You can scour the internet for days on end, poring over countless articles, templates, and ‘how-to’ guides on developing a go-to-market (GTM) strategy. You’ll find an abundance of best practices and recommendations designed to guide you toward success. With this overwhelming volume of information, you may wonder if there are any fresh, unique insights yet to be discovered. The reality is that the ‘new’ isn’t about finding another strategy; it’s about adopting a more holistic, company-wide approach to your go-to-market process.
The Traditional GTM Strategy – A Task-Oriented Approach
Traditionally, a go-to-market strategy implies a one-and-done plan aimed at organizational growth. It often revolves around launching a specific product or entering a new market, leading to a task-oriented approach. While such strategies can bear fruit, they tend to be limited in value and scope. What if, instead, we shift our perspective from a singular, one-time strategy to an ongoing process of ‘going to market’?
Navigating the Market – The Journey, Not the Destination
Let’s embrace the concept of a ‘going-to-market’ process. This approach involves fostering a culture of continuous growth and development throughout the organization. It extends beyond business development or sales to involve every employee, cultivating a mindset of continuous improvement and evolution.
Consider your go-to-market strategy as a ship setting sail. It’s not just about reaching a destination, but also about how you navigate the changing currents and adapt to unforeseen storms. Your journey to market should be a recurring voyage, one where you continuously seek out and capitalize on growth opportunities.
Knowing Your Customer – The Compass to Success
The heart of this process is your customer. As if your compass, the customer guides your journey, dictating your direction. You need to understand who they are, what industries they occupy, their behaviors, and their needs. Remember, your customers’ industries and needs won’t change overnight, but various factors like economic conditions, market forces, personnel changes, and unexpected events can sway their behaviors and needs.
To stay aligned with your customers, engage in regular, meaningful conversations with them. These interactions provide a wealth of information and insights that can significantly influence your decision-making. Regularly connect with your customers, not just for sales pitches, but for genuine conversations about their realities, struggles, and aspirations.
Based on our experience, we’ve found customers can generally be grouped into four categories:
- Price-sensitive customers who prioritize cost above all.
- Relationship-focused customers who value the interpersonal relationships they develop with a company.
- Customers who prioritize speed and ease in their purchasing decisions.
- Those who desire structure, looking for options to handle complex deals.
These categories serve as a foundation, guiding your approach to meet varying customer needs. The challenge is determining which group(s) to focus on. You can’t please everyone, so it’s essential to understand the behaviors of these groups and direct your resources towards those that offer the most potential for your business.
Identifying Avenues for Growth – Charting Your Course
Understanding your customer’s needs and behaviors enables you to identify new avenues for growth. Where can you improve? What additional services or products can your customers benefit from? Once you’ve identified these potential areas for growth, determine the resources needed to implement them. Encourage a culture of innovation, and you’ll be surprised at the valuable ideas your team generates.
As a business leader, be prepared to wear many hats. In my industry, we often find ourselves taking on the role of economists, analyzing customer and market trends to anticipate future needs. For example, we recognized the increase in online shopping would create
a heightened demand for smaller, neighborhood-friendly delivery vehicles. We proactively developed financing programs to cater to this emerging need, and the result was a substantial boost in our income and the ability to handle the subsequent demand increase driven by the pandemic.
The Importance of Execution – All Hands on Deck
Discovering potential growth avenues and formulating plans is crucial, but execution is where the rubber meets the road. Implementing these ideas is a team effort, requiring participation and dedication from every member of your organization. It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re perpetually in this stage, as it can often be a long-term, iterative process. One of our commercial strategies, for instance, took four years to come to fruition, ultimately resulting in a 400% growth. The key is to keep your finger on the pulse of the market and maintain an adaptive stance throughout this process.
Evaluation and Improvement – Continuous Fine-Tuning
One critical element of a successful GTM strategy often overlooked is consistent evaluation and assessment. It’s crucial to have mechanisms in place to measure the impact of your strategy. These measurements need not be limited to profit-and-loss statements – though profits are essential, of course. Customer feedback can serve as a rich source of insight. By understanding their experiences and how they are benefiting (or not benefiting) from your offerings, you can continually fine-tune your approach.
Feedback is a two-way street. Once you’ve gathered these insights, it’s vital to communicate them back to your employees. This information will guide their interactions with customers and help generate ideas for future solutions.
Never Get Comfortable – The Art of Continuous Adaptation
In the quest for sustainable growth, comfort is your adversary. It’s easy to reach a peak, become complacent, and stop seeking improvement. But comfort is the precursor to irrelevance in a dynamic market. Instead, you should strive for continuous adaptation to ensure relevance and fuel growth.
To stay viable, you need to keep your customers at the heart of your decision-making. Evaluate where they are now and where they might want to go in the future. Think ahead and lay the foundations today for the needs they will have tomorrow.
If this resonates with your business, keep your eyes fixed on your customers, be prepared to adapt, and maintain a dynamic go-to-market process. Remember, the goal is not just to go to market once but to keep ‘going to market.’ After all, sustainable growth is not a destination – it’s a journey.
It’s time to set your course and navigate your way to success. Will you step aboard? Drop us a message or schedule a call with us today to build a profitable and effective go-to-market strategy for your products.