Go-to-Market Strategy: Step-by-step Guide
Are you going to launch a new product or service and want to maximize its chances for the success? Are you planning to raise capital? The first thing your potential investors will ask you is if you have a solid go-to-market strategy. This document will guide you through the entire process and ensure your investors that you are on the right path. Consider this: about 30,000 new products are launched every year and only some of them become successful. But more than 90% of new products fail and the key reason for this is the lack of preparation. Companies invest a lot of time and effort in designing and manufacturing new products and leave little time and budget for marketing them. But you can’t launch a successful product or service without a well-planned go-to-market strategy that really works and is focused on your customers’ needs.
You need a carefully thought out go-to-market plan to avoid wasting time and resources targeting the wrong audience or bringing your new product to the market when it is too early or too late. Need advice on how to do it right? In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to ensure a successful product launch. Keep reading to get familiar with the whole process.
What Is a Go-to-Market Strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is an action plan which determines how a company is going to reach their target audience and achieve a competitive advantage.
- It is developed by a product marketing team in coordination with cross-functional teams to ensure that the go-to-market process is a success.
- It can be applied to launching a new product, moving current products into a new market or even re-launching your company.
- The strategy typically includes a business plan that outlines key resources and sales and marketing strategy that is focused on how to bring new products or services to the market.
- The goal of the product launch plan is to make sure that a product will reach the right audience, based on the buyers’ personas.
Keep in mind that a go-to-market strategy and a marketing strategy are different concepts although they are sometimes used interchangeably.
- A marketing strategy should be ongoing, it’s an evolving document which preferably covers the horizon of at least three years.
- A go-to-market strategy always relates to something new. It is developed for launching and marketing a new product or when you are planning to expand into a new market. The document outlines the work that should be done based on a fixed timeline for launch and includes milestones that need to be reached.
Steps to Build a Go-to-Market Plan
To put it simply, a go-to-market strategy is a specific version of your marketing plan. It’s a more tactical document that specifies how you will build and deliver value to your target audience. It is narrower in scope as it focuses on only one product/service/offering and outlines strategies and tactics necessary for the release, promotion, and sales of a product. It should be comprehensive enough and, at the same time, agile so you will be able to update it as you get customer feedback.
Development of the winning go-to-market strategy requires significant efforts and time resources. We'll be happy to support you in this journey and take the burden off your shoulders.
You can also develop your own go-to-market strategy, if you follow these 10 steps.
1. Do research to gather data and make analysis
- First, you need to identify the problem that your new product can solve and explain how you determined that there is the need for it. You must explain in detail how your product solves that problem, providing figures and graphs for supporting the assertion.
- Tell about your strategic objectives and explain how your product will evolve and what you are hoping to achieve in 6 months or a year.
- Define the target markets for your product, their size and buying power. Think about your ideal customers who will benefit from your new product or service, discuss demographics, and provide segmentation. Include market research that supports your objectives.
- Identify market trends that can affect the product launch and its success. Describe competitive landscape and how your main competitors will react to the launch of your product.
- Tell about available distribution options and provide details about beta testing plans.
All this information will help you to put together an effective go-to-market strategy.
2. Build market strategy
This section must cover your plan to achieve the objectives for your product. You should briefly discuss a lot of aspects, including your unique value proposition, how your product fits the market (positioning), messaging (3 pain points your product solves or benefits for consumers), sales and support model, stages in the buyers journey, 1 or 2 buyers personas (tell about their specific characteristics, and behaviors), and use cases.
3. Develop pricing strategy
Explain the choice and the benefits of pricing strategies which you will use during the product launch as well as during its lifespan. Think whether you should use introductory discounts to encourage people to try your product. Your pricing strategy should be based on your business model, but you should also consider the message your pricing sends to your customers about the value your new product or service will provide. Pricing will have an impact on all other aspects of your go-to-market strategy as well as sales process so it’s important to choose the right pricing model.
4. Create external marketing program
Marketing a new product is crucial for its success so this section should cover all aspects of marketing, including branding strategy, content (articles, blog, ebooks, white papers, video), lead generation, marketing website, PR strategy, advertising, and events.
5. Marketing process
Marketing process is essentially the list of your daily actions related to delivering value to your customer and essentially making them happy. At the beginning of your journey, most of the marketing actions will lie on your shoulders. And this is great because you will be learning a lot from your customers. And eventually you will be able to create even better services for them.
As your business grows, you will have to delegate more and more of marketing stuff to your team. Moreover, you would have to automate a lot of tasks. The challenge here is to keep track on what's going on with your marketing activities and never lose connection with your customers who should always remain the single source of truth for you.
Easier said than done. As you know the business growth is not linear - it grows in leaps. You need to have a proper plan in place and the processes established way ahead of time to be prepared for the next level of business complexity.
6. Sales process
Selling a product is the ultimate goal of any business so you need to briefly outline your sales process. Tell what specific tools and resources will be used by your sales team to find potential customers, engage with them, and sell your product to them. You need to describe customer acquisition and selling channels and tell how you are planning to train your sales team. You need to have a plan on how you are going to expand your sales team as you grow the scale of your business.
7. Outline service support
If you want to build strong relationships with your customers, offering a good customer support is a must. Tell what tools you will use to maintain customer relationships (CRM) and how you are going to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. This section should also cover retention strategies. If your new product or service is complex, you may need to provide an ongoing training support or training series and teach your customers to use it.
8. Prepare your launch budget and clarify resources
Even a great product can fail due to inadequate budgeting, so you need to carefully estimate your budgetary requirements and make your budget as accurate as possible. Your budget should include costs for development of your new product, its manufacturing, and marketing costs. Estimate your expected cash flow from future sales. Besides, you will need some extra resources (typically 5-10% of your total budget) if something doesn’t go as planned.
9. Define your business case
Tell about your reasons to launch the product and advantages of maintaining it on the market. What benefits do you expect to get? This is the time when you must do the math. You need to create a sustainable business model, that will ensure that your key resources (the team, cash, amenities) are aligned with your growth pace.
10. Determine KPIs and metrics
Every go-to-market strategy needs meaningful metrics to measure its success. To determine how successful your new product or service is, you will need to compare what you want to accomplish (your objectives) and the key results. That’s why you need to choose from 2 to 5 appropriate metrics that you will use to describe your outcome. You’ll be able to determine that you have achieved your objective if all your metrics are completed.
We have outlined the basic steps to building an effective go-to-market strategy and it’s a great place for you to start. But you should remember that for any strategy to be successful, it must be based on in-depth market research and analysis, be flexible and up-to-date. Besides, go-to-market strategies will be different for different companies, markets, and industries. That’s why creating a solid go-to-market strategy for a successful product launch is not easy. You will need to invest substantial time and resources in this complicated process. If you are planning to launch a new product or service, contact us and schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you in developing a winning go-to-market strategy that will attract, convert, and retain the most desirable customers. It will be built around the proven process and based on the specifics of your business. We will help you give your product or service the best chance for success.
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