September 21, 2021
Go-to-market

Go-to-market strategy: Examples and steps to make an impact

Do you want to launch your product to the market through a fail-proof and data-driven strategy? Read this article on creating an effective go-to-market strategy.

You’re building a great product. You’ve tried a beta version, received great feedback, and now you’re constantly iterating to make the solution more value-add for the users. 

But, how do you exactly launch your product in the market when the competition is fierce, and you're confused about how to make an impactful entry into the market?

Enter a data-driven and customer-centric go-to-market (GTM) strategy.

This is not just another strategy document, but your guiding light that will determine how you launch your product in the market, how you should tackle problems, or communicate with customers.

Without a rock solid go-to-market strategy, you’re headed towards the dark — you don’t know how the market will react to your launch, what consumers need in the current market situation, or which issues you’ll face in the initial days. And so, in this article, we’ll help you map out a go-to-market strategy that you can use to set your product for launch.

What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy? 

A go-to-market strategy is a roadmap to help you launch a product to market. It identifies your target audience within a market, outlines the best way to launch your product, and positions it as a solution to the customer’s overarching problems.

The GTM strategy encompasses your entire business — sales, product, marketing, engineering; every single facet of your company comes together to win a new market or customer base successfully. 

One of the most crucial benefits behind a GTM strategy is it aligns every team to the strategy and connects all the dots in the organization, so everyone moves in the same direction as a unit to achieve the goal.

For example, if you’re the founder of a small bootstrapped company, every single decision you make will be connected to your GTM strategy. Or, if you’re a large company, all of your teams will be aligned and united under a common goal — whether it’s growing an existing market or entering a new market for the first time. 

Types of go-to-market strategies to consider

There are different types of GTM strategies like account-based marketing (ABM), sales enablement, and inbound marketing or demand generation. However, there’s no black or white answer to which approach you should choose. This varies with product, organization, target audience, vision, market potential, and competitors.

Let’s look at the two most common GTM approaches:

  • Product-led: A product-led go-to-market strategy places the product at the center of all customer acquisition and retention efforts. It positions the product in the market by analyzing quantitative metrics and qualitative feedback like customer behavior. 

Slack is an excellent example of product-led growth. It’s highly likely that if you’re using Slack today, it’s not because you came across its ads. Instead, people sung high praises of the product or one of your team members recommended the platform, and soon, it became an important part of your tech stack.

  • Sales-led: A sales-led strategy uses tactics to capture interested users' interest and contact information to pass it to the sales team and qualify prospects for the account executives to target and convert them into customers. Besides having a great product, you also need to have highly-niched sales strategies to pull customers into purchasing your product.

Salesforce is a product that flexed the persuasive power of its sales team to gather customers and grow through powerful marketing, sales, and account executive teams.

6 steps to build a go-to-market strategy

There’s a simple six-step action plan that will help you start building a GTM strategy to launch your own product:

1. Define your goal and set up a solid framework

To define a go-to-market strategy, you need to know where you’re headed. Otherwise, you’ll be throwing things on the wall, hoping they stick. Here, goal setting is the most significant task that can determine the trajectory of your product, define product success, and how your target audience will perceive it.

But just setting goals isn’t enough, you need SMART goals — those that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. 

For example, saying “I want to increase our market share” isn’t enough. 

Instead, say, “I want to increase our product’s market share by 10% by Q2 2023 through a product-led strategy."

Once you have your GTM goals set and aligned with your larger business goals, set up a framework for the strategy. One of the most popular ones is the product-channel-market-model framework created by Brian Belfore.

This framework emphasizes all four core aspects of setting a product in the market by forcing you to think about crucial interconnections that determine product success. Let’s look at this model in detail:

  • Product: Here, you’ll write down which problem you’re solving, what kind of product you’re offering, to whom you’re selling, and how your product fares against your competitors.
  • Market: In this section, you’ll note down granular details about your target audience, why you want to pursue them, how your product will help them and how you can reach out to this audience in a compelling way. (Wynter’s buyer intelligence survey helps exactly do this, but in a more data-driven manner with highly-specific quantitative and qualitative feedback)
  • Channels: Here, you want to identify your primary customer acquisition and partnership channels that will help you drive revenue, product growth and more customers. 
  • Model: This section defines how you’ll sell and deliver your product to your customers—per-seat, invite-only, free trial, or other product delivery options.

This goal and framework will act as an action plan to guide your go-to-market strategy and help ensure you don’t go off track. It will also act as a central document all teams can come back to validate their ideas before implementing them.

