Launching a new product without an effective go-to-market strategy is the last thing you want to do.

Unless you have a solid plan, you won’t know if you are launching your product too early, too late, or in a market too saturated with similar solutions. So, please don’t run the risk of wasting time and resources on an unprofitable launch.

A thoughtful, actionable, and effective go-to-market plan will help you avoid those potentially disastrous snags and hang-ups. Unfortunately, that process is typically anything but straightforward.

In this article, I’m going to give you everything you need to know to build an effective GTM strategy. Starting a business, running a B2B business, or launching a new venture can all be aided by this guide.

Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy

Go-to-market (GTM) strategies outline a step-by-step process for successfully launching a product. GTM strategies identify a target audience, including a marketing plan, and outline a sales strategy. Although each product and market are different, an effective GTM strategy identifies a market problem and positions the product as a solution.

It is the process of bringing a product to market that is referred to as a GTM strategy. Using market research, previous examples, and competitive intelligence, it measures the viability of a solution and predicts its performance.

It’s also important to note that go-to-market strategies aren’t limited to physical products. A GTM plan can be created for a new service, a new branch of your company, or even a brand new business venture.

What is the purpose of a go-to-market strategy?

When ideas aren’t executed well, they can fail – 90% of startups burn out within their first year, despite their brightest potential.

New product launches can suffer from many mistakes and oversights if a go-to-market plan is not in place. Despite a well-designed and innovative product, oversaturation and poor product-market fit can derail a launch.

A go-to-market strategy won’t guarantee your product will succeed, but it will help you manage expectations and iron out any kinks before investing in bringing it to market.

A GTM Strategy Has Four Components

All of these points are explained in the step-by-step guide below, so you don’t have to answer them now. Nevertheless, they’re useful to keep in mind when creating a never-before-seen product.

There are four critical components of a go-to-market strategy:

  • The product-market fit: What are the problems that the product solves?
  • What is the problem that your product solves? Who are the target audiences? What are their pricing preferences? How can you relieve their frustrations?
  • Competition and demand: Does anyone else offer what you’re offering? Is the market oversaturated or does the product have demand?
  • Distribution: How will the product or service be distributed? Online, via an app, or through a third-party distributor?

Let’s get started now. A step-by-step guide to building your GTM strategy using the tactics you’ve used to build multiple companies throughout the years is below.

How to Build a Go-to-Market Strategy?

1. Identify the buyer’s center and personas.

If you want to prepare your product for the market, the first thing you should do is think about your customers.

Gartner reports that the typical purchasing group for a complex B2B solution consists of six to ten decision-makers each day. “Buying centers” are made up of these individuals.

There are typically four types of buyers (though some job titles may cover more than one role):

  • An initiator is someone who initiates a buying process or shows interest in buying
  • Customer: Uses your product regularly
  • Influencer: A person who convinces others that the product is necessary
  • Final decision maker: Approves the purchase
  • Purchaser: Owns the budget
  • Approver: Final approver who takes the initiative to a large scale (typically someone in the C-Suite).
  • Gatekeepers: People who block the implementation or approval of a product

 

You’ll need different roles depending on the product, the industry, and the vertical you’re in. Get your team together and brainstorm the different job titles that your solution could affect.

Find out what each role does, what their goals are, and what their pain points are. The key to putting your product on the map is to learn who these people are, what motivates them, and what their problems are.

2. Develop a value matrix to help identify messaging.

In a value matrix, you describe how your product solves the problems of each buying center persona. An appropriate marketing message will also be included in the value matrix to tie the problem and solution together.

Make a chart with each persona in a separate column. List the pain points they face daily and in the body of each persona. The message must also capture the value and pain points in a meaningful way. By agitating the pain points, this can be accomplished. A painkiller can cure a headache, but a daily vitamin is less likely to prevent pain from occurring in the first place. It is important that your product solves the problem, not act as a vitamin.

