The Ultimate Guide to Crafting a Winning Go-To-Market Strategy

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A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is essential for any business planning to introduce a new product or service to its target audience. Your ability to capture the attention of potential customers, convert leads, and make a profit from your new offering depends on the right “GTM” approach. 

Without the right insights into your target audience, brand, and competitors, and the right plan to ensure you can access opportunities for sales, your company is doomed to fail. 

Unfortunately, although 61.9% of companies in one study said they “always” establish a strategy when taking the products to market, only 33.3% believe they have a consistent and systematic approach. So, how do you design and implement a GTM strategy that delivers results?

Here’s your complete step-by-step guide to building a Go-To-Market strategy that ensures you can survive and thrive in a competitive market. 

What is a Go-To-Market Strategy?

A group of people sitting on a meeting with notebooks, laptops, and drinks on the table

A Go-To-Market strategy (GTM) is a step-by-step guide for how you’re going to bring a new product or service to the market and drive demand for that offering. It essentially outlines everything you need to know to successfully launch your product, from defining your target audience to determining your sales and marketing strategies. 

More than just a “marketing plan,” your GTM strategy should align all of your teams and stakeholders, answering questions like:

  • What’s the solution you’re selling, and what problem does it solve?
  • Who is your ideal customer, and what goals or pain points do they have?
  • Where will you sell your product, and what does the demand look like in your market?
  • Who are your competitors, and what are their unique selling points?
  • How will you reach your target customers and generate demand?

Launching a product or service is a major investment, and no matter how innovative the solution might be, the way you “bring your product to market” can make or break its chances of success. A GTM strategy ensures you have a clear plan to follow, mitigating potential risks along the way. 

Why Do You Need a Go-To-Market Strategy?

Go to market strategy is written on a white board

A Go-To-Market strategy is necessary whenever you’re bringing a new product or service to the market. This includes when you’re launching a new product in an existing market, bringing an existing product to a new market, and when you’re testing a new product in a new market.

Even established businesses need the right GTM strategy to ensure they’re using their marketing budget correctly and targeting the right audience. 

Used correctly, your Go-To-Market strategy should ensure you:

  • Align your teams: Strong GTM strategies help to maintain alignment among teams throughout the whole product lifecycle. They ensure everyone is working towards the same goals, monitoring the same metrics, and adhering to corresponding deadlines.
  • Establish product-market fit: Poor product-market fit can destroy the success of a GTM strategy. Your strategy should ensure that you’re launching a solution that addresses a specific problem for a certain audience. 
  • Establish your target audience: When building your GTM, you’ll focus your attention on a specific group of customers. The right strategy will help you to identify the pain points and goals of that audience, and the marketing methods, sales strategies, and pricing that will work best when appealing to them. 
  • Detect potential issues: Although a GTM strategy isn’t guaranteed to prevent failure, it can help you identify potential issues with your launch and handle objections before they arise. This can ensure you don’t waste time and money dealing with unnecessary issues. 
  • Understand your competitors: With your GTM strategy, you’ll take a closer look at your competitors and how your products compare to theirs. This will help you to identify a unique selling point and differentiate your solution in the market.
  • Define distribution techniques: Your GTM strategy will also ensure you understand how you’re going to “distribute” your product. This could mean working with partners and third parties or selling to customers directly. 

How to Build a Go-To-Market Strategy: The Step-by-Step Guide

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all GTM strategy, as every launch has its own specific audience and unique selling propositions. However, there is a framework you can follow to ensure your Go-To-Market strategy includes all of the right elements. 

Step 1: Set Concrete Goals

Set Goals written on a pink sticky note

Any strategy you establish for your business should begin with a clear set of goals or “objectives.” Whether you’re developing a new content marketing campaign or a sales strategy, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish so you can consistently measure your progress. 

There are a few different ways you can set goals for a GTM strategy, such as:

  • Setting SMART goals: Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound targets. For instance: “In six months, earn 100,000 app downloads and 10,000 new accounts.”
  • Tracking key performance indicators: KPIs are the quantitative metrics you can track as you move towards your business objectives. For instance, if your goal is to earn 100,000 app downloads, you’d monitor new downloads and where they came from.
  • Objectives and Key Results: OKRs pair the objective you want to achieve with the metrics you’ll measure to define progress. For instance, “I will drive 1 million new visitors to our website and measure this by new traffic sources.”

