A go-to-market strategy is different from a business strategy, but they should work together. So let’s start by clarifying the difference:
A go-to-market strategy is the process used to bring the company, a product, or a solution to market. Whereas a business strategy considers the overall company functions – such as how to get the funding you need to operate.
Some companies do not have a formal go-to-market strategy, while others have duct-taped a process together that is more about tactical steps to generate sales. While sales is an essential part of getting a product to market, the actual strategy should start much earlier during the R&D stage.
In fact, I like to think of a go-to-market strategy as a four-legged chair that must include:
- customer success.
Having all of these organizations working together as a cohesive unit allows you to consider all stages of the customer journey and build alignment around your ultimate corporate goal.
The importance of the customer journey
The customer journey is just that—a journey taken by the prospective customer, from the time they first engage with your company, through the sales process, and into account management and customer engagement.
If the customer is not taken into consideration at the product stage, your product launch will be less effective. That’s why I make the argument that the marketing department should own the go-to-market strategy. Afterall, who is in charge of defining and understanding the company’s target customer? Marketing, that’s who.
The product team may have amazing ideas, but if they don’t suit the needs of the customer, then that product won’t sell.
Building the go-to-market team
In addition to the marketing and product teams, sales and customer success should be part of the conversation. After all, these two teams are in direct contact with customers everyday and bring a wealth of information about what customers are asking for.
Specifically, sales understands:
- How to position a product in the market
- The elements of a buyer’s journey
- The type of leads they need marketing to help bring in.
On the other hand, the customer success department is tasked with product implementation, training, retention, and overall customer satisfaction. They are the first ones to hear about problems and have a clear understanding of the customer’s needs.
Remember: it’s important not just to sell to a customer once, you must also consider customer retention.
Having a strong go-to-market strategy is an essential part of the G.R.I.T. Marketing Method, and getting marketing involved in the process, helps a company increase revenue exponentially. Read more about it in my book, Sway: Implement the G.R.I.T. Marketing Method to Gain Influence and Drive Corporate Strategy.