3. Test your message.

The next step is to test your messaging once your value matrix is in place. Make use of the messages you’ve just created to advertise on marketing platforms. There are three variables you will need to test: the channel you advertise on, the target audience you are targeting, and the message you share. The first thing to consider is where your audience is. Examples of paid digital ad channels include LinkedIn, Google Ads, Facebook, and Twitter. Identify which channels deliver the best results and continue advertising there. Avoid investing in channels that do not convert well.

4. Test your ads and optimize them before implementing them on a large scale based on the results.

The next step is to optimize your audience. Certain advertising platforms allow advertisers to target specific audiences. LinkedIn offers options for job titles, job functions, company sizes, and geographical locations, for example. Experiment with different options to find out who clicks or converts more frequently.

As you test your message, you’ll see which versions resonate most with your audience. You will be able to determine the best value propositions and pain points based on your engagement and conversion rates.

Based on these successful insights, you can design your larger campaigns.

5. Identify your customer’s journey.

Having created your buyer personas and value matrix, investigate the journey a potential customer will take, both from the buyer’s and your company’s perspectives.

According to your customer, the buying process is linear. They recognize a problem in their business and research the solution.

Historically, the customer’s journey was viewed as a funnel from the perspective of the business. The top of the traditional sales funnel is dominated by general interest. As opportunities disappear, it gradually narrows.

There were three sections to this journey:

Your buyer’s journey is no longer best understood through the sales funnel. According to the flywheel model, customers go through three stages: attract, engage, and delight.

The attract phase begins first. At this stage, content grabs the attention of potential customers. Blogs, whitepapers, and videos can be used as examples. Leads arrive here by clicking on an advertisement, social media post, or search engine result. Despite these behaviors, this lead does not appear to be ready to make a purchase.

Then comes the engage phase. In this stage, the prospect has demonstrated that your product can solve their problem. You can engage them with educational content through digital behavior such as downloading an eBook or joining a webinar.

Every company divides the lead generation and qualification process differently, but marketing is typically responsible for the attract and engage phases. Through messaging and content, your marketing team will need to generate interest and educate the relevant audience in regards to the benefits of the product (more on that later).

The prospect should request a quote or a trial period halfway through the engage phase. They’re considering their options.

The sales team assumes control once the prospect reaches this stage.

Contact: The sales representative and the lead communicate.

Qualification: A sales representative learns more about the company and its problems and asks questions to determine whether they qualify to purchase the product (BANT is a popular sales qualification method, but there are many other sales methods).

Business case: The prospect tests the product with a free trial or proof of concept to see if it meets their needs.

Evaluation: The decision-makers weigh the costs of the product against the results achieved in the business case.

Negotiation: Sales representatives and decision-makers discuss pricing details and features.

Close: Your prospect becomes your customer when a deal is reached.

Renewal (Optional): Customers renew their subscriptions.

A lead enters the delight phase as soon as the sales representative closes the sale. At this point, your customer should experience a painless onboarding process and friendly customer service.

It is ideal for your customer to become a promoter after that. By bringing you more customers, you keep the flywheel spinning and can grow better.

6. Pick one (or more) of the four most common sales strategies.

Having done all the necessary groundwork, you need to choose a strategy that will propel your product into the market. It’s important to consider your complexity, scalability, and cost when choosing a marketing strategy.

Every product and business model has its own unique go-to-market strategy.

The Self-Service model

When a customer buys on their own, they are using the self-service model. This model is typically seen with B2C purchases in which a customer can find and buy a product through a website, such as Netflix or Amazon.

In general, this strategy works best with simple products with a low price point and a high volume of sales. When successful, it has a short sales cycle, no need to hire salespeople, and is highly profitable.

To drive traffic and conversions to your site, you will need a marketing team rather than a sales team. There will likely be growth marketing, performance marketing, and content marketing experts on the marketing team, though there might be others as well.

The Inside Sales Business Model

When a prospect needs to be nurtured by a sales rep to become a customer, this is an inside sales business model. A model of this type works best with a product of moderate complexity and price.

