Bringing a new product or service to market requires extensive planning, foresight, and a lot of hard work.
At Orogamis, we work hand-in-hand with both startups and established companies to develop and implement go-to-market strategies that are systematic, proven, and actionable. We’ve learned that there are definitive steps that can be taken to increase the likelihood of a positive reception and overall success in introducing new value to a defined market.
Developing a sound GTM strategy won’t dictate the future or guarantee success, but it’s the next best thing to controlling your commercial destiny.
To help provide clarity and direction, we’ve brought together the most critical aspects of any viable GTM strategy.
Use this checklist as a guide for developing your own GTM strategy from the ground up, or cross-reference it with a strategy you’ve already created.
Before we detail the many component parts of an effective go-to-market strategy, let’s start with defining what a go-to-market strategy is.
According to Lee Frederiksen, Ph.D, Managing Partner at Hinge, a go-to-market strategy is a multipart plan focused on delivering a product or service to an end customer by addressing specific operational questions.
This is a broad definition, but it suits our purpose.
An effective GTM strategy is not just determining the product-market fit. Nor is it just understanding the compliance landscape. It’s all the above and more, which is why enumerating the many characteristics of a sound GTM strategy is helpful in the first place.
It’s recommended that a go-to-market strategy is created as early as possible, and it’s important to remember that it shouldn’t be set in stone. Rather, an effective GTM strategy should be dynamic and adaptable as market conditions change and as the selling environment evolves naturally.
Don’t forget that collaboration with marketing strategy experts can hasten the creation of a smart GTM strategy. Often, relying on the expertise of focused business strategists can free up time and resources better spent elsewhere in the business.
As we move into this checklist, remember that GTM strategies for first-time market penetration are going to vary compared with strategies tailored to re-entering a market. While these differences might seem nuanced, they matter overall.
Now that we’ve defined our terms and we know where we’re going, let’s embark.
We begin with the product or service on offer, laid bare: features, benefits, the problems it solves, and an understanding of how it is likely to cooperate with various market dynamics.
What is the underlying problem your product or service is going to solve? A business case is, quite literally, the case for your business. It’s the argument for your product or service as a solution to an existing problem or deficit within
Customer finds or hears about the product => Customer buys or otherwise accesses the product => Customer adopts the product => Customer becomes a lifelong evangelist for the product.
How is each phase of this narrative explained, in detail, by the features and benefits of your product or service? Customer/User journeys tell a story about the consumer experience. Understanding this story is crucial to understanding your market.
A pricing strategy is distinctly different from a Revenue Model. Pricing strategy incorporates competitor’s products and price points, what the market will bear, and even human psychology.
How will your software, app or other product or service make money for your company? What are your anticipated margins at entry through to full maturity ‘in the wild’?
Every product or service has inherent Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities for growth and evolution, and Threats posed by competitors. Combined, these variables make up the SWOT analysis.
[How to formalize a proper SWOT analysis warrants its own article; for a digestible encapsulation, we like this Investopedia write-up on the subject.]
Agile product management powerhouse Atlassian defines the Product Roadmap as “a plan of action for how a product or solution will evolve over time.” Product roadmaps help to crystallize the intended trajectory of a product as new features are added and as revisions or enhancements are rolled out.
A well-conceived product roadmap runs the full length of the product from beginning to sunsetting.
Now that we’ve given some structure to the first leg of our GTM strategy, let’s explore our target market through topical, high-level R&D.
A product use case can be thought of as the event during which a consumer (persona) interacts with a product for the purpose of achieving a defined goal. A product use case is the ‘meat’ of the value for the consumer.
How well do you know your target market? We mean really know your target market. Where do your customers live, work, play, and relax? How do they think? What informs and directs their spending?
Sufficient market research can sometimes take weeks or months, and often, reliable, relevant, and current market data doesn’t come cheap. However, an early investment in market research yields hefty dividends down
In-line with market research, product testing should include detailed feedback received from focus groups, iterative use studies, and bug fixes. The idea here is to detect and resolve product performance issues now before formally entering the market with it.
Who are you going up against? What are the available alternatives to your customers—alternatives that solve the same problem your product does?
This is not the time to pat yourself on the back for having developed a great product. This is the time for taking an honest—however sobering—look at who you’ll be competing with, what their weaknesses are, and how your product is going to interplay with all the above.
Crafting accurate buyer personas can be a lot of fun. It can also reveal key insights into the psychology of your target market. Developing buyer personas is an attempt to commercially categorize the ideal user of your product or service down to the very personality and habits the consumer has.
The buyer persona is an archetypal customer. They’re the person most likely to develop an allegiance with
Successfully preparing for new market entry or reentry hinges on having a powerful marketing plan. There are numerous different directions you can go here, but they all have these factors in common.
In the mid-1990s, beer behemoth Coors tried introducing Rocky Mountain Sparkling Water to its loyal customer base consisting of patriotic beer drinkers. This failed spectacularly, and it’s a great example of a product that didn’t fit the market.
