You and your team have been working around the clock to launch a new product. It's almost finished and you can't wait to release it into the world. You just know that when people see what it can do, they'll be fighting each other like cats and dogs to get their hands on it.
That might be true — but only if you've developed a successful go-to-market strategy. If you haven't, your product launch will likely be disappointing. Keep reading to learn what a go-to-market strategy is, why it's important, and how to create one in five simple steps.
What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
Let's start with a definition. According to Hubspot, a go-to-market (GTM) strategy is:
"The way in which a company brings a product to market. It generally includes a business plan outlining the target audience, marketing plan, and sales strategy. Each product and market are different, therefore each GTM strategy should be thoroughly thought out, mapping a market problem and solution a product offers."
Pretty simple, right? A GTM strategy is just the way a company decides to introduce their product to the world. Later in this article, we'll talk about what is a good go-to-market strategy. But first, let's talk about why you need one in the first place.
Why do You Need a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy will ensure your company launches its next product competitively and cost effectively. Let's look at each of these benefits in greater detail:
Launch Your Product Competitively
Unless you've created a revolutionary product that's completely different from everything else already on the market, you're going to have competition. A go-to-market strategy will help you determine the best way to differentiate your product from your competitors' offerings.
For example, let's say you plan to launch a new line of activewear. Your competitors include mega corporations like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas. How will you compete?
After studying the industry, maybe you realize that your products can be sold for much more affordable prices, while maintaining a similar level of quality. This is an important differentiator you can use on your go-to-market strategy to launch your activewear brand competitively.
Launch Your Product Cost-Effectively
A go-to-market strategy will also enable you to launch your new product cost effectively. Let's get back to our activewear example to illustrate this...
You know that you're going to launch your athletic brand as a budget-friendly alternative to brands like Nike. Now you need to know who will be most interested in your products, how they'll want to buy them, and which marketing channels will be most beneficial.
After studying the industry, you might decide that your ideal customer is a stay-at-home mom in her thirties who likes to buy products off of Amazon and can be reached through Pinterest.
A proper go-to-market strategy will force you to understand your audience, identify the right sales strategy, and choose appropriate marketing channels. These things will, in turn, help you successfully reach your target audience in the most cost-effective ways possible.
Note: We have no idea if a budget-friendly activewear brand for stay-at-home moms should be sold on Amazon and marketed via Pinterest. That's not our area. It was just an example to help illustrate the benefits of a go-to-market strategy. Cool? Cool...
A 5-Step Process to Develop a Go-to-Market Strategy
We know what a go-to-market strategy is and why it's essential to a successful product launch. Now let's talk about crafting one for your company. Simply follow the five-step process below to create a winning GTM strategy you can rely on:
1. Study Your Target Market
Who is your product for? That's the first question you must answer when crafting your go-to-market strategy, which you can do by creating buyer personas.
If you're not familiar with the term, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It should include demographic details like gender, age, job description, income level, etc., as well as psychographic information like hope, fears, and daily challenges.
Study your target market to craft accurate buyer personas you can use in all of your marketing efforts — both for this product launch and future ones.
Next, you need to understand the journey your prospect will go on before buying the kind of product you're offering. This is known as the buyer's journey. In general, it goes like this:
- Buyer realizes they have a problem and looks for ways to fix it.
- Buyer identifies possible solutions to their problem(s).
- Buyer thoroughly researches solutions and picks one to invest in.
Your job is to create positive buying experiences at each of these stages, which you can do with top-notch content like blogs, social media posts, ebooks, case studies, and product demonstration videos. You can also do it with human-to-human interactions via your company's customer support and sales teams.
Once you've identified who your product is for and the unique journey they'll go on before purchasing from you, it's time to move on to step two.
2. Identify the Right Sales Strategy
Now that you understand your target customer, you can choose how you'll sell them your new product. There are four main sales strategies you should be aware of:
This sales strategy allows customers to make purchases on their own. For example, a customer visits a website, browses the available products, adds the ones she wants to an online cart, and buys them without ever talking to a sales rep. This is the typical model chosen by most B2C companies and is generally best for those selling low-price products.
While you won't need a sales team to find success with this sales strategy, you will need a strong marketing department to drive traffic.
