Why Your Go-To-Market Strategy Matters
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Your go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan businesses create for a new product launch or introducing a new service into their target industry. The word “strategy” implies that there's thought, planning, and foresight involved in the process. And that's not just true—it's crucial.
It doesn't matter whether you're launching a new product into a new market, or just hope to reposition your company as a leader in your industry. Your go-to-market strategy is crucial for helping you reach that goal.
What is a GTM strategy
A Go-To-Market strategy is the plan that outlines how you will sell your product or service, who you will sell it to and how you’re going to do it. It’s a critical part of your business plan because without one, you can’t effectively launch your product or service into the market.
The first thing to understand about the Go-To-Market strategy is that it’s not just about marketing. In fact, your marketing plan is only one part of this process. The other parts include sales and operations as well as customer service. In other words, everything that goes into making sure that customers get what they want from you in a timely manner and at a reasonable price is included in this plan.
A well thought out, well executed and strong Go-To-Market strategy can improve overall business performance. It can also help you avoid common pitfalls that many new companies fall victim to when launching their products and services.
Components/ elements of a GTM strategy
You can have the best product in the world, but if you don't know how to market it, no one will buy it. A go-to-market strategy is the plan you follow when launching a new product or service. It includes who you'll sell through, how you'll sell and who your target audience is.
When developing a go-to-market strategy, it's important to consider these four elements:
- Product/business model — What is your product or service? How will you deliver it? What value does it provide? What customers will it serve? How much will you charge for it?
These are all questions that should be answered before creating a go-to- market strategy.
- Distribution channels — Where and how will customers be able to purchase your products and services? Will they need to visit your retail stores or website or call customer service for help after making their purchase online? Will there be salespeople involved in getting customers to buy from you? Answers to these questions form part of a go-to-market strategy.
- Positioning — Your company's positioning refers to how customers perceive its products or services relative to those of its competitors', which affects the way potential buyers perceive them as well. Who are the competitors already offering what you’re launching? Is there a demand for the product, is your product the answer to the customers pain points?
- Measure results — How will you know if your efforts are working or not? You need to track metrics such as traffic on your website, sales conversions, social media likes and shares — anything that reflects how successful these marketing efforts have been in converting visitors into paying customers
When do you need a GTM strategy
Building a go to market strategy is critical in the success of a new or existing product. The GTM strategy helps you determine which customers to target, how to reach them and the best way to engage them.
You may be wondering why your GTM strategy matters. Here are three scenarios when you need a GTM strategy:
- Launching a new product in an existing market - If you're a startup, it's tempting to go all-in on a single product or service. But if you're entering an existing market, it can be more effective to launch with a set of complementary products and services.
- It's easier to find an open niche in an existing market than to carve out a new one. If your goal is to become the leader in your industry, it's much better to find an opportunity that doesn't already have established players than it is to try and create a new category from scratch.
- A GTM strategy can be part of your business plan and marketing mix, and can include many elements, such as identifying your target customers, product pricing, advertising and promotion & sales and marketing.
- Launching an existing product in a new market - When a company enters into new markets, the GTM strategy is where you will describe how you intend to get your product onto shelves, into the hands of consumers and ultimately generate sales.
- The GTM strategy includes:
- Go-to-market channels: How are you going to sell your product? Are you going direct to consumers or through distributors? What channels will be used to reach them?
- Distribution strategy: Where are you going to sell your product and who will sell it? Who will manage inventory, delivery and payment collection?
- Fulfillment strategy: How are you going to deliver your product? What type of packaging will be used? Will the fulfillment be done by the manufacturer or by a third party logistics provider (3PL)?
- Testing a new product's market for growth - For many startups, the first step in developing a GTM strategy is to test whether there is demand for their product or service. To do this, startups need to create a minimum viable product (MVP), which is the least complicated version of their product or service they can offer while still testing its viability in the market.
- An MVP lets entrepreneurs identify whether there's a need for their idea before committing more resources to developing it into something customers want.
- For example, many entrepreneurs start by offering free versions of their software programs so users can try them out without being committed to paying for them until they're sure they work well enough for people.
Importance of a GTM strategy
It's no secret that your go-to-market strategy is a key component of success. But why?
Your go-to-market strategy guides you through the process of entering new markets, building relationships and partnerships, and creating customer value. It also provides a framework for how you'll approach each stage of the customer lifecycle.
