In case the existing GTM strategy is not working for the product, how can you go about redesigning the new GTM strategy? What should be the approach?
I’m assuming that when you say “existing GTM strategy is not working for the product”, you mean that the product launch failed in some way. I think it’s important to first do a retrospective to understand what really happened and rectify the problem areas. Some common areas to explore first:
- Dig into the data: Is it a conversion problem or top of funnel problem?
- Assess the product & pricing: Is there product-market fit? Did we solve the customer pain points with the feature set we delivered? Is there willingness to pay for what we’ve built?
- Assess target customers, messaging and competition: Is our ICP correct? Does the messaging resonate and is differentiated? Is there anything happening in the competitive landscape that could be putting pressure on sales
This is a great question. I think you'd want to first conduct a retrospective with stakeholders to understand what is flawed with current GTM strat. Is it target audience? Should you go up market or down market? Or is it the approach? Sales-led, marketing-led, product-led? Price? Packaging? There are a few experiments you can run to isolate the issue, but upon identification, the best way to redesign would be to test the iteration on a small subset of existing market. Assess outcomes. Then broaden scope to transition model overtime.
In the case the existing GTM strategy is not working, how can you go about redesigning the new GTM strategy? What should be the approach?
This is a big question where it begs more questions than answers. And I think that's the key element is doing a deep dive and asking the right questions.
Growth Mindset: Yes, you may not be happy with the way your GTM is doing but what's exciting is that you now have real life actual evidence of what worked or not. That's a critical piece of information that you can't really simulate or test for. And by asking this question you're already exhibiting a key concept of growth mindset, it's not working so what can we change.
Collaboration: Get other teams involved, now that it's out in the wild, ask your CSMs for feedback, your account executives on what's not working, your product teams on adoption and drop off. Use all this internal knowledge and data to help advise you on step #2.
Critical Thinking: What is wrong with the GTM strategy? Is it the product-market fit, or is it the messaging, positioning or pricing, is it oversaturation or is it the execution? Lay out your GTM strategy and analyze what went well and not. This allows you to determine if corrective measures are a simple tweak or a complete overhaul.
GTM strategies requires a lot of time and resources from multiple teams to see the light of day. That I'm sure it's not all wrong. Keep what's working and tweak what's not. So before blowing anything up, it's critical to make an assessment of what exactly is not working with your current GTM strategy. And then based on what you have then ascertain what you can change that's low effort but high impact.
Data / Measure of Success: Another thing to think about is what measurements did you start off to gauge success? Is it failing because the targets were too high, or were you aiming for the wrong criteria? Did the expectations change midway through the launch? Especially when launching a new product or initiative where there are no baselines to start off, sometimes real life is the best check of what's working or not. So this is a great point to bring it back to "What determines success" and then "Do we have what we need to reach this goal" and then go back to your GTM plan and see if it still's the right path towards your newly re-established metrics.
A good measure of success is also time-bound. Did you give your GTM strategy enough time to be tested to breathe and determine if it's not working.
Seemingly counterintuitive is also a balance of failing fast. Know what's not working quickly by measuring often and don't be too attached to your strategy. Which looks to be exactly what you're doing! So already whoever asked this question is in the right path and mindset.
So I have three principles framework for strategy: the diagnosis, the guiding principles, and the coherent action. This framework has guided me in three careers, including tech. You can read about it in a famous book called Good Strategy, Bad Strategy.
So if your strategy isn't working. How do you go about redesigning it? Well, first, you need to diagnose the opportunity or the problem. This first part is where you should spend the majority of your time. Why did it fail? What does your crucial buyer want? What is the opportunity in the market? Then the next part is the hardest part of your job—aligning leadership on the diagnosis.
Once you have aligned teams around the core problem, you'll proceed with the guiding principles. The guiding principles aren't tactics. They are meant as guidelines for any solution. So any solution to this problem or opportunity has to adhere to said guidelines. For example, if your market is partner-driven, then your guiding principle could be that any solution needs to be partner-led. Again the next part is the hardest, aligning teams to the guiding principles. Then your coherent actions or your tactics to solve the problem.
They key here is alignment, alignment, alignment.
GTM strategy, whether you're designing it for the first time or redesigning it for the 8th time, starts with your customers and your market.
First, talk to your customers. Win/loss interviews are a treasure trove of insight. Talk to your best customers -- the ones who bought your product quickly, without asking for discounting, and the ones who keep buying. Talk to the ones who passed on your product. Why did they pass? Was the product not meeting expectations? Priced too high? Were they not finding value out of the product? What was their experience like working with your company's sales team?
Second, talk to your sales team (if you have one). Where are they finding friction in their sales process? What do THEY think are the main challenges in getting customers to buy?
Third, do your market research. Has anything happened in your market that might have shifted customer expectations for how your product's pricing, functionality, or value? Did a competitor introduce something that is completely eating away your market share?
A good solution starts with a good diagnosis. The GTM strategy -- your pitch, your GTM plans, recommendations on product adjustments, promotion channels, etc. -- all depend on that diagnosis.
The most important thing to dig into here is why the existing GTM strategy is not working. Without deeply understanding this, you're just guessing blindly when doing GTM planning. Focus on really understanding your points of failure, speak with customers, speak with analysts, understand the market, and try again.