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. Go-to-market strategies are also important as they can give you a competitive advantage over competitors. This article will share a go to market framework to help founders identify the right go-to-market strategy for their startup. The go-to-market framework will help founders understand who their customers are, how they use their product or services, what their value proposition is and finally how to plan a successful go-to-market strategy.
Who are your customers?
In order to find the right go-to-market strategy, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are and how big your target market is. Ideal customers are important because they can help you focus on a buyer persona and increase your likelihood of reaching your business objectives. You can identify your target audience 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 go-to-market 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 go-to-market 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. Understanding these factors will help you develop a sales process and pricing strategy which will be effective with your target audience.
How do your customers use your product?
Once you have determined who your potential customers are and potential go-to-market 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. You can choose to hire your own sales representative or you can outsource the lead generation to an agency.
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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 go-to-market strategy once you know who your target customers are, how they use your product and what your value proposition is. A go-to-market plan should also define success metrics to help you iterate as you are executing your go-to-market strategy. If you are still building your product, you should plan your go-to-market around your roadmap and product launch. If your target audience is known to buy slowly then you can engage them earlier. 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 go-to-market strategy so that you can iterate and for example adapt your pricing strategy until your reach product-market fit. Finally, developing a go-to-market strategy is a cross functional exercise which will include developing a marketing strategy, a sales strategy and a product strategy which is why its important to involve stake holders from all these teams!
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