Tips to Create a Successful Go-to-Market Plan
By Ratish Pandey: Challenged finding the right product-market fit? Fantastic product but no market traction? Time to take a step back and what went awry?
Did we miss out on drafting a go-to-market strategy? Lack of a proper framework to take products to market can lead to chasing up the wrong tree, incorrect launch timing, or entering an already saturated market.
Many a Start-up waste time and resources in product investment just because they forgot to complement their efforts with a judiciously well-thought-out go-to-market strategy, often going out of business.
A survey shows that only 40% of start-ups manage to turn profitable, while 90% of all start-ups fail within ten years of their business.
Thus, investing in drafting a go-to-market strategy before launching products in the market would be wise.
What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A Go-to-market strategy is an action plan that outlines the steps a company needs to take when entering a new market or launching a new product.
It entails identifying a target market, explaining the value proposition of the product being developed, and identifying the best fit distribution strategy.
At first glance, it looks amazingly like a traditional marketing plan, but the two are very different. A marketing plan maps the product lifecycle adapting to the product lifecycle to maximise returns at each stage.
In contrast, the go-to-market strategy focuses on the best way to introduce the product to maximise its chances of success. In many ways, it lays the foundation for creating the marketing plan.
Why a Go-To-Market Strategy
How does a go-to-market strategy ensure a product’s launch in the market?
For the answer, let us look at the advantages a go-to-market strategy brings to the table in terms of insight and knowledge that can impact the outcome of the launch significantly.
Help understand and identify the Marketplace – Go-to-market strategy involves understanding the market landscape – the customer, competing offerings, their USP, and target market segment (geographically & demographically).
Understanding the market dynamics helps a company identify if the differentiation planned in the product is good enough to withstand the market test and the features that need to be focused upon to get the desired customer attention while differentiating it from its competition and arriving at sale projections.
Customer insights help create a customer profile, which can be used as input while drafting the messaging and choosing the distribution channel.
Enables time and cost saving – A well-drafted customer profile ensures the effectiveness of the marketing communications saving costs on hits and trials.
Messaging, choice of media, and channels of communication can be optimized while focusing on maximizing return on investment from the day of launch.
Go-to-market strategies also help prioritize tasks, troubleshoot product positioning, and help define distribution channels, ensuring maximum market impact when a product is launched.
Increasing Growth – Once you have arrived at the right distribution network and have the product placed in the right neighborhood with a messaging that resonates with the target customer while differentiating your offering, there is no reason for product acceptance not to follow.
A well-designed and executed Go-to-market strategy not only places the products in the right place but creates a value proposition for the product among its target audience, increasing traction.
Furthermore, the go-to-market strategy enables one to plan and access data ahead of time, enabling quick seizure of growth opportunities.
The Go-to-market strategy team needs to be cross-functional, requiring representatives from marketing, sales, finance, and operations.
Creating a go-to-market framework involves:
Zero onto the Market and Customer – An essential aspect of building a go-to-market strategy is finding the most lucrative market for the product. It involves scanning the market for demographics, buyer psychographics, competition, and geographical trends.
Porter’s five forces framework is a good tool for identifying the market, growth trends, and potential barriers to entry. Porter’s five forces are as follows:
- Power of Buyers
- Power of Suppliers
- Rivalry Between the Existing Competition
- The threat of New Entrants
- The threat of Substitute Products
Once a target market has been identified, creating a customer profile should be the outcome. Next is to validate the customer profile through online surveys, interviews, focus groups, and research.
Customer validation helps arrive at customer understanding based on their behaviors, preferences, and goals, which will be the inputs for drafting the marketing message.
Defining The Company’s Brand and Value Proposition – Once the target customer is profiled, the product features and USPs need to be outlined.
These need to be mapped against other players in the market in the same space. Next, the step is to create a value matrix, which connects a product to the problem it is solving while communicating the value to the shareholders.
Building a value matrix involves creating the pain points for each target customer and how the product provides the solution.
Building a Sales Model – The target market and value funnel help us arrive at the target market, but a sales funnel is required to arrive at the potential customers.
A sales funnel consists of the following steps:
- Lead generation
- Lead qualification
The sales funnel defines the sales strategy for the product and the business model that would best serve it. It involves decisions around strategies such as value-based selling, consultative selling, and/or solution selling.
Developing a Marketing Strategy – Once a sales strategy has been determined, the company needs to decide how to generate product demand through its marketing efforts.
Choosing the best fit – an inbound or outbound strategy is one key element. An outbound marketing strategy targets customers who have not raised a hand, but the company believes are the target audience for their product or services.
At the same time, an inbound strategy targets customer leads who have expressed interest in the company’s product.
Once a marketing strategy has been outlined that would be the best fit to generate demand, the next step is to identify the most optimal way to target customers through a content marketing strategy.
Content marketing involves creating compelling content to attract buyers and utilizing search engine optimization to ensure the highest visibility.
Using KPIs to Track Sales – The final piece of the puzzle when developing a go-to-market strategy is choosing a system that can measure the product’s or service’s sales performance.
Incorporating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as sales volume, conversion rate, and time to hit the sales goals is a good practice.
Other vital measures when tracking a product’s sale include lowering customer acquisition costs, maximizing the average revenue per customer, and shortening the sales cycle.
LAUNCHING a new product Can seem daunting and chaotic, requiring a lot of time and investment. But one can bring a system to this chaos and ensure success in the process.
The method in question is a robust, well-drafted go-to-market framework with a matrix to measure its deliverables and build a course correction ability.
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