Startups have a high rate of failure in the USA at 90%. The most important part of a startup’s growth is not the product or the technology. It is the market. There is no way to have a successful startup without a proper go-to-market strategy.
The process of creating a go-to-market strategy is not something you should leave to chance. While the process may not be easy, the result of having a solid plan in place can be the difference between the success and failure of your business.
This guide outlines the most important aspects of building a successful go-to-market strategy.
What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is a high-level overview of how a product will be brought to market. Specifically, it is a plan for promoting and selling the product throughout the launch phase and beyond. The go-to-market strategy sets out guidelines on everything from pricing to sales channels and marketing campaigns.
A central component of any successful go-to-market strategy is a well-defined sales and marketing plan. This document should lay out exactly who the target market for the product is and how they will be reached and influenced to buy the product.
The Four Phases of Go-to-Market Strategy
At its most basic level, go-to-market strategy can be broken down into four phases.
Phase 1: Choosing a Market
The first phase of your go-to-market strategy is to assess the potential market for your product. The trick to finding a successful market is finding one where you can establish yourself as the leader.
You will need to do some research into your proposed market and determine:
- How big is the potential market?
- Can you prove that there is demand for the product and how much demand exists?
- What method(s) can be used to reach your target customers – direct selling, indirect selling, online and offline channels, and so on?
- What is the competition like? Are there competitors already in a position to take control of this market?
- Will your potential customers pay the price you will charge for your product?
Asking yourself these key questions upfront can save you a lot of time and effort down the road.
Phase 2: Choosing a Position and Creating a Plan for Building Brand Awareness
The next step in your go-to-market strategy is to choose how you will position your product in the market. This decision on positioning is important because it drives everything else about marketing your product.
Phase 3: Creating a Sales and Marketing Strategy Including Cost Analysis
Your next step is to create a sales and marketing strategy for your product. This strategy will include everything from cost analysis of all needed assets to creating different promotional materials such as website development and advertisements.
Phase 4: Executing the Plan, Measuring Results, Making Changes Where Necessary
Once you have completed your go-to-market strategy and created a plan for executing those strategies, you need to drive your implementation with a timetable.
Set milestones along the way that include checking in on your current results and making any necessary changes.
Be sure to measure all results, even if they are not what you expected or wanted them to be.
By measuring, you will know how successful (or unsuccessful) your plan has been. You will also have a better idea of what adjustments to make moving forward.
Why do we use Go-to-Market Strategy?
The go-to-market strategy is a vital component in developing new products and one that should never be overlooked.
Selecting the right model and determining which audience profiles to target helps ensure you can actually deliver your product when it’s finally ready.
By planning out the best approach for how to market your product, you can focus on what you need to do instead of wasting resources trying to figure it out.
You’ll also find that having a detailed strategy helps eliminate any gaps in focus. This is especially true when developing a product with limited resources because the plan provides a clear direction for allocating those resources.
How to Create a Successful Go-to-Market Strategy?
Creating a successful GTM strategy takes time, and it must include many different components.
Here are the steps to create a successful GTM strategy for your business.
1. Understand your target market
It is crucial to fully understand your target market to create a sales and marketing strategy successfully. Your ideal buyer persona should be your starting point in this process. You need to learn everything there is to know about this group to craft an effective go-to-market strategy.
As you research different personas, you may find that your product appeals to multiple types of buyers. This is a good thing because it means you have the opportunity for multiple revenue streams. However, this will require creating different customer profiles and corresponding go-to-market strategies for each one.
You also need to consider who will be using your product once they buy it.
What can they do with it?
What types of problems does your product solve, and who will benefit the most from using it? These questions need to be answered to craft a go-to-market strategy that is effective successfully.
2. Know about your competition and demand
You also need to research the competition to create an effective go-to-market strategy. You should know what strategies they are using and how your product is different from theirs.
You should also find out why people buy or don’t buy their products. Are there any unmet needs that you can fulfill?
To do this, you need to find out as much as possible about the market and what people are looking for.
3. Create and validate the need/problem (s) your product is solving
Once you have done your market research, it’s time to build a product. However, before you do that, you need to validate the problem (or problems) that your product is intended to solve.
You could build something beautiful, but if it doesn’t solve an unmet customer need, there won’t be much demand.
4. Determine your brand position
When you are selling a product, your brand position is closely tied to the customer’s needs. For instance, if your product offers peace of mind, your brand should be associated with a relaxed and easy-going lifestyle.
Once you know the problem you are trying to solve for customers, create brand associations that will make people feel like they are buying something that will bring them the lifestyle they desire. This is what will help them connect emotionally to your product.
5. Select go-to-market models and distribution channels
A successful GTM strategy requires having a plan for how you will deliver your product to market and who you will be targeting.
You can choose four main go-to-market models: new market creation, partner channel, reseller channel, and the direct sales model.
Each of these has pros and cons that should be considered when selecting a model. You will also need to determine which distribution channels will work best for your product.
6. Identify and define the key message(s) you want the audience to remember
Once you have crafted your go-to-market strategy, it’s time to develop a message for how you will deliver it. Your key messages should be clear and concise so prospects can easily remember them.
The most effective messages are based on benefits instead of features. For example, if your product is easy to use, your messaging should focus on that aspect rather than just stating the specific features. You will also need to establish how different audiences perceive you based on your product positioning.
7. Determine the pricing model and revenue streams for each buyer persona/customer profile
Pricing can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to ensure it’s successful.
First, determine the current going rate for products that offer similar value. Analyze your research and set a lower price than what your competition is charging while still providing a good amount of profit to keep the business sustainable.
Once you have a rough idea of your product price, you need to determine how to sell it. Will there be more than one price point? Will your product have different versions that target specific segments?
The key is to identify buyer personas and customer profiles that allow you to address their needs by determining the best price points for each group.
8. Develop your go-to-market strategy
Now it’s time to put all those pieces together and create a cohesive plan for how you will market your product. This includes determining the channels and tactics you’ll use and which brand message you will convey in each channel. Your GTM needs to be comprehensive – cover every possible angle.
Your go-to-market strategy will be crafted around the stages of the customer journey. This is where you will align your product features to common customer needs at each stage. Even though you aren’t building anything yet, crafting a GTM plan helps ensure that everything ties together seamlessly when developing your product.
Benefits of go-to-market strategy
- Having a strategy can streamline your product development process.
- Planning out the customer journey will enable you to craft messages targeted to different parts of the buying process, an effective way to gain customers.
- A go-to-market strategy provides a clear direction for allocating resources when developing or marketing your product.
- A well-thought-out plan also ensures that nothing critical was overlooked in its development phase.
A go-to-market strategy is a critical component in the development process. It ensures that all product features, messaging, and distribution channels are addressed to ensure your product does well in the marketplace when it’s ready.
By incorporating the customer journey into your GTM strategy, you can determine which features should be included in each part of the product and how they should be positioned to resonate with your target market.
A well-thought-out go-to-market plan provides a clear direction for allocating resources when developing or marketing your product, streamlines the development process, and ensures that nothing critical was overlooked in its initial stages.