The stakes are never higher than when forming a new go-to-market (GTM) team in advance of a product launch. Often, it’s a process where failure isn’t an option. Go-to-market strategies work best when they’re based on a strong vision and informed by competent advisors.
Ultimately, your success with your go-to-market will be based on your ability to select the best people for the job.
Today’s blog is an introduction to the go-to-market team structure. We’ll explain the typical job roles and how they can be flexibly implemented into any go-to-market strategy. Then, we’ll give you some tips for forming and cultivating a productive go-to-market team.
What is a Go-to-Market Team?
A go-to-market team is a group of leaders, workers, and individual contributors from several arms of your organization who come together to create and implement a go-to-market strategy.
They’re key representatives of revenue, marketing, sales, and other leadership roles who have demonstrated an ability to understand big ideas, contextualize them to their role, and act efficiently in the interests of the grand strategy. This strategy will in part be decided by them based on their input, meaning ownership and accountability should also be part of that plan.
Ultimately, it’s this flexibility that will separate a good go-to-market team from a great one.
A Typical Go-to-Market Team Structure
To keep this guide relevant to businesses of all sizes, we’ve chosen the five most important go-to-market team roles that each team should have.
Your GTM manager needs to be a leader who understands how to articulate and enforce a strong vision while supporting the flexibility needed to run an efficient system. Their focus should be on team cohesion, efficiency, and long-term goals.
Your go-to-market lead job description should make it clear that final accountability will lie with the GTM manager. This understanding should lead to a greater emphasis on thorough planning and preparation, as well as constant reassurance that each member of the team understands their responsibilities.
A crucial responsibility of the go-to-market manager is to remain impartial. There may be inefficiencies caused by too many cooks in the kitchen, and GTM managers need to be ready and willing to streamline tasks and reduce or expand personnel as needed.
You’ll want a strong strategic vision for your go-to-market team. The marketing manager should be in charge of developing that strategy in tandem with the GTM manager.
While the GTM manager is focused on the overall team cohesion, the marketing manager will handle the oversight of strategy implementation among the marketing team. This will include tasks like performing market research, creating content strategies, and demand generation.
The marketing team, led by the marketing manager, will be tasked with producing strategic content, marketing the content, and producing leads for sales to work with. Marketing teams should be in calibration with sales teams at all times to ensure consistent messaging, expectation setting, and mutual goals.
While marketing is focused on how to tell people about the product, the sales manager will work with the GTM, revenue, and product departments to figure out how to best sell it. This includes developing a sales strategy, projecting sales goals, and managing sales personnel to keep them on track and in line with expectations.
The sales team’s job is to bring in revenue while setting customer expectations. Overpromising and under-delivering is a risk whenever a new GTM strategy is implemented, and it’s the sales team’s job to fairly and positively represent the product and the realistic ways in which it will improve the lives of customers.
If you’re running a larger operation, these roles may be necessary to keep tasks streamlined and efficient:
- Product Manager: Your product department should be represented, especially in conferences with sales and marketing teams.
- Truth Source: Your truth source should be someone who can impartially gather information from different departments to form an accurate picture of performance.
- Customer Experience Manager: Ideally someone from the marketing department who can ensure a smooth and consistent customer experience that fits with the wider GTM strategy.
5 Tips for a Productive Go-to-Market Team
Selecting the right people for the job is the most important piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve got your team together, it’s time to form a cohesive unit that is aligned, motivated, and productive.
How can you carry out this task? Here are five tips for supporting a productive go-to-market team.
1. Support Flexibility Through Cohesion
A strong GTM plan bends and doesn’t break. This is because there are overarching goals that each stakeholder understands. Moreover, they understand their role within that wider vision and never lose sight of it.
A strong plan is therefore flexible because it doesn’t rely on micromanaging or inefficient chains of command. Instead, it instills an understanding of primary goals, then tasks each individual with figuring out how to best achieve them.
2. Focus on Buyer Personas
It’s no secret that we love idealized buyers. They’re your best customers by far, the most loyal, they make the biggest purchases, and they’re always the first in line to buy a new product. Remember that the specificity of this fictional buyer is bound to elicit emotional responses from real buyers who see themselves in the challenges you’ve uncovered thanks to the persona.
3. Establish Goals and Metrics
Take time during the planning stage to get everyone on board with what success looks like. There should be no questions about what everyone is expected to deliver, how performance will be measured, and who will take responsibility for each aspect of the plan.
4. Gather Data and Refine
Even during the execution of a go-to-market strategy, you should be capable of gathering data and reacting based on key metrics that your team identified in advance.
5. Always Seek the Truth
When it comes to a strategy that involves many moving parts and department representatives, there are bound to be accountability shortfalls and communication mishaps.
There will be blame shifted for failures and numbers massaged to tell softer stories. During these times, it’s important to remember the bigger picture and reprioritize. It may help to assign a specific person to track metrics and figure out the facts surrounding the performance of the plan.
Not Just a Strategy, But a Process
Your go-to-market strategy won’t be perfect when you first create it. No matter how well you think you can plan, there will always be some variable you didn’t account for.
This reality is the driver behind our philosophy that your go-to-market process should be flexible and proactive. It should be capable of reacting to challenges and squashing them before they become unmanageable. Ideally, this should be possible without the need for micromanaging, allowing senior leaders to focus on long-term vision and steering the ship.
To learn more about go-to-market strategy and theory, check out our free 39-page Go-to-Market guide.