Developing a Go-to-Market Plan (GTM)
When your company’s offering is ready to “go-live”, it is important to create a Go-to-Market (“GTM”) plan before launching publicly. A GTM plan is a comprehensive strategy that details how your offering will reach customers. Here are the 4 main components used to build a GTM plan (most applicable to B2B & B2B2C companies with medium to long-term sales cycles):
1. Define a Target Market
Identify the attributes and persona of the customers who will receive your offering. For example, region, demographic, spending habits, usage, and benefits. Having a target market helps you pinpoint outreach to save time and allows you to refine your messaging upfront. For example, you may prioritize niche target customers who need your solution 100x/month, if you know the average usage is 30x/month.
- Identify the customer profile — Attributes and persona of target customers.
Example of Target Market:
Company = SwiftNibble, a food delivery platform. Customer = Restaurants.
SwiftNibble’s Target Market for its Restaurant Customers:
• Region = San Francisco; Los Angeles
• Demographic = 1+ year in operation; fast casual & fast food
• Customer potential usage = 30–50x per month
• Customer potential revenue per usage = $10 per interaction
• Customer revenue opportunity = $3k-$5k revenue per month
2. Make it Easy for the Customer
Once you have a shortlist of target customers, get their buy-in early by making your offering easy to use. This means having the customer feel (a) valued as a VIP and (b) minimal disruption to their existing workflow. In particular, with long-term sales cycles, roll out the following to the customer:
- Initial Outreach — A message to announce your offering.
Example continuing with SwiftNibble:
Hi [Restaurant Contact Name],
Given your delicious Nigerian cuisine, I thought you would be interested in an early preview of our new ‘SwiftNibble 30-min Delivery’, helping restaurants increase sales and reduce takeout delivery delays by 50%. We’re excited about early users like yourself, and want to ensure our offering is tailored to your specific needs. We have already increased revenue for restaurants by 5% to date, and you can find more information on our One-Pager attached. ‘SwiftNibble 30-min Delivery’ is ready to go, so please let me know if you’d like to get started.
[Company Contact Name] + [Attach One-Pager]
- A Simple One-Pager — A short, concise flyer to educate target customers on your offering (e.g., How to Write a One-Pager).
- A Customer Kick-Off Meeting — A 30-min meeting with early customers to re-convey your offering’s value (e.g., use your initial outreach + one-pager as talking points).
- 1-on-1 Time — Office hours to answer customer questions and create positive anticipation (e.g., have a few sign-ups ahead of the Kick-Off Meeting to create momentum).
- Ongoing Feedback and Training — Constant requests for feedback from customers, which leaves them feeling valued for their insights and well-versed on your offering. This feedback loop will also make for a better product experience (e.g., gather feedback in email, surveys, customer service hotlines, or however you can obtain it).
- Research — Regular research on how the customer can better use your offering, or better reach their own end-consumer (e.g., if SwiftNibble shares research with restaurant customers that their end-consumers are more likely to order from restaurants using compostable packaging, which could improve the restaurant’s revenue).
3. Create Messaging to the Customer
As you continue to engage customers, be sure to remain fluid in your messaging and test it often. Remember this is a Go-to-Market plan, which means your offering is being seen for the first time by many — thus, your explanation of its advantages may also change (even if your offering itself does not). Be equipped with:
- Value Proposition — The central problem your offering will address for customers, and how you provide a solution — this is an explanation of your offering’s benefits, which helps close sales with target customers (e.g., speed, cost-cutting, increased sales, better margins, ease, durability, customer satisfaction, access, reduced attrition, etc.). Be sure to regularly revise your sales materials and other content with the most up-to-date messaging.
- Case Studies, Customer Quotes, or Positive Metrics — Detailed examples of things your company did well with existing customers, which can be used to entice target customers. Ensure that your examples convey measurable results (e.g., case studies).
Once ready to scale, begin taking deliberate steps to expand. This will help you grow your offering’s reach organically with the support of your strongest customer advocates. (Note that traditional marketing, such as ads and SEO, have been omitted here due to their likely high costs and slow turnaround).
- Referrals — Ask your strongest existing customers for introductions to new customers. If your existing customers bring warm leads, they will often close sales faster than most other leads (e.g., SwiftNibble asking their best restaurant customers to invite a neighboring restaurant to use the offering).
- Sales Education — Train your salespeople thoroughly to yield the highest conversion rates ; this includes both short-term and long-term sales teams (e.g., train on how to qualify leads, research leads, demo your offering, etc.)
- Customer Base Leverage — Keep existing customers engaged as VIPs while you scale; as existing customers are less expensive to acquire than new customers. Use tactics such as cross-selling and upselling within your offering to tap into your current customer base (e.g., a clothing distributor encouraging department store customers to purchase belts in addition to jeans).
Developing a Go-to-Market plan ahead of your launch is an effective way to anticipate the resources needed to distribute your offering successfully. Follow your GTM plan to create cohesion amongst your team and optimize your chances of reaching your customers as expected.
• The 10-Point Checklist to Launch Your Business
• 12 Steps to Scale a Business
• How to Calculate Market Size
• 7 Steps To Assess Your Competition
• Competitive Advantages That Last
• Finding The Right Customer Profile
• How To Measure Results
• Know Your Niche & Costs
• Developing a Go-to-Market Plan (GTM)
• 4 Steps of Customer Discovery Before You Launch
Pitch Decks & Messaging
• How to Make a Pitch Deck for Your Fund
• How to Write an Investor Update (With Example)
• How to Write a One Pager
• 9 Easy Steps to Build Your Company’s Messaging
• How to Make a Great Pitch Deck
• 3-Month Fundraising Plan — Priced Equity Round
• A Simple Way to Track Your Business Finances
• The First Service Providers To Hire For Your Business
• Who Should You Hire Next?
• Customer Service Basics
• Save Your Business in 60 Days: Cutting Costs — Part 1
• Helpful Tips for Better Operations
• 5 Ways to Productize Your Business
• The Importance of Denouncing Racism
Photo by Andrew Itaga