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What the Heck is a Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy and What Do I Need to Know?

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February 21, 2023

6 mins read

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What the Heck is a Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy and What Do I Need to Know?

If you’ve spent more than a minute in the B2B SaaS world, you know that we love our acronyms (I just used two in this sentence!).

MRR. ARR. KPI. SEO. SEM. PPC. ROI. CRM.

But today’s article will not use any of the above. Well, maybe a few here and there. 

Today is all about GTM aka, Go-To-Market strategy — a plan detailing how a company will launch a product to the market, including targeting, distribution, and promotion strategies.

The goal: maximize revenue and profitability.

This article will answer “what is go-to-market” by diving into GTM — what it is, what it is not, why everyone is obsessed with it, and 5 things to consider when launching your GTM strategy.

What is go-to-market? What does (and does not) a solid GTM strategy look like?

A GTM strategy is an organization’s roadmap for launching a new product or service. It outlines your ideal customers, how you’ll reach them, and how to stand out from the competition. 

Defining your target audience, messaging, and sales channels increases your chances of a successful launch and sustainable growth.

(and maximizing revenue and profitability) <<< the ultimate goal

A GTM strategy must:

  • Be deeply in tune with its target audience inside and out — needs, pains, what they love, what they hate, favorite color (okay, maybe not, but you get the idea). 
  • Have defined goals and metrics that are measurable, objective, and trackable.
  • Include a compelling value proposition showcasing what makes your product or service unique … how it solves your customers’ problem(s) … how it is better than your competitors.
  • Focus on those activities that will have the most significant impact. This includes selecting the best channels (social, email, etc.) — those with the highest ROI.
  • Be clear, concise, and consistent. The language you use must resonate across all channels.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. Your strategy has to be open to feedback. It likely will change as time goes on due to market changes, competitor actions, and customer feedback. Be ready!
  • Included account-based strategy (ABM, ABX, etc.) and demand generation and be deeply aligned with sales (it’s NEVER just marketing).

That being said, a sound GTM strategy should not: 

  • Operate in a silo
  • Be static
  • Have unrealistic expectations
  • Ignore what your competitors are doing
  • Be “set and forget”

So why all the GTM buzz?

Why is everyone talking about GTM strategy?

Simply put, we live in a different world post-COVID. Today’s business landscape looks much different than it did just a few years ago.

The shift to remote work and the increased use of digital channels for commerce have forced many companies to rethink their GTM strategies to effectively reach customers in this new environment. 

Another huge factor? Every single company is leaning into the “do more with less” philosophy. 

“We can’t miss with our budget.”

“Our time must be used wisely.”

“We can’t afford to waste time or money.”

“We have to focus on the accounts most likely to buy.”

Every revenue leader is confiding in those they trust and sharing tips, tricks, and best practices to survive and thrive as things continue to grow more challenging. The strategies that got us here probably aren’t going to get us to our next growth milestones. 

Let’s launch. But first …

5 things to consider when launching your GTM strategy

Gone are the days of the generic “spray and pray” marketing strategy. In fact, these “days” have been gone for some time … even though we see it multiple times per day every time we open our email.

Today’s B2B landscape requires a more sophisticated approach — Account-Based Marketing (ABM) — that focuses on building deep, personalized relationships with your highest-value accounts. 

While this is far from a comprehensive list, the list below includes the 5 tactics we consider the most valuable when building your GTM strategy:

1. Construct your GTM with a spectrum of styles

We believe wholeheartedly in the Account-Based-Marketing (ABM) approach — which has evolved to focus more on personalization, better scalability, increased data-driven decision-making, and a more collaborative mindset.

ABM has also spread its wings a bit more, now boasting three distinct styles: 

One-to-one: This approach is often led by a dedicated, senior-level marketer who works directly with the sales leadership to create highly customized marketing programs for “markets of one” — the highest of high-value accounts.

One-to-few: This approach typically includes a group of accounts (5-15) with similar business issues, often in the same industry.

One-to-many: This approach is about “personalization at scale” and typically targets a strategically curated target account list of several hundred named accounts. 

The number of accounts in each tier will vary based on resources, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What works today will not work in the future.

The best approach? A bit of all three, of course.

2. Embrace and prepare for the uncertainty

We mentioned this above (“Be flexible and adaptable”), but it’s worth expanding upon. 

You can do all the preparation in the world, but at some point, there is a chance your GTM strategy may go sideways — or at least zig-zag a bit.

Be ready. Be prepared. 

Utilize various budgeting approaches, leverage data insights, and continuously monitor performance.

Triangulate budget: Tackle the GTM budget from the top-down (high-level organizational goals) and the bottom-up (detailed needs from the “boots on the ground” team. Combine that data with both historical and industry benchmarks to land on a budget that is well-rounded and flexible.

Data is your friend: Pull data from historical win-loss sales information to best understand what attracts — and converts — customers. Perform market analysis to identify historically high-performing channels and tactics. 

Track and monitor: Which tactics are performing the best? Which channel has the highest ROI? Know this information inside and out, but be ready to move on a dime.

3. Build your village. You’ll need it.

You don’t — and shouldn’t — build your GTM strategy independently. While your product or service may feel like one-of-a-kind, there’s a good chance your industry peers have done this before.

Talk to those colleagues. Build your network, and don’t be afraid to ask for introductions. Work with people and technology providers you trust.

Leverage diverse human resources to gather fresh perspectives and new ideas. Different team members can offer insights into various aspects of the market, customer needs, and potential challenges, leading to a more well-rounded strategy. 

The more people involved in the GTM strategy and execution, the more likely they’ll be invested in its success.

4. Ensure sales, marketing, and customer success are deeply aligned

Bringing together the key players from each revenue team — sales, marketing, and customer success — helps ensure consistent messaging across the customer journey as buyers move through the funnel from prospect to customer — and beyond (think: customer retention and growth).

This consistency is essential as you launch your GTM strategy, as it will help with trust and credibility, both internally and outward-facing.

Remember: your customers don’t differentiate between departments; they see your company as one.

Strong alignment also means the sales team provides feedback on ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and their pain points. Marketing then uses this insight to refine its GTM messaging to ensure higher-quality leads. 

If alignment does not exist, these disconnects between teams can create inconsistent messaging, unrealistic expectations, and — worst of all — a frustrating customer experience. 

5. Allow Demandbase to help

From our CEO (hey Gabe!) to your CSM, we’re here to help. 

Connect with us on LinkedIn (here I am). 

Message us.

Join our communities.

Engage with the Demandbase Champions

Tell us what we can help you with. 

We have hundreds of these conversations daily, and you always have an open invitation to talk shop or a “therapy session” working through this together. 

We’re here for you.

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Chris Moody

VP, Brand Marketing, Demandbase

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