The Ultimate Guide to Building a Go-To-Market Strategy (With Examples)

Planning helps companies of all sizes successfully achieve their goals. Among these plans are go-to-market strategies. Go-to-market strategies are paramount in today’s marketplace with intense competition, the need to launch new products and services at record speed, and the demand for delivering ROI (return on investment).

Whether you’re launching a start-up company, unveiling a new product or service line, rebranding, or introducing a product upgrade, an effective go-to-market strategy is a vital component of any successful marketing program. Without it, you risk spending your marketing budget on the wrong things. The consequences are varied, including the company minimising its revenue and profit projections.

With so much at stake, go-to-market strategies are crucial for business success. Below is a guide that defines what a go-to-market strategy is, what the framework includes, and provides examples.

What is a go-to-market strategy?

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a comprehensive action plan that outlines the approach and steps to attract and win new customers, enter new markets, increase market share, and achieve projected sales and marketing goals, revenue, and ROI. The last thing you want is for a new product to fail. There can be several reasons, but the usual culprits include weak or poorly executed product launches. You can avoid this if you have a well-thought-out, effective GTM strategy that creates a competitive advantage, can be smoothly implemented, then tracked and modified based on data analytics and customer input.

What are the uses of a go-to-market strategy?

A GTM strategy can apply a variety of marketing efforts, as mentioned earlier. A step-by-step plan forces you to be market- and customer-focused, to think through the issues, and be aware of barriers to entry. You also need to be mindful of potential obstacles you may encounter along the way, and be open to the solutions a new product offers.

The benefits of a well-designed GTM strategy include increasing the likelihood you will achieve the marketing, revenue, and business goals associated with the plan. It can also reduce the time and money spent on your marketing efforts, speed up the sales cycle, and improve ROI.

How do I develop a go-to-market strategy?

A good place to start is answering the “Five Ws and the one H” of marketing: who, what, when, where, why, and how. We’ll use a new product launch as an example.

Why: Determine why you’re spending your marketing budget on a specific GTM strategy. Let’s say you need to spend two-thirds of your annual budget to launch an existing product into a new market to meet the sales and revenue goals. At the same time, you know a new, higher-priced product with a better profit margin, and a shorter sales cycle will be available soon. Is it worth spending over half of your marketing budget on the first product launch, or should you allocate a different amount?

Who: This identifies who you’re selling to. Who are you trying to reach with your marketing messages and the marketing campaign? Who are you trying to influence?

What: What problems and needs does the customer want to address? What solutions will your product provide? What operation(s) will your marketing and sales departments use to win customers? What marketing tactics and tools will you use to reach your audience, differentiate your product, and generate interest?

Where: Where are you going to promote the product? Will you attend events such as trade shows or create branded pop-up shops? Will your campaign primarily rely on inbound marketing? Where will your ads be displayed and incentives offered?

When: Typically, products launch when they are ready, especially if you’re trying to beat a competitor to market. Sometimes, however, other factors determine the timing. If you’re launching a new outdoor product, for example, spring and summer may be the best time to make a big splash in the market.

How: How will you distribute the product? How will you move the customer through the funnel and drive conversions? How will you track your campaign and its elements, identify problems, and make adjustments when necessary?

As you can see, thinking through the whys and the how make you delve into the details, identify challenges, solutions, and answers, and determine how to best craft your GTM strategy from messaging and product positioning to promotion and advertising.


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How to build a go-to-market strategy in 11 steps (framework & examples)?

Below we’ve defined the general elements of a GTM strategy framework and why they’re essential, using a new product launch as an example.

