These days, you need more than a great idea or product to succeed in this competitive and constantly evolving market. Taking the time to develop a go-to-market strategy can help maximize your business’s resources and help you meet your desired outcomes.
What Is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a business tool that helps guide decision-making in product marketing. It helps you determine the best way to deliver your product or service.
Unlike a business plan or general marketing strategy, GTM plans are short-term. It’s also possible for companies to have multiple GTM strategies, especially if they offer multiple products or services.
Why Use A GTM Strategy?
Most startups begin with great ideas, services, or products, but more than half of new businesses fold before they make it to five years. Many factors contribute to business closure, but having a GTM strategy may be able to predict (or even prevent) this.
The information you gain from GTM plans can help you course-correct your business decisions to ensure that you’re maximizing all of your resources. A good GTM strategy will give you the information you need to determine the feasibility and sustainability of your new product.
Remember, you may clearly understand the value of your product or service, but this doesn’t automatically translate to your target market. A GTM plan will help make sure that you're getting your message across effectively to the right people.
When Do You Use A GTM Strategy?
GTM strategies are usually associated with new businesses. But it’s also useful for established businesses. Here are a few business scenarios that would benefit from a well-planned GTM strategy:
- Starting a new business.
- Launching new products or services.
- Expanding the company (ex: opening a new store branch).
- Engaging a new market or different target audience.
- Strengthening customer engagement with existing products or services.
- Relaunching a service, product, brand, or company.
A GTM strategy is useful when a company needs to identify the specific steps they need to take to get their products or services to a specific market.
Who Needs To Know About The GTM Strategy?
Within an organization, a GTM strategy is useful for decision-makers.
Specifically, it’s also helpful if managers, marketing specialists, and sales staff understand the product or service’s GTM strategy.
That way, they’ll understand why certain tactics are employed over others.
It’s also very useful for business owners who are looking for investors. Your GTM strategy will show your investors that you have a well-thought-out action plan.
"Keep in mind that a buyer’s persona goes beyond basic demographics, you have to flesh out these personas and imagine what their day-to-day lives are like."
How To Develop An Effective GTM Strategy
Step 1: Identify Potential Customers
Depending on your product, you will need to describe the buying center or a buyer persona. For most organizations, you need to sell your product to a group of people before you land the sale.
The buying center refers to the group of people who are involved in the buying process. Studies show that there are six roles you need to identify in most buying centers:
- Initiator - whoever begins the buying process.
- Buyer - whoever controls the budget.
- User - thee people who will use the product.
- Influencer - people who persuade others of the product’s value.
- Decider or Approver - people who greenlight the purchase.
- Gatekeeper - whoever has the power to stop or delay the buying process.
Some of these roles overlap and, in some organizations, a single employee can take on multiple roles. The roles can also vary in different organizations, so it helps if you list down the job positions that you expect will make up the buying centers.
On the other hand, you’ll need to outline a buyer’s persona if you’re selling your products to individuals rather than organizations.
What is a buyer persona? This is a profile that describes your ideal customers. It describes what their lives are like, what they value, their common challenges, and how they make decisions.
Keep in mind that a buyer’s persona goes beyond basic demographics, you have to flesh out these personas and imagine what their day-to-day lives are like.
- Once you’ve defined your target market, consider its size. Will you have enough prospective customers to turn a profit? You’ll have to adjust your strategies if your analysis shows that your product is only appealing to a small group of people.
- If your research shows that multiple groups of people would be interested in your product, try to prioritize a few instead of going for all of them at once. That way, the product messaging can be more specific.
- Make sure you communicate your primary target to your stakeholders.
"To be competitive, businesses need to be present at every stage of the buyer’s journey."
Step 2: Create A Value Matrix
Now that you know who your customers are, you need to dig a little deeper into their makeup. A value matrix can help you do this.
What is a value matrix? This is a breakdown of your customer’s problems and how your product/service addresses this problem.
Once you have a value matrix, you can develop your product message. This communicates the value of your product and shows your customers how the product solves their problems.
Overall, your value matrix should help you articulate the purpose of your product.
The complexity of your value matrix will depend on the number of persons or roles you’ve identified in the previous step.
Step 3: Test Product Message
Once you have a product message, it’s important to test it. You will need to consider two factors when testing your message:
- The message
- The advertising channel
If possible, draft and test multiple versions of your product message. That way, you can see which version impacts your target market the most. After testing multiple messages, you can start testing different channels to see which one yields the most engagement.
For example, if your target market spends a lot of time on social media, it might be worth testing your ad on different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Make sure to optimize your ads based on the results of these initial tests.
Step 4: Understand The Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey outlines your customer’s buying process. This usually involves three stages:
- Awareness - customers become aware of their problems or needs.
- Consideration - customers look into all of the alternatives.
- Decision - customers choose which product to buy.
To be competitive, businesses need to be present at every stage of the buyer’s journey. From the business’s perspective, they need to take the customers through three stages:
- Attract - attract customers with the appropriate content or ads.
- Engage - present the value of the product in a meaningful way.
- Delight - close the deal.
Your GTM strategy should explain how you intend on attracting, engaging, and delighting your customers.
Step 5: Decide On Sales Strategy
Your sales strategy will outline how you intend on delivering your product to the market. Most businesses choose from four sales strategies:
- Self Service - customers purchase products on their own.
- Inside Sales - a sales representative needs to land the deal. This will require a dedicated sales team.
- Field Sales - a sales organization closes large deals.
- Channel Model -another agency or store sells the product.
- You don’t have to commit to one strategy. Depending on your market, you may have to use a combination of two or more strategies.
- If you’re a startup, take your time building and training your sales team. You can continue to invest in your sales team as your business grows.
Step 6: Prepare A Budget
Once you have your GTM strategy in place, you need to know how much it will cost to execute this plan.
This will help determine whether or not you are working with a cost-effective model.
Otherwise, if it eats too much of your profit margin, you may have to adjust your strategy.
Otherwise, if it eats too much of your profit margin, you may have to adjust your strategy.
Tip: Your budget should include the resources you need for the maintenance of your products or services even after you’ve launched them.
The information you gain from the previous steps will allow you to answer the following questions about your product or service:
- What is the product-market fit? Does it solve any problems or offer any benefits? What are these problems/benefits?
- Who is the target audience? To whom do the problems or benefits relate?
- What is your pricing strategy? What is your target audiences’ spending capacity? Are they willing to pay for it?
- What’s the competition like? Is there anyone else selling a similar product or service? Is there still a demand for the product?
- What’s the best way to distribute your product? What mediums will you use?
If the answers to these questions aren’t favorable, then you can re-evaluate your business before spending any more of your resources.
But if your GTM shows that your business could have a competitive advantage, then you can move forward with more confidence.