Go-to-Market Strategy 101: Your Complete Guide

Growth is the dream of every business owner. The prospect of growth is never more exciting or uncertain than when your company is executing a go-to-market strategy.

So many moving parts demand a comprehensive strategy flexible enough to respond to challenges but strong enough to keep its shape in the face of innumerable pressures.

Our guide today will give you the 101 on go-to-market strategies and some actionable tips to create your own GTM plan.

What is a Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy?

At its core, a go-to-market strategy is the methods and practices your company employs to introduce a new revenue stream. This could mean a product launch, a new feature, or an expansion into a new market.

Go-to-Market Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy

Your GTM strategy is not the same as your marketing strategy.

You can think of a GTM plan as the transition phase between creating a new revenue source and the act of turning that source on. Perhaps more accurately, it’s the plan to turn that source of revenue on.

This is in contrast to a marketing plan that is more narrowly focused on promoting the product and generating demand for it.

What’s in a GTM Strategy?

Any good GTM strategy should have these three aspects.

1. Flexibility

Your GTM process needs to remain efficient and flexible in the face of any challenge. Your leaders should be competent and in synch with the grand strategy to execute the vision without the need for inefficient chains of command. Lower-level workers need to understand the vision just as well, so they can adapt to challenges and call for necessary support before problems become unmanageable.

2. Repeatability and Scalability

Go-to-market is a process that directly feeds the growth of your business. In essence, it is growth because it involves expanding revenue channels and generating demand for brand-new products or features.

This is a process your company has to optimize over time because there are far too many moving parts and unique variables for any one strategy to ever be considered perfect.

A GTM strategy, therefore, needs to be repeatable and iterative. Each new version of go-to-market should build on the ones that came before it, incorporating new perspectives and data on performance.

Since GTM is fundamentally a growth strategy, it needs to be scalable. If your GTM isn’t scaling, then you aren’t growing.

3. A Unifying Perspective

Your first GTM strategy meeting is the time to lay out goals and expectations. More than this, it’s a time to get everyone on board with the vision your leaders have crafted.

All stakeholders need to understand their roles and how they stand to gain from the success of the plan and the company. This kind of unifying vision is what brings people together and forms a cohesive team. It builds motivation and understanding, and leads to a productive strategy.

Examples of Go-to-Market Strategy for Startups and Large Businesses

Go-to-market channels, or strategies, are best understood as sets of goals and how you plan to achieve them. For simplicity, we’ve organized this list into three types of GTM, defined by their primary mode of demand generation.

However, you could also look at these from the perspective of execution and build a plan with those ideas as the foundation.

Inbound Led

An inbound-led campaign is the bread and butter of many B2B GTM operations.

It involves generating and capturing demand via content marketing. Content should be marketed through multiple channels to ensure maximum lead capture. Data should be enriched on the back end before being qualified and fed to sales, which focuses on high-quality leads and conversions.

In an inbound-led campaign, your growth is tied to the ability of marketing and sales to work together to drive conversions. The more efficiently they can carry out this task, the more you’ll grow.

Product Led

Sometimes a product can speak for itself.

A product-led GTM strategy is right for SaaS companies that can roll out features and expansions at a minimal initial cost. The strength of the product means that users will uncover new features and adopt new products organically. Upselling, deals, checkout, and scaling can all be managed from within the product.

In a product-led GTM, growth is tied to the ability of the product to deliver value and promise even more through added features.

Category Led

An idea can transform a marketplace.

If your company has a revolutionary idea or technology, you can focus on becoming a category leader. This will be based on your ability to assume an authoritative position in your marketplace, either through thought leadership or culmination around a revolutionary product.

For category-led GTM, your growth is tied to your ability to build a movement and spearhead a new marketplace for your developing product or idea.

How Do You Create a Go-to-Market Plan?

Any go-to-market example will involve many moving parts and must be uniquely designed for your company and revenue stream.

Here are three principles you should follow when forming a new GTM plan.

1. Put Together a Strong Team

A go-to-market team needs representatives from marketing, sales, product, technology, customer service, and senior leadership. This is a complex team with many moving parts, so pick leadership candidates based on their ability to understand and articulate a strong vision while allowing for employee flexibility and enabling problem-solving.

2. Identify Your Motion

You’ll need to determine what motion your company will be executing. A motion is defined by the steps your company takes to add and nurture the new revenue stream that’s going to market.