Step 2: Identify the Core Problem and Target Audience

Once you have your goals and objectives, the next step is to identify the specific problem you’re solving, and the target audience you’re trying to reach. For instance, the business “The Sip” identified a problem being the “high cost of champagne” limiting access to customers who wanted to try the luxurious drinking experience for themselves. 

To solve this, the company introduced a “mini bottle” program that allowed people to experiment with different drinks for a fraction of the cost. Identifying the problem you’re solving is how you establish a “product-market” fit for your new product or service. 

From there, you can move on to identifying the ideal customer who has experienced this problem. Two of the best ways to define your target market are with an “Ideal Customer Profile” or a “Customer/Buyer Persona”. 

Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)

Ideal Customer profiles define the “perfect customer” for your brand – the person who experiences the problems your product addresses, or wants to achieve the results you can offer. When developing ideal customer profiles, you’ll look at:

  • Industry or demographic: If you’re selling to businesses, identify the specific industry you’re targeting (such as legal or technology). If you’re selling to individuals, define their demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, location, or education level.
  • Geography: Where are your ideal customers? Do you focus on a specific region (like New York), or an entire country or group of countries?
  • Budget: How much do your customers have to spend on your product? You can identify this by conducting surveys to see how customers “value” your product, or you can compare the pricing strategies used by companies with similar solutions.  
  • Decision-making factors: What influences whether a customer chooses to purchase your products? Do they rely heavily on referrals from trusted parties? Are they driven by pricing or by-product features?
  • Pain points and goals: What specific issues and frustrations do your customers face, and what goals do they want to achieve? For instance, a company selling a simple accounting app for small businesses might target customers who struggle with complex accounting apps.
  • Preferred media: How do customers search for information about products and services? Which channels do they use for entertainment and education?

Buyer Personas 

Buyer personas take a slightly more granular look at your target audience and the different types of people who might benefit from your product. For instance, a travel company might have one target audience (people who want to travel) but break that audience down into different personas, such as:

The family traveller:

  • Parents between the ages of 35-45
  • Travels with children
  • Willing to pay a higher price for good experiences
  • Values excellent customer service
  • Can use technology with ease

Step 3: Research Competition and Demand

Businessperson working with project management using a white keyboard and screen

Once you’ve identified your target audience, the next step is researching your competition and the level of “demand” in your industry. Ultimately, the goal here is to ensure there’s plenty of demand and not too much competition for consumers. 

To research your competition, create a list of companies in your industry that offer similar products to you and target a similar audience. Remember, not all of your competitors will be “direct” competitors. For instance, Slack is a messaging app, but it also competes with other project management and collaboration tools that offer messaging capabilities and communication features.

As you sort through your competitors, ask yourself:

  • How do they take their product to market?
  • How do they price their products and services?
  • What kind of marketing and sales strategies do they use?
  • How do they approach customer service?
  • What are their solution’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?

When you’re evaluating demand, combine your insights into the number of competitors in your space with the amount of interest there appears to be in your solution. You can use tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and even Google Trends to find out how many people are searching for your product. 

Alternatively, you could use social listening tools and check out forums for insights into what customers are saying in your industry. 

Step 4: Create a Value Matrix to Identify and Test Messaging

Now, you need to identify the key messages you’ll be conveying to potential customers. The best way to do this is to create a value matrix. This is basically a graph that breaks down the pain points and goals of each buyer persona, as well as the value your customers bring to them. 

For instance, the value matrix for a company like Uber might look like this:

Pain Points:

  • Difficulty finding affordable taxis
  • Problems booking taxis over the phone

Product values:

  • An easy-to-use app for finding drivers
  • Flexible booking policies

Key Message:

Get instant access to drivers whenever you need it, through a convenient phone-based app. 

To complete your own value matrix, identify the pain points, product values, and key messages for each of your target customer personas. Once you have your messaging strategy in mind, you can start testing how your messages resonate with your audience. 

