Are you wondering how to define your go to market strategy?
A good go to market strategy is essential for startup businesses. It can make all the difference in success or failure, and how quickly you gain traction. Aside from the team, you choose to recruit, this is probably the most important factor in ensuring your venture makes it.
So, what is a go to market strategy exactly? What difference can it really make? What are the steps for defining it and making the right choices through the process?
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Go To Market Strategy 101
Go to market strategy is one of the key pillars of starting a business.
It is much like a marketing strategy. With one big difference. This is your initial getting to market plan. Versus an ongoing marketing plan. This is how you are going to get started and get your company, product, and service out there.
When thinking about how to define your go to market strategy, keep it mind that GTM also answers the main foundational questions every company needs to handle before they really start marketing. As well as projecting the results from this strategy.
See below a good example of how you would be presenting the go to market strategy in your pitch deck.
Remember that you need to master the story which is what raising money is all about and for that, you need a pitch deck. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
The Importance Of Go To Market Strategy
The importance of tackling how to define your go to market strategy relies on being able to present it well cannot be overstated.
Taking the time to define a good go to market strategy from the beginning means getting it right out of the gate. If you don’t, then at best you may waste months of time and a great deal of your precious capital.
Get this right and you’ll prove your concept fast, and can begin turning your idea into real users and revenues fast.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them
Defined well, it will give you the credibility to recruit the best team members too. Plus, even beyond your own business plan and budgeting, one of the top things potential investors are going to be looking at when evaluating your pitch is the strength of your GTM, and how much effort you’ve put into it.
So, where do you start with creating your go to market strategy?
What Defines A Good Go To Market Strategy Plan?
Preferably gives you an advantage in the market
You may want to outdo and displace big encumberments you don’t believe are serving customers well. Though, this may not be the time to go direct head to head with a David versus Goliath approach. Even if you have raised some funds for your startup, your go to market may benefit from a more guerilla marketing approach that helps you out navigate the competition, rather than simply seeing who can outspend each other on ads and time.
The best startups find ways to go to market in new ways to at least create a temporary moat around their ventures, and to maximize their ROI.
It’s unique to you and your ideal customers
A successful got to market plan is customized just for you and your ideal customers. The worst thing you can try to do is to just copy what you see others trying. That may not be what’s right for your venture or this stage. Unless you have hard proof from inside their organization that those tactics are profitable for them, you don’t know if it is their biggest loser yet.
So, just because everyone else is running Facebook ads or offering demos of their software, don’t copy that unless you’ve done the research and are certain it is perfect for you.
Proves product market fit
The optimal outcome of your go to market strategy should be proving that you have product market fit.
It will show that you’ve nailed solving the customer pain point, and they are happy to pay for it, and love the product.
Secondary to that is at least engaging customers and discovering the tweaks you need to make to get product market fit. At least you’ll already have the doors open to your customers and have them on tap once you’ve made those requested edits.
Alternatively, it will show you’ve got a whole lot of work and pivoting to do. So, the faster you can find out which of these buckets you are currently in and can adjust, the better.
The image below represents what product market fit looks like.
The unit economics work
Not all startups and even investors care about nailing unit economics, revenues and real profits in the early stages of a venture. Still, unless you have a path to positive and profitable unit economics, you really don’t have a real business. Not one that can sustain itself and survive. At least not without neverending capital being sunk into it.
While you still may have a lot of tweaking to do, and may begin with doing things that don’t scale, your go to market will hopefully give you a lot of clarity on your unit economics, and where you need to tighten up.
Defines what success looks like in metrics, or not
As a part of your go to market planning, you should also be defining what determines if this effort has been successful, or not.
Put a date on it. Decide if you haven’t achieved X by Y date, then you are going to call it a loss, and either rework your plan, or start everything over from scratch.
Decide what determines it is successful and is worth continuing on. That may be a certain number of signups, paid customers, orders, or something else. Just know, and give everyone on the team something to shoot for, and clarity on the future.
It’s a match for your brand and skills
There are many, many ways to get to market and to market your company, products and services. Those that are outside the scope of your expertise, budget and aren’t a fit for your brand are going to be much harder to pull off. You’ll also be much more likely to throw in the towel after wasting a lot of time and money.
At this stage of your business, and especially if you are still in a lean startup mode, it is probably better to tailor your plan to your current skills and infrastructure strengths. That includes what needs to be created to go to market and execute on this plan, as well as to handle leads that are generated, and to fulfill those incoming orders. This will make everything move more easily and affordably, than going too far outside of your comfort zone. You can always build on this later as you grow your resources and team.