Within a few weeks to a few months, the sales cycle occurs. Sales teams are more expensive here, but inside sales reps are less costly.

It is relatively easy to build and scale this model as you hire more employees with a high volume of sales. The sales team in this model is usually made up of a sales manager and a few sales representatives.

The Field Sales Business Model

A field sales organization closes large enterprise deals when you have a full sales organization. As a result, these products tend to be complex and high-priced, resulting in a low volume of deals and a long sales cycle.

The sales team in this model is often expensive due to the high salaries and experience of the field reps. Scaling this model is difficult because it takes time and money to hire and train a full sales team.

Sales operations are comprised of sales managers, field representatives, sales engineers, and sales development representatives (SDR) teams.

The Channel Model

In the channel model, your product is sold by an outside agency or partner. Recruiting and educating people about the benefits of your product can be challenging. Additionally, they are often less motivated to sell than your own sales team.

Nevertheless, this is a low-cost model because you don’t need your own sales team. Ideally, the product should match the partner’s interests. You might want to find partners who sell similar products, such as Best Buy or Apple if you sell phone cases.

These strategies can be mixed and matched depending on the industry or the size of the customer (i.e., number of licenses or seats). It’s healthier to scale over time rather than invest in an expensive sales team too early in a startup.

7. Using inbound and/or outbound methods to raise brand awareness and demand.

Fill your pipeline now by grabbing the attention of your target audience. Inbound and outbound strategies can be used to generate demand.

A prospect discovers your brand through marketing efforts and reaches out to you or shows some interest organically. Social media, content, and paid ads are some examples of organic inbound traffic channels.

Outbound demand generation involves salespeople reaching out to leads through cold outreach. They may reach out to a contact list, send warm emails, phone leads, or gather leads at industry conferences.

The leads are then led to more educational content and into the sales funnel once they have expressed interest through these methods.

8. Generate inbound leads by creating content.

Outbound leads are more expensive and difficult to convert than inbound leads. Inbound leads are already aware of your product and at least partially educated on the problem you solve. Additionally, they are usually more interested in buying your product.

Content marketing drives traffic to your website and generates that inbound interest.

Inbound traffic to your website is generated by finding and targeting keywords your potential customers may search for and then posting relevant content on your website.

It is the process by which a search engine ranks content on the web once a search query is entered in the search bar that is at the core of content marketing. Content marketing will drive organic traffic to your website.

Content marketing consists of what? Researching keywords, creating content, and measuring the results.

  • Keyword research: Determine which keywords are relevant to your product, analyze search volume (how often the keyword is searched) and ranking difficulty (i.e., how competitive the keyword is), and determine which websites already rank for the keyword.
  • Content research: Identify content topics related to the keyword. Plan your content calendar by looking at the existing articles on these topics.
  • Content creation: Have a writer write articles on those topics based on your ideas.
  • Design: Include relevant images, infographics, videos, and other multimedia in your content to make it more visually appealing.
  • Promote: Share your content and drive traffic to your website by sharing the links via social media or e-mails to your customers.
  • Build links: Request links from other publishers to your content to increase traffic. This increases your site’s authority, which is helpful for SEO.
  • Conversion rate: Monitor your content’s engagement and conversion rates. Don’t waste your time on things that don’t convert well. Continue creating content from there.

Throughout the buyer’s journey (top-of-the-funnel, middle-of-the-funnel, bottom-of-the-funnel), your content team should develop relevant content.

Bottom-of-funnel content is geared toward those who are ready to buy and implement, while top-of-funnel content is light and educational.

9. Improve your conversion rate by optimizing your pipeline.

You need more than a sales strategy and a demand generation process to grow your business. Optimization is essential.

The key to success in sales is measuring progress. To manage a sales team, volume, conversion rate, and time are key performance indicators (KPIs). You’ll also want to keep track of how many opportunities enter your pipeline: your pipeline volume.

