A go-to-Market strategy does not need to be overcomplicated. In my experience, you have your best chance of getting a commercial result by starting with a simple strategy and adding to it over time.
Start with these five steps:
1. Identify who you are selling to
A) Type of Account: your Ideal Client Profile
Don’t start by trying to size up your total addressable market until you have reached a clean definition of your ICP – your Ideal Client Profile. The factors that make up your Ideal Client Profile should be completely bespoke to your business. For example, industry may or may not be a relevant factor for your ICP. Size of the account might be best measured in terms of staff; it might be best measured by or revenue; depending on what your service or product is.
Here’s three actual examples ICPs that we have recently encountered, in go-to-markets Resonate has built for clients:
- Business with 2 levels of senior leadership; 50-500 staff; privately owned.
- Enterprise or government organisation with a shift-based workforce, and complex staffing requirements, operating in a highly-regulated country.
- APRA-regulated organisations with Australian headquarters, and between 500 and 5,000 end-user devices.
B) Type of Decision Maker: your Buyer Persona
Good brands get one thing right first: their Primary Buyer Persona. No point documenting 10 different potential buyers until you have understood the main person correctly. Build a simple GTM on one persona, nail it, then add another, and another.
Side note: don’t waste time getting into irrelevant detail. Most buyer persona templates out there have categories and fields that suit an eCommerce business operating at high volume, trying to target a specific kind of consumer. You don’t have that level of targeting available to you in most B2B sales, as your prospect numbers are too low. In most cases, your ICP is far more important than your buyer persona.
2. Craft your messaging
Core messaging should include:
- Your unique value proposition. This is a few sentences about the tangible value your customers get from your services. It should be interesting and unique enough to make someone tune in and listen (or read) closely.
- Who you are as a business. For the most part, Resonate works with SMEs who might be completely unknown outside a defined network. Prepare messaging that lets a stranger get an instant appreciation for what your brand is about.
- An ‘elevator pitch’. This should be an actionable piece of messaging that you or your sales team can use in conversation. It will also inform what you say on your website, or other marketing collateral, when it comes to positioning whatever you are selling in this go-to-market.
- Differentiation. Whether you realise it or not, you have competition. Your competition might be obvious: a similar company with a similar offering. Your competition could actually be internal people within a company that your service replaces, or it might be an innovation that makes a very different nature of product obsolete. Whoever your competition, you messaging needs to show how you are different.
3. Choose your offering
Your go-to-markets should not start with a product or offering: that’s why this is Step 3. Once you have properly understood your ICP and buyer, select the mix of services and products you will take to that market. This point may also change once you have had a proper look at Step 4.
4. Build your commercial model
Pricing and profitability: here we come. I am presuming you already understand your fixed and variable costs and have various financial goals and metrics for the business. Beyond cost of operations, you want to factor in:
- Cost of Sales. Will you pay a commission? Are you or other leaders taking time away from other duties to get involved in sales? All of these impact the cost of sales. Pick a simple sales strategy to get started, ideally with your existing Sales resources or Founder-led sales. Don’t hire fresh salespeople AND build a brand new go-to-market at the same time: test the go-to-market with this simple framework before you hire.
- Cost of Marketing. Again, don’t hire a whole new marketing team. Ideally outsource marketing where possible when testing a go-to-market. This will help you contain AND measure cost. Long term, you might move additional Marketing resources in-house as you grow, but take that step later.
- Cost of Acquisition. This is what it will cost to win one customer or one transaction as a part of this go-to-market. This metric is very powerful. You may be surprised when you properly cost-up the time taken to win a piece of business and ‘bill’ that time based on a proper per-hour rate for every team member and executive involved.
5. Refine your strategy
Assume that your strategy will be at least partially wrong. This is another good reason to start simply. You can detect the errors and bad assumptions in simple go-to-market quickly, refine, and improve. A complex go-to-market will have you repeating mistakes for an extended period of time until you can figure out where you went wrong.
In terms of refinement, you should:
- Verify your assumptions about Ideal Client Profile and persona
- Battle-test your messaging with these people
- Analyse and shorten the sales cycle
- Find ways to conversion rates
- Reduce customer acquisition cost
The time needed to test and refine your go-to-market will depend on the length of your sales cycle and the marketing tactics you choose: it could be anywhere from a quarter to a year or more.