To avoid mistakes like this, take steps to make sure you have objective, third-party confirmation that your product meets an established need in the market.
Advertising and branding are two sides of the same coin; both are necessary for a watertight go-to-market strategy. Advertising is any content consumers will be presented with during an initial engagement with your brand.
Facebook. YouTube. TikTok. Snapchat. Twitter. Instagram. In today’s digital world, not having a social media plan is planning to fail. The social media universe is vast and ever-growing; learn from some of the most successful brands who’ve got SMS mastered.
Branding isn’t a logo. It’s also not a motto, tagline, or color theme. A well-conceived brand conveys a feeling associated with the experience of a product or service, and without it, the consumer will have nothing to
remember you by.
Where are your customers going to come from? Targeted ads? Direct mail campaigns? Social media blitzes? Customer acquisition plans vary widely; the important point is that you have one.
In developing a Customer Acquisition Plan, we suggest building a sales pipeline that details each phase of the prospect-to-customer journey. For more information on building a sales pipeline, check out this blog post from
Going to market with a powerful content strategy can mean the difference between sinking and swimming. If advertising and marketing bring prospects to your brand, content keeps them around by adding value above and beyond the value that your product or service provides.
Everything leading up to this point has been framing and staging: when a customer makes a purchase, the sale has been made. However, the work is far from done. A focus on the sales function is imperative for long-term success in the market.
Sales enablement drills deeper into the mechanisms of the sales process by equipping customer-facing personnel with the content they need to drive revenue. This can be done through technology, training, hiring, or some combination of the three.
Thomas Watson, IBM’s iconic CEO from 1914 to 1956 famously said, “Nothing happens until a sale is made”. What happens after the sale is made can sometimes mean more to long-term success than all of the energy that went into pre-sales activities. Outreach is part of this.
Engaging in dialog with customers before, during, and after the sale builds rapport and endears customers, converting them from mere transactional participants to invested stakeholders in your brand.
Earlier we broached the topic of the sales pipeline. Here, we’re concerned with the iterative cycle of sales, where upselling, repeat selling, and cross-selling become part of the conversation.
Brand loyalty and customer retention are often interchangeable, as each is a goal of the other. What is your plan for keeping customers around after they’ve signed on with you?
All too often, a focus on operations takes a back seat to other aspects of a go-to-market strategy. This is understandable, however, it’s worth noting that streamlined operations can actually grease the skids for even better sales performance, as the customer’s experience will be enhanced and their loyalty fortified.
As expensive as effective marketing can be, it’s important to keep tabs on its metrics. Tweaking and honing marketing operations is key to sustainable, long-term success. What is your plan for adapting your marketing plan to suit your selling environment?
Ticket volume. Median resolution time. Customer satisfaction and willingness-to-refer scores. Customer service KPIs like these are bellwethers for the future of your business. Be sure you have consensus about how you’ll tackle customer service and returns before your first customer places
How will your software, app, or product be distributed? What is your strategy for optimizing delivery of value directly to the customer or via channels? Your distribution model matters; be sure you have it nailed before proceeding to a formal market entry.
Your customers need to know exactly where, when, and how they can engage with your brand. Developing a customer engagement portal meets this need. Make it easy for your customers to engage with you, and you’ll make them customers for life.
Everything included in sections 1-6 could be immaculately well-prepared and meticulously thought through, but if your financial strategy isn’t cogent, the wheels of your business will fall off the moment it gains momentum.
Do not make the mistake of thinking, “We’ll figure it out” when it comes to budgeting. Have a plan. Know where your money will be going, and be as conservative as possible with projections.
Too many tech company founders use all of their money in developing technology at the expense of underfunding the launch. Be sure to budget for content, media, ad placements, etc.
Are you going to take your profits and run? Or, are you more interested in cumulative, scalable growth through reinvestment of acquired capital?
For some, having an exit plan is just as important as having a go-to-market strategy in the first place. For others, exiting the business is a conclusion much too far gone to consider this early on. It all depends on your goals.
In a perfect world, you should be able to view a single dashboard that tells you everything you need to know about the health of your business, from sales and marketing to operations and fulfillment and back again.
Ensure you have a firm grip on what KPIs will inform strategic decisions, where these KPIs will come from, and who will be responsible for tracking them.
Similar to #29, what is your plan to grow the business? How can your business be formatted for growth before the first dollar is spent on entering the market?
Addressing all of the multipart aspects of a go-to-market strategy may seem overwhelming, and that’s because it is overwhelming. However, fortune favors the bold, and for those bold enough to dedicate the requisite time, energy, and resources to developing a solid GTM strategy, the sky's the limit.
It’s a fact that more than half of all small businesses will fail by their fifth year, a sobering statistic to be sure. Crafting a logical, thoughtful go-to-market strategy for your business using this checklist will prevent surprises, control more variables, and ensure a better win rate at every turn.