Launching a new product or company is an exciting time, especially if you feel you have something to offer that isn’t already on the market. However, you can’t rush into running a launch blindly. It takes careful planning and consideration to work out who your target audience is, how best to target them and which marketing and sales strategies and tactics will be the most effective.

Nowadays your company’s marketing strategy needs to be so much deeper than simply shouting about your products to attract customers.

A go-to-market strategy can help you prepare your products for launch and provide a solid marketing structure. You can set goals, research the best way to reach your target customer base and calculate the best prices and distribution methods.

In this article, we’ll talk you through what go-to-market strategies look like, how you can create your own and the benefits of doing so.

What is a go-to-market strategy?

Go-to-market (GTM) is an action plan that you can use when you’re trying to launch a new product/service, re-launch a brand or move into a new market.

A go-to-market strategy generally starts with identifying the target audience, creating a marketing plan, and outlining a sales strategy. It helps to calculate the budget needed for the launch and outlines a path for future growth.

Continue reading to find out why your company will benefit from a solid go-to-market strategy, how you can create your own and how you can measure the success of the strategy.

Why should I create a go-to-market strategy?

Your company may have an amazing product, but it won’t necessarily be successful unless you know the market and whether or not there is a need for it.

By creating a go-to-market strategy, you can clarify the essential components you need in order to run a successful launch as well as ensure that all stakeholders involved are working in alignment.

With a go-to-market strategy your company will:

  • Have a solid and clear plan to bring your product/service to market
  • Reduce the overall time needed to market your product/service
  • Improve the likelihood of a successful launch
  • Be highly knowledgeable of the market and have an ability to react to changes and customer desires
  • Have a clear path for future growth
  • Ensure an improved overall customer experience

While a go-to-market strategy can’t always guarantee a successful launch, it can certainly help manage expectations. It can ensure that you are fully prepared before investing your budget in bringing your product to market.

What should I focus on in a go-to-market strategy?

Many companies use a go-to-market strategy to help improve the likelihood of a successful launch. Here is a breakdown of the top four critical parts to focus on within your strategy.

Product-market fit

Before you can start anything you need to know that there is an actual need and want for your product or service.

Clearly identify which problems your product solves.

Target audience

The more that you know about your target audience the better. Identify exactly who is experiencing the problem that you solve.

Your audience’s work and lifestyle also need to be taken into consideration so that you can create a pricing strategy that suits your production costs and customer price range accordingly.

Competition and demand

It is important to be knowledgeable of your competition so you know who you are competing against. Identify who already offers the product or service that you are launching.

In addition to this, you also need to know the level of demand and want for your product or service. Is there one? Or is the market saturated?

Distribution

You also need to be clear on how you will sell your products or services. Will you use a website, retail stores, an app, third-party distributor, or even via trade shows and events.

The products and services you are selling need to fit the channels that you’re using so that they reach your target audience.

How to build a go-to-market strategy

In order to successfully go to market, you first need to get clear on your strategy.

Identify buying personas

First things first, you need to identify your ideal buying personas within your buyer centre. You might have several buying personas which means that there will be several people to consider in your marketing strategy.

Your buying centre might consist of several different personas such as:

  • The initiator
  • The user
  • The influencer
  • The decision-maker
  • The buyer
  • The approver
  • The gatekeeper

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, your final list will depend on your product, industry and vertical. Nevertheless, for B2B, it is a good idea to think about the potential job titles that would identify with these persona titles.

Begin researching these roles and learning about their pain points, their goals, and their outcomes. The more that you learn about them the more accurately you can target them. Consider who these people are, what motivates them, what challenges they face, how they like to be communicated with.

Create value matrix

Next, you need to create a value matrix to break down each of the buyer personas identifying their problems and identifying how your product solves them. You then create a suitable marketing message that speaks directly to each buyer persona.

In order to achieve this, you need to create three columns titled pain points, product solution and marketing message. Down the side identify the buyer persona, whether that is the user, the key decision-maker, the buyer, the influencer and so on.

