for you to stand out in the market in today’s digital world. Messaging involves what your customer expects from your product.
Tailored content for the new product launch includes a description of what product you are launching, its value, and the problem it can solve.
#4. Sales and Distribution
Your go-to-market strategy intertwines with distribution and sales methods as well. You need to determine a selling strategy and pricing strategy. Both will depend on the target customers and market. It also depends on how you wish to position your business, product, or service.
How to Build a Go-to-Market Strategy?
Even if you use the most well-designed or innovative product or service, a single mistake in marketing can ruin everything. For this reason, you need a powerful go-to-market strategy. Let’s find out:
#1. Identify the Buying Personas and Center
The first thing to do while preparing your product for a launch is to consider your customer. The buying group involves 6 to 10 decision-makers, also known as buying center, and typically fills the following roles:
Initiator: Shows initial interest and starts the buying process
User: Uses your product regularly
Influencer: Convinces other groups or individuals about the product
Decision Maker: Gives final approval to buy the product
Buyer: Owns a specific budget
Approver: Pushes the initiative
Gatekeeper: Implements the product first and approves
These roles may vary according to the product’s nature and need. Thus, you need to research each role to get a general idea of what they do, their goals, and their pain points.
#2. Craft a Value Matrix to Help Identify Messaging
The next step you need to do is to map out the value matrix, which is a breakdown of every buying center, their problem, and how your product adds value to their problems.
This also includes a marketing message that ties the problem and solution. You can create a chart with each person’s details and pain points. Check whether your product can ease or solve any of the problems.
#3. Test Your Messaging
Once you are ready with your value matrix, it is time to check out your messaging. You can start advertising on the marketing platforms using the messages you created for your audience members.
There are only three variables to test:
The channel where you want to advertise on
The audience you want to show your advertisement to
The message you share on different platforms
Before deciding where to test, first check where all your audience is. The possible paid ad channels are Google Ads, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Test different channels and continue to advertise on those that show high conversions.
#4. Optimize Your Ads Based on the Results
You need to optimize your advertisement based on the results of the test before implementing those results on a wide scale.
Some ad platforms have high audience settings for the advertisers, such as LinkedIn, offering job titles, company sizes, job functions, and geographic locations. Test different options to understand what works best for you.
You also need to test your message to check which versions attract most of your audience. The conversion and engagement rates of your ads indicate which value and pain points work best. Once you have the data, you can base larger campaigns on these insights.
#5. Understand the Buyer’s Journey
Dig deeper to understand your potential customer’s journey from the buyers’ and company’s perspectives. From the customer’s perspective, buying any product is linear. It will go like this:
The buyer realizes the problem and researches the topic
They shortlist some potential solutions
That list is narrowed down through a conversation with the sales teams from the solution provider by testing the product’s use cases until a valid decision is made
The buyer’s journey, from the perspective of the companies, used to be like a funnel. In a traditional sales funnel, you will find general interest at the top. Gradually, it narrows down as the opportunities fall out of the funnel.
The journey is divided into three sections:
Top of the funnel (Attention: Checklists, sort videos, white paper)
Middle of the funnel (Consideration: Case studies, webinars demo, ebooks, tutorials)
Bottom of the funnel (Decision: Proposals, quote, sale, trial, videos/reference calls)
Recently, flywheel methodology has been used, where you put your customers at the center and turn your leads from the audience to customers and active promoters. In the flywheel model, each customer goes through three stages, i.e., attract, engage, and delight.
#6. Create a Sales Plan
The goal is to sell the product, so it is important to decide how to sell to your customers. Your sales strategy has four models to fit your product and business model. They are as follows:
Self-Service Model: Customers purchase the products on their own. This is a common process for e-commerce where customers buy products online by searching directly on the internet. Although you don’t need any dedicated sales team, you require marketing to drive traffic to the e-commerce website.
Inside Sales Model: Your sales team keeps a record of prospective customers to convince them to purchase your product. This model is a good option for medium-price products.
Field Sales Model: Salespeople focus on large company deals. In this model, you require more investment and a longer sales cycle with a big payoff. For example, you can use this model to sell product management software to big enterprises.
Channel Model: In this model, you require an external partner to sell your product. It is the cheapest option as you don’t need to think of marketing part. But it is important to check whether your partner company sells similar products with similar interests. For example, if you started a business selling cereals, you could be a partner with a grocery chain.
#7. Build Brand Awareness
Now, you need to snag the attention of your audience. This will happen through demand generation, which can occur with inbound and outbound strategies.
Inbound Strategies: Prospects discover your business through marketing efforts and show signs of interest or reach out to you directly. Examples: Content, social media, or paid ads.
Outbound Demand Generation: A salesperson contacts the lead using cold outreach tactics. The salesperson can do this by reaching out to the contact list, phone leads, gathering leads at industry conferences, or warm emails.
Once you know the interest of your audience, you can start sales conversations, so leads get more educational content rather than digging into the sales funnel.
#8. Create Content
Inbound leads are easier to convert. Since inbound leads are already learned about the business problem you solve, are aware of the benefit, and are more interested in buying the product, it is cheaper to acquire.
Content marketing is the key to generating inbound interest. This is why your content marketing team drives the inbound traffic by placing targeting keywords in the place that your customers would search for. They create and post relevant and related content on the website.
For effective content marketing, you need keyword research, content research, content creation, design, promotion, building links, and conversion rates.
#9. Optimize Your Pipeline
Growth requires picking a perfect sales strategy and building a strong demand-generation process. Sales are generally a number game. If you can measure progress, you can be successful.
It is important to optimize the conversion rate between the stages. This will tell you where you need to improve.
#10. Analyze and Shorten Your Sales Cycle
You need to track how long is your sales cycle. The sales cycle is the amount of time it takes for the opportunity to enter your sales funnel and change to a win situation. The primary goal is to shorten the conversion between the stages.
This can only be done by iterating ways to remove common objections before they happen, doing lead nurturing, and brainstorming to find the best-fit customers.
#11. Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs
As the owner of your business, you need to optimize the customer acquisition cost. This may seem expensive initially, but you can start reducing this cost by optimizing the processes with time.
Customer acquisition means how much it costs to add a new customer. The lower the customer acquisition cost, the higher the profit you get per customer.
#12. Adjust and Adapt to Changes
You must be strategic to continue or improve your product in the market. Return to your previously built plan areas, check which plan is not working, and change that plan. Brainstorm your ways to expand more in the market.
#13. Retain Your Customers
This is the last step you need to follow to sustain yourself in the market for a long time. You need to focus on maintaining a good customer relationship by spreading good word-of-mouth. In this phase, you can use the flywheel strategy instead of the funnel.
Examples of Go-to-Market Strategy
Many large enterprises trigger their go-to-market model in such a way that their products and services are still a discussion part among customers. They are:
Start adding up all the costs involved in bringing a product to the market and set up your profit margin on top of the previously calculated costs to decide the product’s cost.
How to measure success for a go-to-market strategy?
To measure the success, you can use pipeline coverage, sales team performance, lead conversion rates, marketing and sales budget, days sales outstanding ratio, and sales team tenure.
Bringing a product to the market is a competitive task that includes a big investment. You can set your next move of success with a solid go-to-market strategy by understanding your audience and their pain points and personas while aligning your goals and processes.
The above-discussed steps will help you craft an excellent go-to-market strategy for your business, product, or service and witness the improvement yourself.
Durga Prasad Acharya is a Freelance Technical Writer who loves writing on emerging technologies, such as AI & ML, Cybersecurity, Web Hosting, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and more. Besides writing, he’s a web designer and is passionate about… read more
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