Startups

A framework for choosing the right go-to-market strategy

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Choosing a go-to-market strategy (GTM strategy) is one of the most important tasks a founder will have to complete for their new business. New products don't end up in the hands of customers by themselves and GTM routes will help you distribute your products to customers as efficiently as possible. GMT strategies are also important as they can give you a competitive advantage over competitors. This article will share a framework to help founders identify a GTM strategy for their startup.


Who are your customers?

In order to find the right GTM strategy, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are and how big your target market is. This can be achieved through market research and a competitor analysis. Once you have mapped the key buyer personas of your target audience, their pain points, how much they are willing to pay for a solution and finally sized the market, you can determine which GTM strategy is likely to work for your customers and for your business. For example, if your customers are consumers and your product is sold cheaply then you will need a light touch and high volume GTM strategy. If their problem is expensive and your solution complex then you will need to invest in supporting potential customers throughout the customer journey. New markets will also require educating so you should consider whether this will be achieved through content marketing or by investing in your sales team and customer onboarding capabilities.


How do your customers use your product?

Once you have determined who your customers are and potential GTM routes, you need to narrow them down based on how new customers will use your product. If you have an easy-to-use web SaaS application which solves a simple or commoditised problem, you should focus on a self-serve buying process. A self-service buying process needs to be supported with a funnel of inbound leads which can be achieved with a content creation, social media advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO).


If your solution requires a formal onboarding and training then you should invest in classical lead generation capabilities and a support team to ensure a smooth onboarding and customer experience.

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​What is your value proposition?

Your business model should be tied to your value proposition so that you have the means to invest resources in a suitable sales process. High value problems will require a sales strategy which is high touch throughout the buyer's journey. Your marketing channels in this case will be focused on preparing white papers, case studies and leadership pieces in order to build brand awareness with decision makers. Marketing teams of low value problems can still produce this type of content but the format will be easier to digest and focused more on high commercial intent messaging as the sales cycle will need to be shorter.


How to plan your GTM strategy?

You can plan your GTM strategy once you know who your customer base is, how they use your product and what your value proposition is. If you are still building your product, you should plan your GTM around your roadmap and product launch. You should also time the hiring of your salespeople based on the duration of your expected sales cycle and the readiness of your product so that their sales initiatives can be productive. If you have determined that your customer acquisition will be self-serve then you will need to invest in a content marketing plan as soon as possible as it will take time to rank and build organic traffic. You should also factor in some flexibility in your GTM strategy so that you can iterate and for example adapt your pricing strategy until your reach product-market fit.

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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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