2. Identify and understand your target market 

Understanding your customer doesn’t just mean pinpointing that the product manager of a company can benefit from your product. It requires digging deep into your target audience’s most pressing pain points, identifying what triggers them and how best you can persuade them to purchase from you for years to come.

This will help you craft better-suited strategies to drive results and mold your messaging so it resonates with your audience well.

Some questions you can answer to understand exactly who your audience is are:

  • Which pain points are you solving?
  • Who will benefit the most from your product?
  • What kind of people have the problem you’re solving?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What are their buying patterns and purchasing power?

Once you’ve narrowed down your audience, it’s best to create a buyer persona to niche down further. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer and lists down their motivations, struggles, triggers and background that acts as your north star when creating marketing campaigns, testing your messaging or creating your sales framework.

This is what a buyer persona looks like:

b2b buyer persona exa

The key is to know everything about your audience to ensure you’re tailoring each product experience and touchpoint to convert, nurture, and retain customers. Without this, you’ll be shooting darts in the dark and could end up wasting precious resources and even burn a hole in your pocket.

Pro tip: Use Wynter’s user testing tells you exactly what your target customers think while browsing through your website with video walkthroughs, and use their language to understand their pain points and address them well through your messaging and product features.

3. Perform competitor analysis and assess success gaps

Understanding where your product fits into the market is a core aspect of creating a go-to-market strategy that won’t fall flat on its face. Understanding what your competitors are offering, how they’re helping solve your audience’s problems and what’s missing in their product will help you improve and position your product to drive maximum sales — even if it’s a highly competitive market.

How? Perform a competitor and success gap analysis. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is missing in your competitors’ products that you can offer?
  • What sets you apart from the existing products in the market?
  • What are you doing that no other product/competitor offers?
  • How can you address the audience’s problem in a better way?
  • What does your audience dislike about your competitors’ products? (e.g. read G2 reviews)
  • What are your competitors’ most successful channels, and how are they leveraging them?

By evaluating these aspects of your competitor's products, you’ll understand how your product will fare in the market and what you can do to one-up them and position your product as the go-to solution provider. 

4. Develop and test your core messaging 

No matter how amazing your product is, if it can’t tell your target buyers what exactly you help them do and why they should become your paying customer — it won’t get you the results you’re looking for. 

A go-to-market strategy that doesn’t start with deeply understanding your users is doomed to fail. Whoever understands the customer best wins. Knowing their motivations, fears, hesitations, and unique goals will give you an edge. - Ramli John, Director of Content, Appcues

You need to tailor your offering, USP, and features through crisp messaging that reflects your audience’s language and positions your product in a different light than your competitors. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Analyze customer support tickets, support emails, demo calls, and sales calls to understand your audience’s language and what they use to describe their pain points.
  • Evaluate your competitors’ messaging and how they’re positioning their products on their website and social media.
  • Figure out your USP and identify how best to tailor your messaging for your audience’s pain points.
  • Create a story around your product and how it eases the life of your customers to prepare your messaging.
  • Acknowledge the fact that this messaging is not set in stone, and you can keep repositioning yourself and modifying this messaging to present your product the right way in the market.

While developing your messaging holds immense importance to how you’re perceived by the audience, testing it will give you insights into what’s working, what’s not and how you can iterate on your messaging to improve its impact. 

This can help you understand what customers think while they’re browsing your website through quantitative and qualitative feedback to make your messaging and product positioning more effective.

5. Choose your strategies

To take your product to market and relay your message to your audience, you need to experiment with a host of tactics to see what works best to position your product and get customers. 

Your strategy will depend on your GTM goals, organization, product, and audience, along with the funnel stage you’re targeting. Here are the most popular tactics:

  • Inbound: Using pull marketing strategies like SEO and content marketing, you can get customers to come to you. Your major focus would be on creating highly insightful content and educating your prospects about the problem they’re facing, what your product does and how best they can solve issues.
  • Outbound: Using push marketing strategies like paid ads and cold emails, you actively reach out to your potential customers, acquire them in your funnel and nurture them to become paying customers. 
  • Mix: This is the sweet spot between pull vs. push marketing, where you’re generating demand by capturing the interest of those who find you organically and those who you think would be interested in your product. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing plan or list of tactics you can use to generate demand and ensure you get customers as soon as you take your product to market. But it’s important to research and understand your audience and market enough to play around with different tactics to see what sticks and helps acquire customers.