For instance, if you were launching a ride-sharing service like Uber, you could test your messages by sharing content about your service on different social media channels, your website, and through paid ads to see how often a message leads to an interaction and which customers pay attention to.

Step 5: Map and Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Buyer's Journey Map from Hubspot

After identifying your buyer personas and messaging, diving deeper into your buyer’s journey will help you to understand where your key “touchpoints” with customers are. This is the key to creating marketing campaigns and sales strategies that resonate with customers at the right moments. 

Often, the buyer journey is distinguished into three stages:

  • Top of the funnel (Awareness): When customers know they have a problem and want to research solutions but aren’t aware of your product, brand, or service. 
  • Middle of the funnel (Consideration): When customers know about your product or service, and they’re ready to compare it with other solutions. 
  • Bottom of the funnel (Conversion): When customers decide they want to buy your product, and reach out to you or make a purchase.

However, many companies began to build on this funnel with more stages, looking at things like “retention” and “advocacy” or how they can build relationships with customers after a purchase happens. The key to success with either strategy is looking for the critical touchpoints in each stage of the buyer’s journey and determining how you can influence them.

For instance, during the “top of the funnel” stage, your focus will be on raising awareness for your product or service and the value it can offer. During the “advocacy” stage, you’ll concentrate on convincing your customers to help promote your solution. 

Step 6: Create a Sales Plan

At this stage, you’re ready to start thinking about how you’re going to sell your products to customers. There’s no one-size-fits-all method here, so you’ll need to think carefully about the complexity, scalability, and cost of every method available. Four of the most common GTM strategies include:

  • The Self-Service model: Customers purchase products themselves. This is a common option for ecommerce companies or B2C brands like Netflix or Amazon. It works best for simple products with a low-cost point and a high value. While it’s difficult to drive sales initially, it’s a great way to reduce the cost of your GTM strategy without the need for a sales team.
  • Inside Sales model: With this model, your sales teams nurture prospects to convince them to purchase something. This model often works best for more complex products, where customers might need more guidance in choosing the right solution for their needs. For instance, you might need to guide business owners toward choosing the right version of your software. 
  • Field sales: In this strategy, salespeople focus on closing larger deals, leveraging a range of methods. This is a good option for companies that sell complex products with high price points and appeal to customers with a longer purchasing cycle. This model is relatively easy to build but hard to scale, as you need to train an expert sales team. 
  • Channel model: With the channel model, an external partner sells your products for you. This can be one of the cheapest models to use because you don’t need to pay and train a sales team of your own. However, you’ll have less control over how your product is promoted. The strategy works best if you’re partnering with a company that sells similar products. For instance, Microsoft sells its hardware through computer retailers worldwide. 

You can use just one sales strategy or a combination, but whichever method you use, it’s important to track and monitor your results consistently.  

Step 7: Build Awareness with Inbound and Outbound Methods

Inbound and outbound marketing illustration

Now it’s time to fill your “GTM pipeline” with potential prospects. This means focusing on using various marketing techniques for “demand generation”.  There are numerous ways companies can create demand, both most fall into “outbound” or “inbound” categories. 

Outbound strategies include tactics like cold calling, emailing, or messaging, where salespeople directly contact leads to introduce your product or service to them. While this strategy works well for a lot of companies, particularly if they have a clear view of their target audience, most companies find “inbound demand generation” is more effective. 

Inbound leads are typically cheaper to acquire and easier to convert than outbound leads. There are various ways you can collect inbound leads, including:

Content Marketing 

Content marketing is one of the top ways to connect with potential customers in your audience. In fact, studies show that up to 61% of customers are influenced by high-quality content. The right content strategy will help you to demonstrate thought leadership and authority in your space, earning the trust of your potential customers. 

It can also help to guide customers through the purchasing journey, as you can create content that targets different stages of the funnel. For instance:

  • Awareness: During the awareness stage, you can answer common questions that might lead customers to your product. If you’re selling AI apps, then you might create content that answers questions like “What is AI?” and “Who needs AI apps?”.
  • Consideration: During the consideration stage, you can introduce customers to the benefits of your solution and how they compare to other offerings in the market with content that covers topics like: “The benefits of AI apps” or “[Your app] vs [competitor]” comparisons.
  • Conversion: When customers are ready to convert, you can create content that convinces customers to make a decision, such as sales pages that highlight the key benefits of your products or promotional campaigns that offer discounts for or demos of your product.