The actions needed for each of these motions are unique, so each one will need a different team with distinct responsibilities.

The three motions identified by GTM partners are:

  • A new buyer persona: A new idealized buyer that your company needs to cater to. You’ll likely need new marketing materials, sales strategies, onboarding, and content.
  • A new product or service: You may now have new competitors, a new marketplace, and new requirements on educational content and industry knowledge.
  • A new geographic location: You may need new sales, marketing, onboarding, and resource strategies to equal or surpass growth in other locations.

3. Follow the M.O.V.E Framework

GTM partners developed the M.O.V.E. framework as a strategic process designed to simplify planning and streamline thought processes. If you’re unsure how to begin planning, these steps are a great place to start.

M.O.V.E. stands for:

  • Market: Who to market to?
  • Operations: What do we need to perform efficiently?
  • Velocity: When and how can we scale?
  • Expansion: Where will we grow the most?

M.O.V.E. stands for four questions that your leadership and key team members will all need to agree on answers to before implementing your plan.

Go-to-Market Must Be Constantly Reiterated

It’s crucial to understand that go-to-market is not a singular strategy or action. It can’t be encompassed by a single department or goal other than “for the success of the company.”

The point of acknowledging this is to understand that every GTM plan or strategy needs to be created with the goal of efficiency, flexibility, and a unified vision.

Read more about go-to-market strategies and how to optimize your newest revenue stream as quickly and efficiently as possible in “The Comprehensive Guide to Go-to-Market” ebook.

How to Build a Go-to-Market Team

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.

Go-to-Market Manager

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.

Marketing Manager

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.

Marketing Team

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.

Sales Manager

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.

Sales Team

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.

Additional Roles

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.

Marketing Pillars of Efficient Growth at Scale

To create an efficient growth model you need to develop a repeatable, scalable motion. And know your ‘Why’. Why should your buyers care about your company? Why did you create this product and what problems does it solve? Understanding your ‘Why’ will be the catalyst to your entire go-to-market strategy. 

Luckily, marketers have started to see a shift in growth at all costs to efficient growth based on data-driven, scalable marketing. There are big trends in the market supporting this shift — most of which focus on how to drive predictable pipeline and revenue generation with the adoption of technology, data, and prioritization of the buyer’s experience.

Source: GTM Partners

The key to driving efficient growth is to orchestrate well-timed and personalized experiences that meet the needs of the prospective buyer – where they are in their journey – reduce friction and build relationships. There are two key marketing pillars required to drive efficient growth: content and experience. Read on to see exactly why without investment in these two areas it will be tough to develop a repeatable, scalable motion.

Pillar 1: Content 

66% of marketers
are devoting more budget and resources to content
this year than the last – according to HubSpot.

Content is more imperative than ever. And you need to have it for every stage of the buyer journey. But, your content can’t just be content for the sake of content. You need to establish the right message for the right people at each stage of the buyer’s journey that maps back to your “Why”. 

Gartner does a great job illustrating how complex the B2B buyer’s journey is and why you need to ensure you have the right content to answer questions across every channel and stage. In fact, the research found that customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.

source: Gartner

There are three core components to developing a content strategy that drives efficient growth. 

Step 1: Identify topics and keywords

Understand what your audience cares about by looking at the data. What are they searching for at each stage that’s relevant to your “Why”. It’s really important to dig into keywords you are tracking and prioritizing. Your keywords will be used for several things like, capturing intent data, SEO strategy, and ultimately developing your content pillars. Remember the old adage “Crap-in, crap out”? Well it definitely holds true here, so take the time to get your keywords right!

  • What words, phrases etc. Start by thinking about what you’d seach for if you were one of your persona’s
  • Interview customers and talk to other people your company
  • Once you get a long list, do some research to see what you’re missing.

Step 2: Establish content pillars

Leveraging intent data provides great insight into what your target accounts are interested in, especially in relation to your product and solution offerings. If you don’t have an intent data provider, no problem! Go back to your keyword list and make some assumptions based on what you know. You could also try a free tool or Google Search Console to see what keywords users used to get to your website.

source: Hushly

Once you know your top keywords and topics you need to tie them back to your product and value prop and establish “Content Pillars” or themes.

source: Hushly

In this example, you can see that the organization offers B2B growth marketing solutions, and that their target accounts are showing intent for keywords such as ‘B2B Growth’ and ‘Marketing Growth.’ Do this exercise for your business and develop pillars that can support both your inbound and ABM strategies.