Next to each persona firstly list their pain points and challenges. In the next column identify how your product solves or eases their challenges. In the final column, you create your marketing message which summarises how your product/service solves this specific problem.

You are left with your value matrix which is a grid of how your product solves your buyer’s problems and the message that you are going to communicate to them.

Test messaging

Next, you need to test the messaging that you have just created. There are three variables to test:

  • Which channels to advertise on
  • Who you target
  • The message you share

Consider where your ideal audience already is when experimenting with channels. Test on various channels and monitor the conversions. Expand areas that work.

Understand the buyer’s journey

Understanding the buyer’s journey can make the biggest difference to the success of your launch and can give you a competitive advantage.

Typically your buyer will experience a linear buying journey in which they first become aware of the problem or challenge. They will then begin to conduct research in an attempt to name that problem.

They then move into the consideration stage in which the buyer has defined the problem. At this stage, they are committed to researching and understanding how best to solve the issue. This is when they are looking into the different methods that could work to solve their problem as well as what has worked well for others.

The final stage is the decision-making step in which the prospective buyer has decided on the best solution for them. At this stage, they are researching all the possible vendors to find the best fit for them. This will ultimately lead to the final buying decision.

Plan marketing strategy

As you have already started to test your messaging you are beginning to get a feel for what is working. Using this data and this research your marketing team can begin to define your marketing strategy.

Depending on your overall goal your marketing strategy will look slightly different. Key things to consider in your marketing strategy include:

  • Research – marketplace, brand, competitors, customers
  • A strategy focused on your niche
  • Website – high performance, user experience, design
  • Search Engine Optimisation – onsite SEO and offsite SEO
  • Social media
  • Advertising -industry publications, websites, pay per click, SEM, retargeting
  • Marketing automation – Customer Relationship Management (CRM), lead nurturing
  • Trial and optimisation – A/B testing of emails, landing pages
  • Analytics for reflection

To learn more about how your marketing strategies and the buyer’s journey work hand in hand, check out our article on full-funnel marketing.

Choose your sales strategy

Now that you have laid the groundwork, it is time to dive into your sales strategy.

Depending on your business model and product/service type, different sales strategies will be more effective. There are generally four common sales strategies to choose from:

  • The self-service model
  • The inside sales business model
  • The field sales business model
  • The channel model

Strategise how to tap into the existing customer base

In order to continue to grow you need to constantly learn from your marketing and sales strategies. You need to lean into what works and ruthlessly cut what does not.

Remember that it is much more costly to acquire new customers, instead tap into the customers that you already have. These customers already ‘know, like, and trust’ you and your products/services.

Renewals and upselling are a great way to tap into your existing customers. Continue to provide an excellent customer experience that is focused on those buyer personas you’ve already identified.

After-sales communication is just as valuable as pre-sales communication. Continue to nurture your customers so that they become loyal advocates who chose to organically promote you and invest in your product/service. It is important that the marketing and sales teams work in alignment to ensure that the customer feels nurtured and valued.

How do I measure the success of my go-to-market strategy?

In order to measure the success of your go-to-market strategy, you must first set out clear success metrics to measure.

Each department might have different objectives but they are working towards the same goal. As such, the success metrics will vary.

Your success metrics could be specific key performance indicators (KPI’s) relevant to each department. For example, KPI’s for the sales team could be linked to:

  • Sales volume
  • Conversion rates
  • Time from start to closing the deal

As we have identified, it is important to continue to reflect on the success of your strategy to ensure that it is working effectively.

Summary

A go-to-market strategy is an effective action plan that can help your company prepare for a product launch or rebrand. It can help you identify who your target market is, what appeals to them and how your product will fill the specifications of their need or want.

Your sales team requires guidance on how to reach their sales goals, such as how many products you are hoping to sell following your product launch or rebrand. You can then evaluate the success of the campaign and use it to influence the decisions in your next launch.

A go-to-market strategy can be implemented into different product launches, rebrands or branching out into a new market. There are unlimited possibilities for how often you can this kind of action plan to prepare your company and to help it stand out from the competition.