Pinpoints the right stage in the customer journey to address now
The go to market strategy and plan should provide more clarity on the customer journey. You should be able to identify those steps that take them through to a sale.
Then decide at which point in that journey you are going to target them with your go to market plan.
This may depend on whether you are creating a brand new category, or are providing an out of the box solution to an urgent pain point customers are already spending money on to solve. As well as the type of customer you are targeting. Enterprise level customers may take years to turn into dollars. Every day retail customers may buy on the first click.
Depending on the funding your startup has, and how much you expect to be able to put in the bank after hitting any milestones achievements that come out of this go to market push, you may need to be very disciplined on which part of the journey you target. You may be limited in what you can afford to do right now. Though you can always expand on that later, and cover the entire journey.
What’s Most Important In A Go To Market Plan?
What are the most important elements of a go to market strategy?
You’ve got to be able to afford to execute on the plan. In terms of financial budget, allocating labor and time. You may have to make a decision between going all in on this with everything you’ve got, and saving something to survive in case this plan doesn’t work. Either way, you have to be able to afford to see it through, and keep going with it long enough to get results.
It gets results
Your plan has to get results. It has to produce value. Being too cheap is no good if it doesn’t yield customers and sales, or worse, burns opportunities with customers you may never get the chance to connect with again. That’s expensive. At the other end of the scale, being too expensive is no good, if it is too complicated and takes too long to implement and see some tangible results to keep fueling the tank.
Tight feedback loop
A strong go to market strategy should include a tight feedback loop. The faster you can get data back in to assess results, and optimize on the fly the better. You do need to run tests that are large enough and long enough to be reliable. Though if you can optimize as you go, you’ll get much better returns on your efforts.
Define Your Target Market
Where will you begin with targeting customers as part of how to define your go to market strategy?
Are you going to begin focusing on a certain geographic market? Or a segment of the market? Be as specific as possible at the beginning. The world is your oyster and there is a great chance you can expand and go global later. Though the most focused you are from the start, the most impact you can have with your budget and time.
What category are you in, and who are you solving this problem for?
Define Your Target Customer
Inside your target market, who is your target customer? This is a critical part when it comes down to how to define your go to market strategy.
Be precise. At least as precise as you can be with the information and research you can get your hands on.
Get really granular on these demographics. If this is a B2B business, what size company is your target? How new or established are they? Who are their customers? Who within the organization is your target contact?
If this is a B2C business, who exactly is your target customer? How old are they? How much do they make? What are their interests, and the other brands they shop and affiliate with? What are their lifestyle preferences?
Create customer profiles and personas to guide everything else you do.
Define Your Brand Positioning
Equipped with the information above you can now really select a brand position that will resonate and be effective.
If you’ve done a really great and detailed job with your personas, and have some basic knowledge of psychology you can even perfectly pinpoint the optimal fonts and colors to use in your brand identity.
You’ll know whether you should lean on the side of trendy, luxury, discount, or something else. You’ll have a clear picture of the words, designs, and everything else you need to create a winning brand.
Define Your Unique Selling Proposition
What is your unique selling proposition or unique value proposition for your target customers?
As part of addressing how to define your go to market strategy, it is key to understand what’s so special about your company or product that makes it stand out so much from everyone else? What is so moving that they can’t ignore you or pass up the chance to try you out? What can you do 10x or 100x better than anyone else?
If you don’t know yet, then you really need to go back and start from scratch and find a real problem to solve, and a solution people are hungry for.
Define Your Marketing Channels
How will you reach out and connect with your target customers?
Will you do it directly or through affiliate partners or third-party marketplaces?
Which channels will you use? Will it be via email, phone sales, outdoor, or broadcast advertising? Will it be LinkedIn, SEO content marketing, podcasting, or in-person sales?
How will you both build brand awareness and get real sales?
While the focus is good and important at this stage of business, it is also smart to have some diversification in your marketing. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, but don’t spread yourself too thin and become ineffective or run out of money either.
Go To Market Channels To Consider
Remember that these decisions are all about what’s right for you and your unique target customers. Just because Facebook or YouTube appears to be used by your competitors, doesn’t mean it is a smart or profitable choice for your startup’s go to market strategy.
First, let’s look at types of go to market strategies and categories.