Step 3: Create a content matrix

Now that you have your content pillars you will need to map out the different types of content you need for each stage in the buyer’s journey, personas, and channels.

source: Hushly

Pro Tip: Most content can be turned into multiple formats with varying degrees
of depth according to the persona and stage in the buyers journey.

Hopefully, you have existing content ou can leverage, but now is a good time to inventory what you have and find the gaps you have. A lot of businesses tend to have more top of funnel content but not enough for the mid and bottom of funnel. 

The best thing about having a content matrix is when you are planning marketing campaigns you can easily pull it up to see what you have to leverage and where you need to make more investments. 

Pillar 2: Experience 

“To put it bluntly, if a buyer doesn’t like the way you
interact with them, they will go somewhere else.”
Sangram Vajre, Founder at GTM Partners

Every step in your buyer’s journey is an opportunity to delight your prospects and make doing business with you a pleasure. That’s why it’s so important to examine each step and think about how you can better enable your buyers. Where are the points of friction and how can you alleviate them? Make every interaction

purposeful and as frictionless as possible!

The best way to understand what experiences you need is to map the content you have to the touchpoints and channels you plan to deliver it on. This should allow you to easily identify what experience you need to build.

source: Hushly

Then from there, you should look to the following areas to improve the experience.

  1. Use intent data.
    In order to understand what your audience is looking for and what buying stage they are in you need to know what they are doing behind the scenes. 
  2. Inspect what you expect.
    All of your paid and earned channels should be driving your audience to your website. Evaluate what your audience is seeing when they get there.
  3. Create dynamic landing pages.
    Using the content matrix and taxonomy you developed plus advanced technology like Hushly, you can dynamically serve up a content experience that is highly relevant to your audience.
  4. Ungate content & utilize smart forms.
    These days, most of your content should be UNgated! Be sure to consider the type of content you are publishing before putting it behind a form. If you do have to use a form don’t ask for information you don’t need. 
  5. Be sticky!
    After you’ve done all the hard work of getting someone to your landing page keep them there! Perscribe content to read next and answer questions on the spot with live chat. Make sure people are finding what they are looking for and more when they are there.

We know it can be intimidating to put together an experience that is both repeatable and scalable. The good news is, there is technology and data to support us in making it happen. As we think about the buying experience, we like to design always-on programs that are in sync with your buyers needs. 

It is our job as marketers and sales teams to meet potential buyers where they are in their journey with helpful, relevant information. Leverage content and reduce friction to make it easy for buyers to discover what they need to make an informed buying decision.

source: Hushly ABM Experience

By leveraging tools like Demandbase, RollWorks, 6Sense Zoominfo or Bombora for intent data and buyer experience and conversion platforms like Hushly you can dynamically personalize your website, ABM pages, and campaign destinations in real-time. You can personalize things like:

  • Showing target account logos
  • Copy and graphics
  • Videos 
  • Swap out content by persona, account, industry, etc.
  • Providing the right account reps contact info
  • Messaging by stage of the journey

Investing in the experience does require the right resources and technology. But once you have it in place, you really can build a single page and scale it to thousands of your target accounts. This is really where you start to see efficiencies in your marketing efforts. 

Pulling it all together

Using the right technology coupled with a strong content strategy allows you to create a relevant, and scalable content

experience that will both educate and move prospects along in the buyer’s journey faster and more efficiently.

Without a content strategy and the right technology, the chances of a disconnected and inconsistent experience are high. However, when creating a content strategy, the tendency of many businesses is to create a lot of content and put it all out there (behind a gate) for prospects to consume after they give you their contact information.  And then send a BDR, or Sales Executive after them to try and get a meeting. This experience creates low conversion rates, missed revenue targets, and poor brand perception.

Increasingly, we are learning that prospects are looking to simply figure out how to do things better, and get results. They buy products with the result in mind. They do research to uncover what their options are and how they work. They are pulled in many directions so when it’s hard to find what they are looking for they will bounce and go somewhere else.

Marketing teams that create meaningful, personalized content experiences, in a repeatable, scalable way – will win the hearts, minds, and wallets of the customer. It’s time to create a better buying experience in the name of efficient growth!