Need to create a go to market strategy? Learn how here

Make your launch successful

Your business needs could typically involve growth by launching a new product, filling new market demand with an existing product, or expanding into new markets. This is where a go to market strategy (GTM) comes in. Think of it as a business playbook that defines the game of your product lifecycle, from its market advantage to its business contribution.

A GTM strategy is specific to one or two new products launched and unrelated to other products in your business.

Usually crafted as a strategic plan for a successful launch, it must be continuous work in progress.

As soon as you have identified product-market fit and are working on your product’s proof-of-concept (POC) or testing out brand perception, you should put together your go to market strategy.

Let’s dive in.

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1. Size up the market

The first step is to thoroughly analyse your market to find a niche that isn’t being served. Try to find out your:

  • Consumer needs
  • Market opportunity that no competitor is meeting
  • Spending capability per market for your product

Plot a graph where you compare behavioural and attitudinal attributes against qualitative and quantitative measures of research tools (A/B testing, surveying, product usability, etc).

Related: Types of marketing research to learn about your customers

Men unloading tires from a truck with a forklift

2. Create a customer persona

You might have a few geographic regions or customer types in mind. However, your ultimate success depends on how well you define the type of person who is likely to buy the product or service you’ve just identified.

As you gather information, keep refining your product or service to meet the needs of customers.

Use external help like a marketing research agency to hold focus groups with people likely to use your product. Find out:

Who they are (psychographic, demographic, sociographic, etc)

  • The specific challenges they face and personal or business impacts
  • Their expectations from a new solution to their challenge
  • How much they would be willing to pay for a solution

Use their answers to draw insights into visual buyer personas or Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP) for B2B products. You risk derailing your entire go to market strategy efforts if you miss the mark of knowing your true customer fit.

3. Brand positioning plan

Next, create a distinct identity for your product by listing differentiators of the product and how each fulfills market needs. This is often referred to as a product-market fit. To figure this out, you’ll need to:

  • Identify your target audience/customer
  • Research product/service dissatisfactions in the current market
  • Focus on a targeted vertical
  • Create and test a prototype of your product or service based on feedback

Once you have this data, you would then write a positioning statement to speak to your customer’s needs and emotions.

Lean Canvas go to market worksheet
This table includes many of the elements of a go to market plan.
Source: Lean Canvas

4. Product plan

Your product plan is the star of your go to market strategy, as it outlines your strategy in detail. It should include:

  • Product vision
  • Product positioning and key differentiators
  • Messaging that will fuel marketing and sales (see table, below)
  • Identify typical use cases and business results
  • TEI (Total Economic Impact), usually done for a B2B product

The product strategy informs the go to market plan. Stay clear of any confusion where the terms can be used interchangeably.

5. Marketing plan

Now create a marketing plan with specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that in turn meet business goals. Begin by answering the following questions:

  • Do you plan to create initial awareness and follow it up with generating demand and leads?
  • How will you target specific customer groups or to leverage certain channels (social, content, email, etc)?
  • Which media do you plan to use — text vs audio vs video or interactives (infographics, quizzes, etc)?

Compare versions of marketing plan templates available over the web and choose the one that best suits your business objectives. Then fill it out.

Sales hero value matrix
This table shows how you can turn product features into powerful marketing statements.
Source: SalesHero

6. Sales plan

The first step here is mapping typical buying journeys of your primary customer personas. That way, you can create a strong process for sales engagement at every step of the journey.

One wise option is to include channel partners or regional resellers as part of your go to market plan.

This is when the market opportunity cannot be handled by your sales resources. Broadly, you may want to use all of the below sales models:

  • Self-service
  • Inside sales
  • Outside or field sales
  • Channel sales

Follow this through by mapping your sales strategy that will form a key pillar of the product’s GTM strategy

7. Evaluation plan

Once you’ve launched your go to market strategy, you must monitor results and adjust as you go. Manage the below indicators to evolve your plan:

Buying journey-based

Besides the research and positioning, monitor how marketing and sales are working as a team to hit revenue-generating metrics at each stage of the journey. That way, they can help forecast and plan future sales lifecycles.

Prioritise core metrics

As a business leader, create a rolling calendar to monitor key metrics across priority levels.

Set data-driven, evolving benchmarks

Use historic and competitor metrics to keep pushing the bar of performance.

Use these KPIs to rate the success of your GTM strategy.

8. Resource plan

After considering what it takes to execute a well-drawn go to market plan, list all the resources you need: equipped teams, budgets, time frames to chase plans, and more.

  • Prioritize resources on how your budget could hit business goals
  • Experiment over time by shuffling budgets towards most promising activities

Have a historic view of resource capacity needed to execute GTM strategies in the past. But be pragmatic while adapting it for the current environment. Finally, estimate how resource mapping will shape planning future go to market strategies.

The 8 steps of a go to market strategy

If you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. A go to market strategy is a work in progress and usually takes time and effort from multiple stakeholders. Be data driven with your approach to objectively prove its outcomes to any decision makers.

To prove your research is accurate, stay connected with sales heads or industry peers in your space. Never lose pulse of what’s happening on the ground to modify or pivot your plan.

Benjamin’s expertise sits at the confluence of marketing and communications. As a public relations consultant, he passionately drives brand mileage for enterprise technology and software product organizations. He has hands-on experience to handle a gamut of activities in the communication portfolio of enterprises. With brief stints in digital marketing, account management and social media, Benjamin also regularly writes on digital, tech, marketing and fitness topics. Connect with him on Twitter.