Make a Go To Market Strategy, not a Go To Market Plan
Everyone talks about the importance of the Go To Market strategy (GTM for short) created by Product Marketing, yet I rarely see them created or maintained in companies. I am also calling this a STRATEGY and not a Plan. You will often hear people talk about how you need a Go To Market plan. This may be semantics for some but a plan tends to reference a “point in time” effort to accomplish a specific goal (Launch Plans are a great example). I find that people get GTM Strategies and Launch Plans mixed up constantly.
Your GTM Strategy is how you are consistently & continuously bringing the product to market; it is NOT how you are launching the product or a feature.
When you first launch a product to market, you will have a GTM Strategy AND a Launch Plan. It is really important to understand this difference. Here I will cover the GTM Strategy, while Pillar 6 covers the Launch Plan.
Your GTM Strategy is the culmination of your work as a Product Marketer, combining everything you’ve done up to this point:
- Addressing your identified Target Market, the buyers and their needs
- Leveraging your extensive knowledge of your product
- Crafting the narrative that connects your solution to your buyer’s problems
- Creating the financial goals for achieving your business plan
Just as with the other pillar overviews, this article will by an overview of the GTM Strategy and what should be part of your efforts. I will be creating a Templates & Guides article which will have a template you can fill out yourself.
What to Include In Your First Go To Market Strategy
Your GTM Strategy should include, at a bare minimum, the following sections. Remember, favor actionable information over endless thoroughness. Nobody wants to read a 50 page GTM document.
Align to the Corporate Strategy
The most important part of your GTM strategy, that sets the foundation for everything else, is the statement and goals for the product. The opening section should outline how this product helps the company achieve its goals, including a 3 year plan on how to achieve your goals. Your first year goals will be specific, starting with the total revenue/bookings goal that year for the product. You should also have a revenue breakdown from new logo, expansions, and renewals (if applicable). Once you know what those numbers are, you can start to create additional goals to achieve each of those numbers. Not sure how to track those numbers? Use this template and guide for tracking and forecasting.
- How much are you going to expand in the first year?
- What will be your target retention rate?
- How many new logos will you need?
This is the only section that you will outline anything beyond the 1st year. The rest of this document should focus on the next 12 months.
Identify your Target Market
You have already worked to uncover your target market from your ongoing efforts related to Pillar 1. You are now surfacing everything you know in an easily consumable format. This ensures that anyone working on anything related to this product, understands exactly who your target market is, the buyers involved, and their entire purchase process.
If you are going after different market segments, that other departments must be aware of, include all of that information here. Also breakdown how much of the annual revenue you expect to obtain from each target market (SMB vs Enterprise / / Norther America vs EMEA // etc)
Messaging & Narrative
You will also surface your messaging document as part of your Go To Market strategy. You can elect to either summarize a more in-depth document here, or include the details directly in this document in order to reduce redundant work.
Product & Pricing Overview
Working with your Product Manager, you will create an overview of the product this GTM applies to. Primarily focused on the defensible differentiators. You want to include the buyer-important facts here, not how the product solves for buyer needs (as that’s covered in the messaging section). Include as much, or as little, information that helps define your GTM strategy. If there is anything about the product that changes how you go to market, you must include that here. For example, if you are a SaaS-based company with an instance in EMEA, you will want to add that information here. I also encourage you to include a summary of your PM’s Roadmap for the product.
Additionally, you will include your (hopefully) value-based pricing & packaging information.
The work that you’ve done in identifying your target market includes competitive research. In this section, you must include all competitive information related to your product. Especially where your product wins and where it falls short. This helps sales and marketing campaign planning know how to navigate when thinking of things like competitive take-down campaigns.
Routes to Market
Since you have all of your financial goals, and your target market, you must identify how you’re going to get to that market. This includes any financial segmentation based on whether you’re going direct to market, through channel partners, self-service buying, or some other route. You will primarily work with your sales leadership to help build this piece out.
Marketing & Sales Campaign Alignment
Your corporate marketing department has year or quarter long marketing campaigns that run. In this section, you will work with marketing to outline how you will align your GTM Strategy to the Campaign Plans, including any major product launches planned for the year. You will also work with your Sales Enablement/Leadership teams to understand their sales plans for the year, and how to align your GTM efforts to their plans.
Whether it’s someone on the C-Suite, or reporting up to the board of directors, you will be grateful later when you have a single page summary of your GTM efforts.
Do you have a Go To Market Strategy today for each of your products? If not, I encourage you to go through the effort to make them. Depending on how your target market buys, and your overall selling motion, you may opt to have a single GTM strategy with sub-sections for each of your products, or entirely different GTM strategies for each of them.
In doing this effort, you will uncover gaps in the company plans and you will help inform year long plans for other departments. Additionally, you will be able to take the company financial goals for the year and identify exactly how you plan to achieve those goals through your products.
Maintaining your GTM Strategies
It’s not enough to create your Go To Market strategy and then let it collect dust in a folder somewhere. You must actively keep these updated, at a bare minimum of once a quarter, to track your ongoing progress towards the goals you setup. This helps you identify if you’re on track, or need to work with other departments to quickly adjust your course.
This isn’t easy and not a lot of PMMs actually do it. But when you do, it makes the world of a difference!
If you want to talk to me directly, join me on the Product Strategy slack. It’s a brand new slack channel for both PMs & PMMs to come together and elevate our crafts.
Good luck out there!