6. Use data and create a feedback framework to iterate

Your core go-to-market teams will be the product, marketing, sales, and customer success. Cross-functional collaboration facilitated through a feedback loop between these teams will help you set up a seamless way for the teams to work together and improve the product and positioning.

For example, suppose the customer success team finds that they cannot retain customers because they weren’t informed about the different pricing structures accurately during the sales process. Here, the sales team would have to work on their messaging and clarity. However, it’ll be difficult to measure success and actively hit goals without a system to collect, centralize, and convert this feedback into insights.

The solution? Use data and collaboration software to track progress and manage improvements through systematic feedback frameworks that replace guesswork with data to help make important decisions. 

You want to set clear KPIs and metrics for measuring the effectiveness of your GTM strategy, and optimize it with feedback to get better results. Parthi Loganathan, the Founder of Letterdrop and previously, Product Manager at Google agrees. He says,

Treat your GTM as a series of experiments with different channels, messaging, and user segments. You can't improve what you don't measure.

3 go-to-market strategy examples to draw inspiration

Now that we’ve discussed the building blocks of a go-to-market strategy that will make an impact, let’s look at examples from three companies who did this right and how you can draw inspiration from them to nail your own:

1. Salesloft

Salesloft is a sales engagement platform that recently rebranded and made updates in its user interface to shift its messaging to one that enabled sellers to create fantastic buying experiences. 

salesloft GTM strategy

They replaced the capital “L” with the small “l” in the word “Loft,” along with changes in their story, messaging, logo and colors to reflect the growth they saw in the past few years of working with industry leaders. To improve the UI, they transitioned to a more modern version with cleaner visuals, more space and a rich content experience.

Their GTM strategy allowed them to reposition their product as a platform with a rich sales-intuitive interface to make sellers more productive and proactive while selling.

2. Visme

Visme is a graphic maker that allows you to create interactive designs easily through its modern and intuitive editor. They launched the desktop version of their product in 2021, which became an important value-add to GTM strategy inspirations worldwide.

Two significant moves that got Visme maximum brand awareness and product visibility were listing and positioning their product well on ProductHunt and tapping into the executive network of their founders to drive awareness through social media. 

GTM strategy for Visme on Producthunt

Both these narratives were pain point-led, highlighted various product use cases and important customer needs to show exactly how their new product could help. Their Product Hunt presentation was a testament to their GTM strategy as it was filled with product specifications, details, explanations, visuals, use cases, and on-brand look and feel.

3. Upscope

Upscope is an interactive screen-sharing platform specially created for technical teams and IT specialists to present complex presentations or walk other team members or stakeholders through complicated subject matter.

They created a product that helped the tech community present everything to their consumers or team members with utmost ease through interactive features. Their GTM strategy was fairly content marketing-led, positioning their product as the go-to tool for tech folks to carry out walkthroughs. 

They also integrated with various tools and proudly spoke about them through their blogs to further make themselves more visible and distinct from their competitors.

GTM strategy for Upscope

How to get started with your own go-to-market strategy 

If you want to bring a new product to the market, you need a solid go-to-market strategy that can act as both, your guiding star and fallback plan in case things go south. Use the roadmap and GTM strategy examples listed in this article to create your own, set the groundwork for launching your product in the market, and get the customers you deserve.

Want to make your GTM strategy more data-backed and accurate? Start by getting insights into your target customers and testing your messaging to drive results based on conscious effort and not luck!

FAQs 

  1. Who is responsible for the GTM strategy? 

A go-to-market approach is an organization-wide strategy that requires cross-functional collaboration between sales, marketing, strategy, product and customer success teams, aligned with executive buy-in.

  1. What is the difference between go-to-market strategy and marketing strategy? 

A marketing strategy defines a roadmap for a company to reach new heights in the market, acquire and retain customers, deliver what they promise to the customers in the right way, and with public visibility as social proof. However, a go-to-market strategy is a roadmap dedicating to launching a new product or service into the market and position it against the customers’ pain points to drive conversions and revenue.

  1. What does a GTM team do?

The GTM team creates awareness around the product and uses messaging to position the product in the market with a unique value proposition. Its goal is to acquire and retain new customers through engagement and improved customer experience.

  1. What is the difference between GTM and RTM?

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is product-focused and aims at driving revenue through customer acquisitions and repeat purchases as a result of good messaging and positioning. A route-to-market strategy (RTM) is profit-focused and aims to deliver the product to the customers in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.


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