Measure the number of leads that turned into customers. The overall conversion rate is calculated by comparing the volume of pipeline opportunities to the number of closed deals. Optimizing conversion rates between stages is even more crucial. Through the funnel, opportunities will go through various qualification stages (e.g., basic qualifications, current solutions in use, technical evaluation, and closing), and you should keep track of when and why opportunities fail.

These measurements need to be taken for your overall flywheel and catch go-to-market sales rep. This information indicates where each rep needs to improve and perhaps receive more training. Make sure each rep receives personalized sales coaching to shorten his or her sales cycle. Compare conversion rates and time per stage to see who does better and faster.

Count the number of conversions each rep makes and see at what point in the process they give up. Unqualified leads should be removed from the flywheel as soon as possible, so less energy, time, and resources are spent on it.

10. Analysis and shortening of the sales cycle.

Lastly, keep track of how long your sales cycle is. The amount of time it takes from entering the sales funnel to closing/winning a deal. Each stage of the funnel should be shorter.

You can do this by identifying common objections (and figuring out ways to eliminate them in advance), doing ongoing lead nurturing, and brainstorming ways to find the best-fitting customers.

11. Lower the cost of acquiring new customers.

You’ll also need to optimize your customer acquisition cost as a business owner. As time goes on, you will have to reduce this cost by optimizing your processes, otherwise, you will lose more money than you make.

The cost of acquiring a new customer or deal per $1 is called customer acquisition. Your marketing efforts have a lower impact on your PNL the lower the customer acquisition cost is, and the higher the profit per customer is.

12. Use your existing customer base as a resource.

According to industry adage, acquiring a new customer costs seven times as much as doing business with an existing client. Because existing customers already know, like, and trust you if you’re providing a great buying experience.

Renewals, cross-selling, and upselling offer companies the best opportunity to earn more and grow revenue. In general, a company spends $0.13 on renewals, while $0.28 is spent on upsells.

Sales are often seen as black boxes by many people. With analytics and new artificial intelligence technologies, however, business leaders are able to accelerate their processes.

Entrepreneurs who are blessed with special skills can still build a successful company.

It is very likely that you have already built your product, and it is very similar to building a company. Throughout the process, you need to remain strategic and improve.

You can build a company too if you keep iterating.

Examples of a Go-to-Market Strategy

  • Via
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Owala
  • Bread Beauty Supply
  • The Sip
  • Vuclip
  • Upscope

1. Via

As Uber was still relatively unknown in 2012, Via was founded as a ridesharing platform.

Via has cemented a niche in the transportation technology space, despite Uber’s popularity and product usage surpassing Via.

As part of its GTM strategy, the company emphasizes ride-sharing, in which riders share rides with others who are headed in the same direction. Riders are dropped off at convenient locations rather than picked up at private locations by the driver following a predetermined route.

Via was created to solve a common problem for commuters: overcrowded or unavailable public transportation.

Uber and Lyft rides were overpriced and unusable for daily commutes, another pain point of the target audience. Uber and Lyft aren’t able to fill the gap left by Via, so they created a ridesharing service that can.

To provide more riding options for passengers, the company partners with private operators, schools, and public transit agencies. Via no longer regards Uber as a direct competitor due to its go-to-market strategy.

2. Microsoft Surface

It’s no wonder that Windows is the most popular OS: almost every computer manufacturer offers Windows laptops and desktops.

Microsoft’s software is ubiquitous, so why would it launch a line of computers and tablets?

Microsoft set out to solve a common problem for tablet users in the go-to-market strategy for its Surface products. In addition to being convenient to carry, tablets did not provide the full functionality of laptops. It was simply not financially viable for many people to own a tablet and a laptop at the same time.

Microsoft’s position on Surface tablets became evident with the release of its third generation. Surface tablets were fully functional computers. There was no need to sacrifice functionality for weight. In comparison to its principal rival, the Apple iPad, the Surface tablet offers more features at a comparable price.