  1. Identify your customers and the people involved in the buying center and their personas: Determine who will buy your product, then drill down into the organization to identify the buying center, i.e., the initiator, influencers, end-users, gatekeepers, decision-makers, approver, and buyers involved. The personas that comprise the buying center can vary. The approver may be the CEO, the president, or the COO. An influencer may be a sales or marketing manager. A user could be an operations manager or a field services manager. The buyer is likely the CFO. Develop a strategy for engaging and influencing each member of the buyer center to complete a sale.
  2. Map out the value matrix: Identify the problems your product can solve for each persona in the buying center, then create messaging that highlights solutions to the main issues each one faces.
  3. Test messaging and positioning: Next, test and refine your messaging before a full product launch. For instance, if digital ads will be a crucial component of your GTM strategy, create A/B tests to determine which messages generate the most click-throughs and conversions.
  4. Analyze and optimize messaging: Evaluate different marketing channels for your product launch and determine which can offer the best performance and highest conversion rate. Include messaging and positioning test results in the analysis.
  5. Identify the steps in your buyer’s journey: Define the steps along the funnel in the buyer journey. Make sure you identify all the touchpoints and offer something to each customer at every touchpoint along the funnel.
  6. Select a sales strategy: The four GTM sales strategies are self service, inside sales, field sales, and channels. Self-service typically applies to B2C sales, where the customer buys a product through a digital storefront. Inside sales are often used in longer sales cycles and when prospects need nurturing along the funnel. The field sales model is where field sales reps interface with potential customers to shepherd them along the funnel and close deals. Lastly, the channel model is where outside partners sell your products for you.
  7. Create brand awareness and build demand: Use inbound and/or outbound marketing programs to build awareness and fill the sales pipeline. Inbound marketing such as social media campaigns, blogs, videos, podcasts, white papers, and SEO (search engine optimization) draws in potential customers. Outbound or “push” marketing includes TV ads, billboards, trade shows, and direct mail.
  8. Create content to generate leads: Inbound marketing focuses on content to drive traffic to your website. This content, of course, must be created and tested. Outbound marketing also requires content to generate awareness, create interest, and drive sales.
  9. Optimize your pipeline and increase conversion rates: Develop ways to measure your GTM strategy’s effectiveness based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Make changes based on the data to optimize results.
  10. Analyze and shorten the sales cycle: Gather and analyze insights about the customer journey, pain points, and objections, then modify your GTM strategy to address them and shorten the sales cycle.
  11. Reduce customer acquisition cost:  Marketing automation is key to inbound marketing, which usually costs less than outbound marketing. These tools, working in the background using established policies to guide potential customers through each stage of the buying journey, help reduce customer acquisition costs and increase ROI.

3 Examples of a GTM strategy with inbound marketing

A GTM strategy typically includes digital marketing to create awareness, pique interest, enhance the customer experience, and generate sales. Below are a few examples.

  • Email announcements: Email can be targeted and used to announce new products or features and convert prospects into new customers. Another use is to upsell existing customers.
  • New website page: Create a new page on your website associated with one or more digital ads or emails to educate customers about new products or features and offer special promotions. Ads can direct customers to unique pages by attaching UTMs to the URL.
  • Social media ads: Promote a new product, feature, or service via advertisements on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Social media platforms allow you to identify specific demographics and target markets, including geographic locations.

How is a go-to-market strategy different from a business model?

Business plans include the company’s mission, vision, goals, objectives, financial plan, market analysis, including TAM, SAM, SOM, product plans, competitive analysis and positioning, and more at a business-wide level. GTM strategies complement marketing and business plans on a more focused, tactical level.

Key characteristics of a GTM strategy include:

  • Greater focus on new products: A company’s marketing strategy doesn’t include launching new products or services. GTM strategies complement the marketing strategy and focus more explicitly on how new offerings are introduced and how to achieve the highest conversion rate to drive growth.
  • Expansion: When expanding into a new market or segment with an existing product, review your GTM strategy for that product or service, and update if necessary. Different markets may require messaging, positioning, and customized content tailored to the market. Even the buyer journey may be different.
  • Relaunch: Product relaunches occur for various reasons. Sometimes the process only involves new packaging or a name change. Other cases may include changing the sales channels and distribution plans as well. Whatever the case may be, relaunching requires a well-thought-out GTM strategy designed to ensure the endeavor is successful.

Key characteristics of a business model include:

  • Brand values: The business model states the core brand value a company stands for and its overarching mission and vision, which usually tie into the core brand value.
  • How to stay true to the brand: Brand authenticity is essential today. Customers and prospects are quick to notice and be critical when your business doesn’t follow the brand’s messages and promise. Abide by the core principles, mission statement, and vision outlined in your business model and weave them into the company culture to stay true to the brand.
  • A more defined brand vision: Brand vision refers to the ideas behind a brand that help guide its future. The business model helps clarify this vision by outlining the brand’s concepts and promises and how it reflects and supports the business strategy, differentiates it from competitors, inspires customers, and creates brand loyalty.

Next steps

A go-to-market strategy can make or break a new product. Depending on the anticipated revenues and profits, it can even make or break a company, especially those relying on a single product or product line. Taking the time to create, implement, and track a solid GTM strategy is critical for success.

If you don’t have the available staff or have a team with the appropriate experience and knowledge to create a go-to-market strategy or track its success and make adjustments when required, consider staff augmentation. Staff augmentation increases your team’s talent capacity, filling the gaps with high-quality, independent professionals who have the right skills. Upwork enables you to hire top talent with the confidence of using the world’s work marketplace.

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