Search Engine Optimization

Often going hand-in-hand with content marketing, search engine optimization involves using various methods to ensure the content you produce is visible at the top of the search engine result pages when your customers search for a specific term. It includes strategies for:

  • On-page SEO: Researching keywords and using them in your content effectively. Leveraging internal links to improve site structure, and designing your content and website to improve the user experience and highlight authority. 
  • Off-page SEO: Building a comprehensive backlink profile by listing your products on other relevant websites, guest-posting on blogs, and working with industry experts
  • Technical SEO: Optimizing your website’s design, meta tags, descriptions, images, and loading times to deliver the best possible experience. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is another excellent way to generate demand for your products. Using both paid and organic campaigns on the social media channels your customers visit helps to draw attention to your products and build stronger relationships with your brand. 

You can consider using paid ads to present highly targeted campaigns to a specific section of your target audience, or you can constantly promote your products through organic posts to raise awareness. You can also experiment with more advanced social media strategies, such as running polls and competitions or working with influencers.

3 Examples of Go-To-Market Strategies

At this point, you know just about everything there is to know about building a Go-To-Market Strategy, but you might still need some extra inspiration. Here are some great examples of GTM strategies that have worked through the years to guide you. 

1. Via

A red car on the roadDescription automatically generated

Via is a ridesharing platform that was founded in 2012 when Uber was still a small company. Although Uber had already bypassed Via in terms of popularity, the company was able to carve a space for itself in the market by focusing on “ride-sharing.” 

This meant that instead of simply booking a driver like you would with Uber, Via encouraged customers to share their cab with people traveling in a similar direction. This appealed to customers who wanted to save money on trips, protect the environment, and reduce waste. 

The company’s GTM strategy even meant it was able to capture the attention of private transit operators, working with them to offer solutions for schools and enterprises.

2. Squarespace

A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated

Leading ecommerce and website building platform, Squarespace launched in an extremely competitive market. There were already plenty of website builders out there that promised companies an easy way to build their own online presence. 

Fortunately, Squarespace was able to take a significant share of the market by focusing on a specific audience and value proposition. The company concentrates on supporting creators and artistic people, allowing them to sell services and memberships and even book appointments on the platform.

Moreover, it sets itself apart by offering some of the most attractive and eye-catching templates on the market, by working with professional designers. 

3. Growth Collective

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Even the team here at Growth Collective has used GTM strategies to our advantage. We know there are plenty of companies out there that offer access to freelance and remote workers. We set ourselves apart by addressing a few key pain points other platforms ignored, such as:

  • Trust and reliability: All of our employees are pre-vetted and tested for their skills.
  • Simplicity: There are no contracts to worry about, so you can adapt your hiring strategy to suit your needs. Plus, you don’t have to search for the ideal freelancer yourself, as we can match companies to the ideal provider based on their goals. 
  • Transparency: We ensure companies hiring freelancers know exactly how much they’re going to spend, with transparent quotes and pricing.

What’s more, because we only work with top-ranked professionals who have experience supporting some of the world’s biggest brands, we set ourselves apart as a provider of genuine quality.

Launch Your Go-to-Market Strategy Today

Developing a reliable and successful go-to-market strategy can seem like a daunting prospect. There are a lot of things to consider, from who your target audience will be, to how you’re going to differentiate yourself from the competition, and how you’ll market your products. 

However, the right GTM strategy will give you all the tools you need to boost your chances of a successful product or service launch. It will help you to optimize your pipeline, increase conversion rates, shorten the sales cycle, and strengthen your chances of growth. 

If you need help coming up with the perfect Go-To-Market strategy, reach out to Growth Collective today to be matched with one of our industry-leading GTM experts. 

Rebekah Carter
Former company
About Author
Rebekah is a dedicated writer with years of experience producing exceptional content for brands around the globe. Her commitment to producing the best possible content means she’s constantly developing new skills and experience.
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