2. Inside Sales:
Inside sales strategies require sales reps to educate and nurture prospects into paying customers over the course of a few weeks or months, though it can occasionally take longer. We generally suggest this sales model for companies selling somewhat complex products at a medium price point, as long as they can generate a high volume of sales.
This sales strategy is fairly easy to set up and scale — you simply have to develop a winning process, then hire more reps and teach it to them.
3. Field Sales:
Organizations that hire full-fledged field sales teams typically sell high-priced, enterprise products that are difficult for the average consumer to understand. Because of this, sales are generally few and far between, but each represents a significant amount of revenue.
Field reps are usually more experienced and expensive to hire than inside sales reps, which means this model can be difficult to scale because of the capital required.
4. Channel Sales:
Finally, we have channel sales, which is when a company hires an outside agency or partner (AKA a retailer like Best Buy) to sell its products for them. This model can be really cheap to set up, though finding the right outside agency can be a pain and working with a partner will give your company much less control over the sales process.
Now, we should note that you don't have to choose just one of the above plans for your GTM strategy. You can use all of the ones that fit your needs and customer base simultaneously if you want.
3. Choose Your Demand Generation Channels
To sell your new product to customers, you need to create demand for it. This can be done by implementing inbound marketing and outbound sales tactics, which your go-to-market strategy should address in detail.
Inbound marketing is a type of marketing that brings potential customers to your business. Examples include blog and social media posts, YouTube videos, and PPC Ads
Outbound sales requires sales reps to contact potential customers via phone, email, in-person networking events, etc. with messages regarding a specific product.
You don't have to choose inbound marketing or outbound sales tactics. Many organizations use both with great success. Study your target market and consider the sales strategies you plan to utilize. Then choose demand generation channels that fit.
For example, if you plan to sell budget-friendly activewear to customers via your website, you probably will invest heavily in inbound marketing. But if you want to sell accounting software to car dealerships via an inside sales team, both inbound and outbound strategies will help.
4. Create Amazing Content
It's nearly impossible to generate demand for a product without content — especially if you're using an inbound marketing plan. Content is the thing that will drive them to you. But outbound sales strategies generally require content, too.
Let's take a quick look at content ideas for each demand generation channel:
Popular forms of inbound marketing content include blog and social media posts, YouTube videos, downloadable guides, and PPC ads. When creating these pieces of content, keep these three things in mind:
- Keywords: Make sure the content you create targets specific keywords related to your product. That way web users can find it organically.
- Competition: Study the kinds of content your competitors are creating. Chances are, they're creating it because it drives quality traffic for them.
- Promotion: Once a piece of content is created, promote it via email, on social media, with influencers, syndication tactics, etc.
If it fits your go-to-market strategy, create inbound content that includes the right keywords, accounts for the competition, and can be promoted effectively.
Outbound sales content includes email sequences, cold calling scripts, and sales enablement pieces that can be used for prospect education purposes.
These forms of content don't require keywords or promotional strategies. Instead, focus on conversion metrics and optimize your outbound sales content accordingly. Then add them to your go-to-market strategy so that they can be used effectively.
It doesn't matter if you're creating inbound marketing or outbound sales content, it needs to be well written and designed, highly optimized, and better than similar pieces already on the internet. That way it stands out from the crowd.
5. Optimize Your Go-to-Market Strategy
The final step in the process to develop a go-to-market strategy is to optimize your approach. Once you start implementing your plans, you need to analyze them for effectiveness. Are you selling as many units as you hoped? If not, ask yourself "Why?"
Dig deep into the metrics to figure out what's working, what isn't, and how you can optimize your approach for higher sales numbers.
Take Your Product to Market Successfully
An effective go-to-market strategy is crucial to the success of your new product. Without one, it will be difficult to launch it competitively and cost effectively. Fortunately, developing a go-to-market strategy that's catered to your unique audience can be done in five simple steps:
- Study Your Target Market
- Identify the Right Sales Strategy
- Choose Your Demand Generation Channels
- Create Amazing Content
- Optimize Your Go-to-Market Strategy
If you can follow this five-step strategy, you'll be able to craft a winning go-to-market strategy that helps you successfully launch your new product into the world.