There are now laptops and desktops available in the Microsoft Surface line. Microsoft realized that there are so many manufacturers that laptop buyers might not buy a Windows laptop. Computer specifications and hardware differ from model to model.

Students and other everyday users can choose from Microsoft Surface laptops because of their target demographics. Windows OS is seamlessly integrated into these devices, which compete with Apple’s macOS offering.

3. Owala

When looking at the Owala brand, it doesn’t appear to differ much from competitors.

In its go-to-market strategy, the brand used its slogan, “Do more of what you love,” to emphasize the ease of use of its products. By not even opening the bottle, you will be able to “do more of what you love.” You drink directly from the lid.

A large opening spills, and two-handed drinking were some of the problems Owala addressed with its product launch.

We target those who are active with Owala. The brand first posted an Instagram mosaic of a man on a motorcycle, and most of its social media posts include people wearing workout clothes.

There is no doubt that the company entered an overcrowded market. HydroFlask and Contigo are the top-selling brands in the industry. Owala was able to enter that competitive market, however, by addressing the problems of specific target buyers. BestBuy and Amazon distribute the brand’s products on their websites for maximum reach.

4. Bread Beauty Supply

A black- and woman-owned hair care company called Bread Beauty Supply set out to solve a common problem faced by curly-haired women: overly complicated routines that take up a lot of time, energy, and resources.

As its principal distribution channel, Sephora partnered with the brand in 2020. The brand identified a segment of buyers who prefer to leave their curls in their natural state as part of its go-to-market strategy.

This strategy can be compared with that of competitors such as Pattern Beauty and Ouidad, who both provide a range of products that can confuse, overwhelm, and dizzy buyers. When creating its go-to market plan, Bread Beauty Supply took into consideration that some people with curly hair prefer less time spent on their hair.

The curly hair care industry is becoming overcrowded, but Bread Beauty Supply found success by taking a unique stance.

5. The Sip

The Sip is an affordable champagne subscription service owned by black and female entrepreneurs.

There have always been Champagne clubs, which deliver delectable wines every monthTo for a premium price.

Nevertheless, this model poses a few problems for the target audience. A bottle of wine chosen for the month could fail to meet expectations, which would mean wasting it. The cost would also be full. For two bottles of champagne per month, Club Bubbly, one of The Sip’s competitors, charges $100.

Subscribers were offered three mini-bottles of champagne at a fraction of the cost through The Sip’s go-to-market strategy. If you liked one, you could buy the whole bottle.

In addition to attracting subscribers of its competitors, The Sip opened up the possibility of this subscription service to buyers who couldn’t previously afford it, by eliminating common problems.

6. Vuclip

Mobile video-on-demand service Vuclip tapped into emerging markets with limited access to high-quality streaming video services. There was a lack of advanced mobile networks in these areas, including India, Thailand, and Egypt, resulting in slow video buffering speeds for consumers.

By presenting an accessible platform that addressed the consumer’s buffering issues in those essential markets, the company was able to establish a competitive advantage and attract those “must-have” markets.

What is the result? The company currently has more than 41 million subscribers across more than 3,000 cities, with plans to expand to even more underserved markets.

7. Upscope

Among its competitors, Upscope, an interactive screen sharing platform, was aimed at a more technically inclined crowd – namely onboarding, support, and IT specialists.

We focused on solving the troubles consumers encountered when trying to share screens – especially when walking prospects, customers, or employees through technical topics.

In order to address this issue, the company developed an instant and interactive screen sharing solution – saving users the trouble of fumbling through the screen sharing process and letting everyone take part in watching the same content.

A robust content marketing strategy supported Upscope’s go-to-market efforts, including an active blog and web presence. The company also integrated other tools into its solution, giving it greater visibility and influence.

Your New Business Needs a Strong GTM Strategy

Prior to bringing your new product to market, it is crucial to develop a go-to-market strategy. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be on your way to providing your future customers with a valuable product or service and becoming profitable.

 

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