The Fundamentals of Building A Go-To-Market Strategy

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Without doubt, every business needs a go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Prepared with rigour and attention to detail, it will act as your blueprint for doing business, providing both the foundation and direction for all key business imperatives, from revenue and sales to marketing and partners, focusing on individual teams and cross-functional departments.

Typically drawn up as multi-year plans, many organizations also break GTM plans down into ‘living’ documents that are continually updated, revised and adapted on the basis of experience and as a result of business performance.

Key points to consider when crafting a GTM plan include some basic, but critical questions, such as: “What is the compelling reason for starting my business?”, “How well do I understand and address the current needs of my market?”, and “Do I have a good understanding of how to reach my customers with the right message at the right time?”

As a result– and without exception, GTM planning should always be based on market research, and whether you are doing it yourself or relying on third party analysis, it is critical to understand the market for what you are selling or providing.

An important part of this process is what I refer to as the ‘reverse waterfall’. For instance, if you generate x number of leads, how many sales will that generate, and how many does it need to generate to deliver break-even performance and profit? From there, you can start to understand how your business can focus on growth targets and what you might need to do to get there. It is basic planning, but absolutely vital and can help you understand whether your plans are viable.

As businesses grow, many organizations, particularly those that are established in their domestic markets, find they need a GTM plan for international expansion. It’s not uncommon to supplement market research and analysis by making a prudent investment in a first overseas market. U.S. businesses looking to Europe, for example, often view the UK as a logical place to begin; there are many shared cultural norms, obvious language advantages, and a focused initial investment can de-risk the process and help ambitious businesses gain invaluable experience in a new market.

Another tried and tested GTM tactic for many businesses looking to expand and reach their potential is to work with partners. Whether the model requires the use of a distribution partner, a value-added reseller or a referral partner, building a mutually beneficial partner ecosystem can turbo-charge business growth, help spread risk and scale resources. But again, planning is key – what constitutes an ideal partner, for instance? Are they active in the target market and is your business model attractive enough to make cooperation worthwhile for both parties?

But wherever you are located and however you are building your business, the voice of the customer is very important in ensuring the relevance and accuracy of a GTM plan, and this may vary considerably from country to country. And while it may make for difficult reading, look closely at feedback from customers – listen to them and address any issues. This kind of feedback can help business leaders adjust their GTM planning and avoid costly mistakes in the future.

By putting these components together, businesses can significantly improve their chances of success whatever stage of development they are at. From start-ups looking at getting an exciting new venture off the ground, to well established brands that need help to take on new international opportunities, GTM planning helps organizations make pragmatic, well informed decisions and stay in control of their own destiny.

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