Types Of Go To Market Strategies
1. Channel/Distribution Partners
Perhaps you won’t be selling directly to your own end customers. It may be through another distribution partner. Like selling on the shelves of Walmart, or having a bigger software company bundle your products in with theirs. This can allow you to sell a lot in bulk fast, though while your cost of sales may be lower, your sales prices may be lower, and profit margins thinner. It may take longer to close these deals too.
2. Field & Inside Direct Sales
This strategy revolves around having your own sales team. They may handle some inbound, but are tasked with drumming up business and closing it. They may go door to door, hustle on the phone to cold call or get out and do as many meetings as they can. This can be labor intensive, and expensive, even if you are only paying on a performance basis. Though it can also be an aggressive and proactive approach to just getting out there and asking for the sale.
3. Self-Service Models
In contrast to the above, this model is about getting awareness of your product or service, getting your product in front of them, and enabling prospects to buy in self-service fashion. Such as through your own website, online ads on third party platforms like Instagram, or in marketplaces like Amazon.
Types Of Go To Market Channels You May Use
Your go to market plan may include some of the following.
Press & Official Launch
You may plan a big official and public launch led by a press campaign. That can be supported by other efforts such as outbound messaging, online ads, and outdoor advertising.
An SEO and content marketing strategy can help gain visibility and draw prospective customers to you. This can include running your own blog, free social media, podcasting, and video broadcasting on YouTube.
The most common form of this today is probably Google and Facebook ads. PPC or CPM. This can also extend to LinkedIn, Twitter and other similar channels. TV and longer length films may also be a part of this for some.
There are many ways to use events. This can run the gamut from casual meetups, to hosting booths at industry trade shows, to hosting your own launch events and being featured on panels. More recently webinars have become a popular form of online event.
Getting in online catalogs may be all some need to make sales. This could be major marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart.com
Create A Go To Market Budget
If you are just winging it, you and your team won’t be well prepared to get the most out of this launch, not ensuring you are getting value out of your plan. You will either blow all of your potential by doing too little. Or burn far too much, and risk bankrupting the entire business opportunity and mission.
Decide what you can afford and dedicate to this. For how long? This may be a period of several months from ramping up to giving your tests long enough to have reliable data to consult.
Your budget will also influence and determine the best moves for your go to market. It will guide your strategists and marketing teams on what you can and can’t afford to do in your plan. Give them a budget to save time and tailor your go to market right the first time.
Make a budget for your go to market first, before anything else. Because, if you can’t nail this part of the business, you don’t need to build the product or service anyway.
Create Your Financial Model
This is where the rubber meets the road and ties all of these parts together.
If you are new to sales and marketing and unleashing a go to market strategy, then it is wise to consult those with some fresh expertise in this arena. Lacking this, begin with solid industry benchmarks for the types of results you might expect from any given campaign.
Using a dynamic financial model you can test various scenarios and back out the math or work forward based upon your goals and milestones you need to hit, or what you really believe is realistic from past industry experience, and any sales commitments and contracts you have secured so far.
How many customers and dollars will you achieve if you invest X in this strategy?
Putting Your GTM Strategy Into Action
When thinking how to define your go to market strategy you need to keep in mind the following factors:
- Create a countdown timeline to ensure everything is ready for launch
- Decide who you need to hire or dedicate to this plan, and get that done
- Identify what materials you need to create to execute on this strategy
- Take action and start crossing things off of your to do list
Hopefully, this post provided some color as you are exploring how to define your go to market strategy.
I cover this topic in detail in the video below How To Define Your Go To Market Strategy.
* * *
FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS VIDEO:
Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to define your go-to-market strategy. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that Subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week.
When you’re building a business, besides the team, besides defining the business model, understanding how you’re going to go out to market and make it happen is everything. In today’s video, we’re going to be breaking it down for you and giving you the step-by-step guide in order to make it happen.
In terms of go-to-market strategy, what it means is the channels that you’re going to be using to get to the market for the first time. It is, essentially, the marketing plan, but more importantly, the marketing plan that you’re planning to use in order to get there and to get in front of your customers so that you generate that excitement to get them involved.
A really good marketing strategy or go-to-market strategy is the one that gives you an edge over your competitors. The best ones are the ones that are giving you the best return on the investment. You need to understand who your players are out there that are competing against you, either directly or indirectly, and what they’re doing and what’s working for them, and what can you do in order to make it better in a more effective and efficient way that is less costly? At that point, you will be able to really nail it and be in a position to wow investors and anyone else that wants to get involved with your business.
