How do you start with a GTM strategy?
I strongly believe that every GTM strategy should start with researching and understanding the market, competitive, and buyer/prospect needs. Above, I mentioned more details about what types of data might be interesting to look at for verticle prioritization, but this list can also apply here. Combining market and more internal business data together helps inform your business case, which ideally happens and comes together before a decision is made to prioritize an offering onto the roadmap. If for whatever reason the business case step was skipped early on or not fully completed, you can still complete it. Better surface potential risks/opportunities before launch than wait and learn after the fact.
Beyond starting with research, I recommend spending some time establishing a structure and plan to set yourself, your team, and your company up for a successful launch. This probably includes:
- Identifying your key stakeholders and hosting a kickoff
- Aligning on a framework/process with clear stage-gates
- Decide how you want to communicate and share updates, will you meet weekly, bi-weekly? Is there a slack channel or will you use email?
- Set goals and decide how you will track progress as a team
- Align on who is the final decision maker on key decisions, who is responsible for each GTM task, who is contributing and pitching in, and who needs to stay informed. Often times the "informed" group may be executives so consider how you will share updates with your executive team.
The best way to start with a GTM strategy is to assess your strategic readiness before building out the plan. For example, do you know the audience you are targeting, the positioning, the packaging and pricing? Have you assembled your core internal GTM team? Have you established the key goals and metrics for your launch?
Once you have these key items answered, it makes it much easier to build out the plan.
1. Diagnosis - what's my opportunity? What's the pain I'm solving? What's the problem?
2. Guiding Principles - given the above. How should I address this problem? This section arent' tactics.
3. Coherent Actions - your tactics.
I highly recommend a book called Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt.
Start any GTM strategy by anchoring on the four critical components of any go-to-market initiative.
- What: What software or offering are you selling? What problems does it help solve? What makes your product unique vs. alternatives?
- Who: Who is your ideal customer profile, and why? What are their pain points, and how does your product help them solve them? Why should these customers choose your product over alternatives?
- Where: Where do customers learn about products in your category? What channels are most effective at each stage of the buying journey based on historical data or competitive offerings?
- How: How do customers typically buy products in your product category? What factors and/or criteria help drive their buying journey? How can you help educate customers on your product along the journey?
Net-net: There is no magic formula to starting a GTM strategy, but rather a set of questions you should continually use to guide your GTM decisions. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach, I encourage you to craft a GTM strategy with your x-functional partners (Sales, Product, Marketing) that anchors on the what, who, where, and how aspects of your GTM iniatitive.