If you don't have one, you could be leaving money on the table. Here are three reasons why it matters:
- Your go-to-market strategy gives you a roadmap to follow. Without a roadmap, it's easy to get distracted by day-to-day tasks and lose sight of your long-term goals. With a clear vision in place, you can focus on achieving those goals instead of wasting time trying to figure out where to go next.
- Your go-to-market strategy keeps everyone on board with your vision and plans for growth. It ensures that everyone from sales teams to marketing teams is working towards the same goal — so they can stop spending time working at cross purposes and instead focus all their energy towards achieving success together as a team.
- Your go-to-market strategy ensures that every aspect of your business is aligned with one another and will ultimately lead to success.
The most successful companies have a clearly defined plan for how they will grow their businesses. They know how to reach new markets, how to retain customers, and how to increase profitability. And they have plans for how they're going to accomplish all of this.
A go-to-market strategy is the roadmap you'll use to take your business from where it is today to where it needs to be tomorrow.
GTM strategy challenges
There are quite a few challenges that companies may face as they develop their go-to-market strategy. Some of the most common include:
- Competition: There are many other companies in your market, and each of them is trying to attract the same customers to buy their products. Many businesses have competitors who are already established in their industry and have loyal customer bases. You can learn from the best practices of your competitors and improve your own offering.
- Customer needs: Customers have different needs and preferences, so it’s important for the company to understand what these are and how best to meet them. The goal is to get your message in front of potential customers who might be interested in buying your product or service.
- Revenue model: The most important aspect of developing your go-to-market strategy is determining how you'll generate revenue from your product or service offering. This can be challenging because it requires a deep dive into what customers need and want — something that requires time and effort up front but will pay off in the long run.
- Distribution channels: Your distribution channel can be anything from a Facebook ad to an email blast, but the idea is to get your product out there so that people can find it and buy it. When choosing a distribution channel for your product, you need to consider how much money you want to spend on advertising, how much time you want to spend on marketing efforts, and who your target audience is.
How to build a GTM strategy
With the right GTM strategy in place, you can get your marketing team on the same page, optimize your customer experience and ultimately grow your business.
1. Start with research - Conduct market research by talking to potential customers and others who may be interested in your business. You can do this by interviewing them directly or using technology like email surveys, online panels or social media groups.
2. Define your target customer persona - Your target customer persona is an imaginary person who represents the ideal customer for your product or service. By creating this persona and understanding their needs, values and behaviors, you can determine how best to reach them at every stage of the sales funnel: from lead generation through conversion and beyond.
3. Create an actionable value proposition - A good value proposition focuses on what your product or service offers to your customers, and it gives them a reason to buy from you. Focus on benefits rather than features. Focussing on product led attributes doesn't always appeal to buyers because they're not sure how those features will benefit them personally.
In other words, it tells them why they should choose you over your competitors.
4. Identify potential channels - You might have multiple channels for each product or service. And the type of channel you use depends on your business model and the type of customer you want to reach. Develop a comprehensive content marketing plan to effectively reach the target customer.
A good place to start is by looking at the customer lifecycle stage where they are in their journey with regard to your product or service.
GTM strategy best practices
The best GTM strategies start with your customers and end with growing your business. The best GTM strategies are also flexible enough to adapt to new opportunities as they arise.
Here are some best practices to develop a GTM strategy:
- Understand Your Customers' Needs Focus on winning the right customers. The goal is to create a repeatable process that allows you to reach more customers while maintaining exceptional customer service. This means going beyond just knowing what their needs are, but also understanding how they think and behave when trying to solve those needs.
- Identify Your Company's Unique Value Proposition (UVP) - A UVP is what makes your company different from others in its industry. It's what makes your customers choose your products or services over those offered by competitors. This could be low prices, superior quality or superior customer service, for example. Whatever it is, make sure it's clearly defined so everyone in your organization understands how it fits into their role within the organization.
- Choose a GTM Approach That Fits Your Product/Service Life Cycle Stage - Your strategy may change over time as your business grows and changes. However, choose a GTM approach that fits your product/service life cycle stage. If it's new, you might focus on creating awareness through marketing activities like advertising and PR. As it matures, you can shift toward driving sales through channels like retail stores and direct sales teams.
Ultimately, your go-to-market strategy is unique to your product. As with any business strategy, creating your go-to-market strategy takes careful planning, communication, and determination. It will change and adapt as your business grows, so revisit it every few months to make sure that you aren't ignoring any elements or overlooking potential problems. Remember to focus on three primary elements – who, how and why – and focus on what really matters: making your product great.
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