A successful go-to-market strategy is one that allows you to get in front of your customers. You need to understand where those live, how you can target them, and what are the channels that you’re going to be using to target them? If it’s men, then maybe you want to go to magazines that have to do with men or to hubs online or to groups online where those are actually engaging. If it’s for women, maybe you can use channels like Pinterest where you can get in front of them, in front of the stuff that they use and they like to use. And you need to understand where your potential customers are going to live and what are going to be those channels that are going to cause you the least amount of money? That is ultimately what is going to define a really successful go-to-market strategy.
For the go-to-market strategy, there are different channels that you can use. Some of them are going to be working best, and some of them are not going to work as well for you. The top channels that typically you may want to look into are the following:
- Website design
- Search engine optimization, SEO
- Social media
- Search engine marketing
- Email marketing
- Analytics and reporting
- Paid advertising
A successful go-to-market strategy is going to prove product/market fit. Product/market fit is essentially when people would be extremely disappointed if they could no longer use your product or service. That’s how you know if you have product/market fit. If you actually survey your own customers and if 60-65% don’t say that they would be extremely disappointed, then that means that you need to go back to the drawing board. But ultimately, you want to go to marketing channels and to hubs where you can get in front of those customers that are going to be the most engaged with your product and your service.
In a successful go-to-market strategy, you are going to find that the unit economics work. So that means if you put $1 in, you take $2 or $3 out, or whatever that is, but you need to know that whatever money that you’re putting in is coming out with money on top of that. Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense. So you want to make sure that whatever you’re putting in is going to give you a nice return on investment.
What are the most important items in a successful go-to-market strategy? Ultimately, it’s affordable, so it’s a channel that is easy for you; it fits with the budget that you have, and it is also relatable so that your potential customers can relate with it. That’s ultimately what is going to define the success of the strategy and how you’re executing. So, again, you need to make sure that whatever you’re doing matches with your budget and with the channels and how you’re thinking about spending money to get more money and to get those customers in the door in a way that they’re fully retained.
Before knowing which channel you are going to use and where you’re going to be marketing, you need to define your customer. Where do they live? What is their geographic location? What’s their gender? What’s their age? What kind of studies do they have, whether it’s just high school, grad school, college? All of those metrics and those data points are going to allow you to understand where those could live and how you can have more of a targeted campaign in order to get in front of those people and close it.
Then you want to define your brand positioning. Is it going to be a luxury type of brand? Is it going to be more toward discounts? What kind of look and feel do you want to give to it? Once you understand your customer, you need to create something: a packaging or a positioning that will resonate with them because that’s going to increase your chances of closing them and onboarding them as customers.
Then you want to understand what is your unique selling proposition? This is something that you’re going to be using when you’re getting out there, whether it’s on the copy, whether it’s on the images. For this, one thing that you could do is to have a ton of calls, a ton of meetings, and to survey customers and potential customers so that you understand what’s missing in the market and what will get them excited to sign up right away for a service that is covering those pain points. Again, that is going to be something that allows you to understand a solution, service, or product that you’re bringing to market that is better, more effective, and that covers a clear gap that the direct and indirect competitors are leaving in the market.
Then you want to create your marketing budget. The marketing budget is going to be part of the exercise of putting together your financial model. In your financial model, you’re going to come up with your valuation, the projections, the amount to raise, and all of that good stuff. But in that financial model, you’re going to come up, as well, with the marketing budget. That marketing budget is what you are intending to allocate on your initiative in your venture every month or perhaps every year, but you need to have that set in stone and have it also in a way that you are clearly aligned with your other team members.
Then it’s all about putting your go-to-market strategy into action. Some of the things that you can do to kick it into high gear are the following:
- Create a countdown timeline to ensure everything is ready for the launch.
- Decide who you need to hire or dedicate to this plan.
- Identify what materials you need to create to execute on this strategy.
- Take action and start crossing things off of your to-do list.
Hopefully, this gave you a really good idea on how to get out there with a bang and define that marketing strategy that is going to get those customers to come on board and to also be retained and super-thrilled about what you’re doing.
If you like this video, shoot a Like. Also, Subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on all the videos that we’re rolling out every week. Then, also, leave a comment and let me know what kinds of channels or strategies you’re actually implementing that are working out. And if you are raising money, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you out with your capital-raising efforts. Thank you so much for watching.