Sales & Distribution
Every GTM strategy needs to define the sales channels used to reach customers, such as direct sales, partnerships, online platforms, or third-party distributors. Relying solely on a single sales channel can limit your reach and hinder growth potential, so you should aim to explore and leverage multiple channels. For SaaS startups (for example), the sales and distribution channels require a distinct approach. SaaS startups should focus on leveraging online platforms, digital marketing, and inbound sales techniques to reach their target audience. Factors like scalability, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility should be evaluated while considering the unique characteristics of the target market. By strategically selecting and optimising the right sales and distribution channels, you can effectively engage your audience, drive customer acquisition, and foster long-term growth.
For many startups, distribution will primarily be online or direct. However, there may be the need to define other channels, such as indirect and/ or via partnerships.
Marketing promotion and growth
Arguably one of the most critical elements of your GTM strategy is a clear marketing plan. It is essential for successfully introducing and promoting your product to your target audience. It involves summarising your primary go-to-market channels that will build awareness, engage your audience and convert customers.
The marketing plan should also support and drive your predicted growth engine(s). In The Lean Startup, Author Eric Ries outlines the Engines of Growth; sticky, viral, and paid engines. These help startups focus on a small set of actionable metrics.
The sticky engine of growth focuses on the product and seeks to attract and retain customers through high engagement and customer loyalty. The viral engine leverages the power of virality (not to be confused with network effects), whereas the paid engine of growth relies completely on investing in advertising (or paid channels) to acquire new customers. By nature, this is the costliest method so exploring how an organic strategy can
support this may also be important for go-to-market.
It’s important to realise that the three engines of growth are often used in combination, but for almost every successful start-up they will have a hypothesis on what is likely to be their most successful engine of growth. This should be predicted and articulated in any GTM strategy.
Neglecting customer success is another common mistake, as it is crucial for driving growth and retaining customers in any industry. A well-defined CX strategy should include a seamless onboarding process, personalised support, and ongoing training to ensure a positive customer experience. Regular check-ins, knowledge base and webinars contribute to effective customer support. Measuring customer satisfaction through feedback collection, surveys, and usage analysis helps optimise your product and enhance the overall customer experience. By prioritising customer success early in the GTM process, companies can cultivate long-term relationships, foster loyalty, and achieve sustainable growth. Retaining existing customers requires significantly less time, investment and effort compared to the multiple interactions required with new customers through paid campaigns, targeted ads, and sponsorships before making a sale.
What is essential in this step is making sure to include a clear plan to both nurture and learn from those early adopters [of your product]. These are generally people whose need is so great that they are willing to put up with the inconvenience of an imperfect product. Listening to their feedback will provide a tremendous opportunity for both future product development and growth.
Goals and Performance Indicators
The final component of any GTM strategy should be a set of early-stage goals & milestones or performance indicators. These set out the direction the startup plans to head and the metrics to which it will hold itself accountable.
This section of a GTM strategy is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts and tracking the overall success of your product launch. It involves keeping an eye on some key indicators.
Measuring customer acquisition cost helps evaluate the efficiency of marketing and sales efforts, while churn rate indicates customer retention. Average order size provides insights into revenue generation, and gross sales reflect overall financial performance. Tracking your monthly active users allows you to gauge user engagement and growth.
Some metrics like customer acquisition costs/ lifetime value as well as, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), annual run rate (ARR), cash runway, and aspects of virality may pose challenges in measurement due to limited data, evolving customer base, or resource constraints.
It is crucial to prioritise measuring customer experience alongside marketing and sales metrics. By measuring customer satisfaction, through feedback collection and usage analysis, continuous improvement of the product can be achieved, leading to enhanced customer experiences, and increased retention. Understanding how customers interact with the product through analysing product usage provides valuable insights for data-driven decision-making. By prioritising customer success and leveraging these insights, companies can foster loyalty, build strong customer relationships, and achieve sustainable growth.
By understanding and monitoring these indicators, you can make informed decisions, identify areas for improvement, and optimise your GTM strategy to drive growth and maximise the success of your product.
A great method for setting our clear goals and measuring milestones is the Objectives and Key Results framework. Including 3 or 4 company-wide OKRs in your GTM strategy will demonstrate to investors that you have a clear roadmap for the go-to-market period and that their investment will help you achieve these milestones.
Crafting an effective go-to-market strategy is key in ensuring you feel more confident ahead of approaching investors. Aside from making you investor ready, a great GTM strategy is the cornerstone of a successful product launch. By incorporating and successfully executing these key components, you can set your startup on the path to sustainable growth. Investing in this crucial early-stage resource will enable you to captivate investors, resonate with potential customers, and propel your startup to success.