The backbone of any thriving business is a great product or service that customers love. But even great products stumble if they don't hit the market at the right time and in the right way. Whether you’re launching a new service, new product or releasing a new feature, you’ll need a comprehensive go-to-market plan that's grounded in data and focused on customer success.
What is a Go-To-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is an action plan for selling your service or product and acquiring customers. Unlike a business plan, which covers funding and long-term goals, your go-to-market plan describes the specific steps you’ll take to get customers to buy your products - addressing marketing, sales, and distribution tactics.
A comprehensive go-to-market plan should answer the following questions:
- What makes up a target customer?
- What needs or wants does your solution address?
- What is my product’s unique positioning?
- How will you connect with your target customers or accounts?
- How will they purchase from you?
Everything revolves around the customer when developing an effective GTM strategy. For account-based marketing teams, marketing and sales need to be particularly aligned on what specific characteristics make up an ideal customer profile (ICP). With this information, they can use data to identify and segment target accounts.
Why Does a Go-To-Market Strategy Matter?
A go-to-market strategy brings alignment across key areas of leadership. A business plan may tell executives or investors where the business heading, but a GTM strategy enables leaders across marketing, sales, product and distribution to head the same direction. With a clear and concise plan for all market-facing teams to follow, the business will be better set up for growth.
A successful go-to-market plan requires a deep understanding of your target customer, a competitive pricing model, and a savvy distribution and sales strategy.
Understanding your Target Customer
Everything in your go-to-market strategy truly starts with a tight understanding of your ideal customer profile. Teams need to nail down the characteristics they see in their ideal customer, using the following data types:
- Current Customer Data - Use data from your CRM and billing systems to analyze top customers. Find out what they have in common to assess what makes up an ideal customer.
- Firmographic - Details about employees, branches, regions of operation, size, etc.
- Technographic - What technology are your ideal customers already using and what are their digital pain points?
- Intent data - What are target customers researching online
- Contextual data - This data allows you to know how a business is using technological tools and how much it’s currently spending on its tech stack.
Building Awareness and Trust Among Potential Buyers
Whether you’re selling to consumers or businesses, a company needs to build awareness of its product. This starts with a marketing plan and hinges on sales and marketing alignment. When sales and marketing work in sync—especially with a well developed account based marketing plan—teams can go after the same accounts, with consistent strategies, and coordinated touchpoints.
In this stage, consider what content you’ll create, what customer stories or social proof you can pull from, what touchpoints you can coordinate at events, and so on.
Key elements of a great marketing plan are:
- Personal networks (whether in-person or on social media)
- Digital assets
- Referrals and word-of-mouth marketing
- Direct mail
- Outbound advertising
With customer reviews and online content, B2B buyers have more power than ever. In fact, Gartner reported “that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase, they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers.” The majority of their time is spent doing independent research. Sales representatives play a small role in the actual decision-making process.
This means there is extra pressure on B2B marketers and sellers to build trust and a sense of authenticity with their potential buyers. They can do this by creating helpful online written content, valuable webinars, and building human relationships at events. Focusing on building a culture focused on customer happiness and loyalty is also key for attracting more customers.
Choosing the optimal price point for any product or service is a complex task. You don’t want to undercharge and lose revenue, and you don’t want to overcharge, sending customers to your competitors. Dedicated pricing teams do in-depth competitive research and analysis when going to market - considering factors like the value offered to customers, their willingness to pay for it, and which upsell or cross-sell opportunities will be a big part of your. longer-term strategy. Pricing should be a fluid element of your strategy with room for adjustment based on sales performance, market reaction and customer feedback.
Assessing Your Sales and Distribution Channels
There are several ways to sell products: direct sales, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, channel partners, and digital channels. The type of sales channel depends on the type of product and the type of relationship a business has with its customers. A consumer-facing application could be bought one time in an app store, whereas an enterprise application could require an intricate onboarding process.
If a business is just starting out, the company’s salesforce may be simple. As it evolves, it can expand its reach—offering different ways to distribute the product. Some will opt for a touchless buying experience, while others will hire an enterprise sales team. It all depends on the product, and if the price of the product can justify the cost of the sales channel.
Measuring the Success of Your Go-To-Market Strategy
There are a number of metrics that indicate whether or not your GTM strategy is benefiting your business.
Common metrics include:
- Sales conversion rates
- Length of sales cycle
- Customer acquisition cost
- Customer lifetime value
These are not the metrics that assess whether or not your product has great product-market fit, or how your customers are engaging with the product, but they are signals of how effective your marketing and sales teams are rallying together to drive revenue.
Go-To-Market Strategy Tips
A successful GTM strategy relies on, above all, alignment among your internal leaders. Here's a quick checklist of what we've covered that your go-to-market teams should keep in mind:
- Obsess over your ideal customers and target accounts. Use data to get to know them inside and out, identify who will be the best early adopters that will help you gain traction. And possibly, who could be your MVP?
- Raise awareness then build trust. Raising awareness of your brand must be backed by authentic engagement with customers that trust in your product.
- Develop a sales distribution model. Identify the right channels to deliver the product based on market trends and buyer behavior.
- Measure and reiterate often. Identify what’s working and where you have room to improve, all good GTM plans take iterating.
- Build processes and scale. As your company matures, implement frameworks and repeatable processes that make growth a smooth experience.
Intricately helps sales and marketing teams at cloud companies identify new target accounts based on usage and spend data.