The B2B tech guide to go-to-market strategies – what they are and why they’re critical for launch success
You wouldn’t try to assemble a flat-pack wardrobe without a set of instructions, because you wouldn’t know how it all fits together. Likewise, trying to launch a new business or product without a set of instructions will almost certainly get you nowhere.
In the first example, you might just end up with a wobbly wardrobe. In the second, you could end up with a failed business. A study by the Harvard Business School showed that up to 95% of new products launched every year fail, while it’s estimated that 90% of start-ups burn out within a year.
The set of instructions you need to succeed is a go-to-market strategy.
What is a go-to-market strategy?
Simply put, it’s an action plan that brings together all the aspects of your business – product functions, sales and marketing, pricing, brand awareness and market analysis. It’s a framework within which you can:
- clearly identify who you are selling to and why (what problem are you solving?)
- define and refine your product-market fit
- articulate your unique value proposition
- determine the channels you will use to engage customers
- decide how you can differentiate your business or product in the market.
- develop an effective sales and marketing strategy that will build brand awareness and establish a pipeline of hot leads.
It’s the who, what, why, where, when, and how you will launch your business or product.
A go-to-market strategy is not the same as a marketing strategy or business plan although it overlaps with both. Think of it as a subset of those bigger plans. While they deal with the business as a whole on a long-term basis, the go-to-market strategy is focused on one product or initial business launch stage and takes a shorter-term approach.
When do you need a go-to-market strategy?
A go-to-market strategy is an essential element of every B2B tech founder’s business strategy toolkit. Whether you are launching a new business with an associated new product or service or already have an established business but want to introduce a new or updated product or enter a new market (verticals or geographies) you will need a go-to-market strategy. It provides the step-by-step framework that will help you avoid failure.
What are the benefits of a go-to-market strategy?
The key benefit, of course, is a much greater chance of business success. A global survey by CoSchedule found that marketers with a documented strategy are 313% more likely to report positive outcomes.
The benefits of a go-to-market strategy include:
- reducing time to market
- ensuring you have product–market fit
- enabling you to target the right customers
- managing sales expectations
- minimising the costs involved in a product or business launch
- supporting an excellent customer experience
- securing faster profit
- creating a feedback loop that helps you adapt to change and refine your strategy and tactics
- reassuring investors that you’ve taken the time to analyse your product, market and competitors.
What are the risks of not having a go-to-market strategy?
Without a well-developed go-to-market strategy you risk investing time and resources in a scattergun approach that is unlikely to bear fruit. You’ll waste time targeting the wrong audience. You might spend money on aggressive customer acquisition tactics like intensive advertising and discounts and then find that you can’t sustain them. You may spread your efforts too thinly resulting in little or no market impact.
The result of forging ahead without a strategy and action plan is often high costs and low conversion rates, or worse still, business failure.
These are risks you can avoid by simply taking time to develop a go-to-market strategy. It’s your blueprint for business success.
This proven framework will help you achieve a successful launch and give your business or product the best chance of securing market share.