To ensure a successful product launch, you must develop a strategic, actionable, and efficient go-to-market (GTM) plan. Ultimately, how do you determine if you are targeting the correct audience? Is your entry into a particular market – too early or too late? Have you chosen a market that is already oversaturated with comparable products? Therefore, a robust go-to-market strategy (GTM) must be considered when planning the initial release of your product or service.
What is Go-To-Market (GTM)? Definition for Marketers
A go-to-market (GTM) plan is a strategy that assists with positioning a new service or product for launch, defining your ideal consumers, and synchronizing your messaging. A GTM strategy also ensures that key business units are all onboard, and aware of the launch plans. This enables you to satisfy market demand and iterate your product successfully.
As a marketer, you need a GTM plan when:
- Testing the growth potential of the consumer market for a new product
- Offering an existing product to a new market
- Launching a new product to an entrenched market
Types of GTM Models
The two primary categories of a go-to-market blueprint are product-led and sales-driven.
In a product-led plan of action, the product itself acts as an advertiser/promoter by delivering so much value that the user feels driven to upgrade their plan or purchasing decisions -– Slack is one example, and Grammarly could be another one. This GTM strategy works best when you are the only or leading provider in an emerging product category.
In a competitive product or service market, a sales-led GTM strategy comes into play.
A sales-driven GTM strategy utilizes marketing to create product interest and awareness, which is then captured in content and presentation formats. In a sales-driven strategy, marketers collect leads, and salesmen seek out prospects in an effort to turn them into customers. Choosing the appropriate B2B data vendor is vital for the success of such efforts.
How to Create a Go-To-Market Strategy in 8 Steps
Creating the GTM plan is a fairly straightforward process:
1. Assemble the team
GTM implementation continues to be a cross-functional activity that includes marketing, sales, and product teams. Consult with the group with regard to your target market. Your company may have already chosen a course of action. However, you can always assess whether a product or service lets your business enter new markets.
2. Know who you are selling to
After deciding on a specific target market, it is essential to determine the characteristics and personas of your customers. An ideal customer profile or ICP presents a detailed description of your ideal consumer at that point in time. To develop your ICP, you must understand who the individuals are, where they do their business, and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
For existing products, you may want to leverage current buyer profiles.
3. Know your competition
Understanding how your service or product or service functions in a current market environment is essential for any GTM strategy. This is due to the fact that grasping what your rivals offer and acknowledging the value they bring helps in positioning your own product.
Start by evaluating review pages, then filter by appropriate business segments. This will enable you to determine what consumers like and dislike most about your competitors’ services and what elements of your ICP genuinely resonate with them.
4. Define the value proposition
This stage includes identifying the most effective ways for establishing your brand, in line with customer demands. Look at pricing, product quality, or competition when thinking about how your brand appears to consumers.
Is the cost of your products or services exorbitant for your market? How are your competitors showcasing their brands to buyers? Does the quality of what you sell deserve a higher price tag? The value proposition is what determines product messaging, a critical component of the GTM strategy.
5. Draft messaging guidelines
Exceptional product messaging conveys the intrinsic worth of your service or product to your ICP in a manner that rings true with their areas of concern. Examine all the messaging that your competitors presently have on their websites and how they place their products.
Create a report for executives, including the tone of voice, cultural values, do’s and don’ts, and other actionable details. Remember that this document will be used by both internal and external stakeholders as the product grows.
6. Select the channel mix
Marketers can choose from a number of channels when executing their go-to-market (GTM) strategy; the key ones include:
- Content: As ICPs identify new problem areas and look for solutions, your keyword-rich content may be among the initial results they come across. Content consistently generates value and remains one of the most cost-effective marketing collaterals. Good content writing, however, requires writers with specialized skills and expertise.
- Paid ads: Sophisticated online advertisements allow you to reach consumers across devices and platforms, and retargeting increases conversion rates. It is simple to monitor a pay-per-click (PPC) GTM strategy, and you can see the impact of your ad spending almost instantaneously. However, sponsored posts are only useful for a limited time and can become expensive.
- Cold outreach: On platforms like LinkedIn, sales personnel and marketing teams can locate viable prospects, then make cold calls or send emails with personalized templates that address a range of concerns. Outbound emails and cold calls are top choices for personalization. However, more training may be required, and cold outreach generally has a lower hit rate than other GTM tactics.
- Referrals: Create referral incentives (discounts, rewards, or other additional offerings) that increase credibility within a target market. Referred customers are more inclined to become long-term clients and are less expensive to acquire. However, it is impossible to control the expansion of your business. In addition, it may be challenging to modify certain aspects of your business’s structure (such as cost, schemes, or tiers).
As you can see, all of these go-to-market channels have their share of pros and cons, so choose wisely and, preferably, avoid relying on a single tactic.
7. Measure performance
All effective GTM strategies have specific objectives. Suppose you have a pair of outbound Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) assigned to your launch. Reviewing the number of cold phone calls, emails, or LinkedIn messages they put out per day will allow you to estimate their average output and response rates. Use this data to define targets and measure performance.
Set a projected conversion rate for content and ad spending. Determine the budget required to generate a comparable number of prospects as with outbound GTM strategies.
Beginning your GTM strategy with a 50/50 balance between outbound and inbound efforts is recommended.
8. Create and rely on templates
By this stage, you have accumulated a number of GTM strategy documents that will be useful in the future, from ICP presentations and content calendars to tone-of-voice guidelines and email templates. Refine them and recreate these templates for later use.
Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy Challenges and Solutions
When executing your GTM plan for the first time, anticipate a few challenges such as:
1. Unclear chain of command
Every great product launch is run like a project; therefore, transparency is a vital component of a go-to-marketing implementation strategy. R&D can be in charge of ideation and screening, finance of budgeting, engineering of product growth and development, and marketing of customer research.
2. Low retention
While sales are essential for expanding businesses, excessive sales with no retention could be harmful to your company. An excellent onboarding experience, along with outstanding support services, could help in customer retention.
3. Unrealistic sales coverage plan
The GTM strategy has to tackle the territory coverage predicament. Where and how will you find your ideal customer? Numerous businesses fail to establish an exhaustive sales coverage strategy, which hinders the company’s overall go-to-market capabilities. You have to establish the possible – and at times exact – scale of your total market opportunity, the locations where you have resources, and techniques to balance growth across territories.
A go-to-market strategy or GTM plan is an essential tool in any marketer’s portfolio. Nearly every product and service company looking to grow fast will want to accelerate GTM by utilizing the right marketing tools and strategies.
The eight steps discussed in this article – assembling a cross-functional team, defining the ideal customer, knowing the competition, articulating the core value proposition, messaging guidelines, channel selection, performance measurement, and templatized processes – will help you get your GTM strategy off the ground.