A well-crafted go-to-market strategy is essential for a B2B business to launch its products or services and capture target customers effectively. It allows your business to maximise the value of your products, determine the best market position, differentiate from competitors, and ultimately increase sales.
When developing a go-to-market strategy, the key is creating a plan to help you meet your business objectives. Once you have a solid strategy, you can begin executing your go-to-market strategy. An effective strategy does not need to be complicated. 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:
Step 1: Identify who you are selling to
Your go-to-market strategy must identify the companies and people you want to buy your product or service. There are two elements to this:
A) Type of Account: Your Ideal Client Profile (ICP)
Do not size up your total addressable market until you have defined your ICP. An ICP describes the characteristics and attributes of a company that will ideally become your customer. The factors that make up your ICP should be entirely bespoke for your business. For example, their industry may or may not be relevant to you. You can measure the account in terms of staff or revenue.
B) Type of Decision Maker: Your Buyer Persona
There is little point documenting ten different buyer personas until you have understood the main person correctly. Instead, you must understand your Primary Buyer Persona, create a simple go-to-market based on them, get it right, and add another.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research, data from existing customers and other sources. A buyer persona should include demographic information such as age, gender, and geographical location.
Do not waste time getting into irrelevant details. 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 do not need that level of targeting in most B2B sales, as your prospect numbers are too low. In most cases, your ICP is far more important than your buyer persona.
Step 2: Craft your messaging
Core messaging in your go-to-market strategy refers to the messages crafted and put out to promote a product or service. You should create these by focusing on customer needs and their likely responses, market trends, industry news, and competition. Core messaging should be tailored to different target audiences and platforms to ensure the most effective communication and the highest return on investment. The right core messaging will create a clear and distinct brand identity, inform customers of product benefits, and guide them through their purchase journey.
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 a message that lets a stranger instantly appreciate 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 positioning whatever you sell in your go-to-market strategy.
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 be internal people within a company that your service replaces, or it might be an innovation that makes a very different nature of the product obsolete. Whoever your competition is, your messaging needs to show how you are different.
Step 3: Choose your offering
You might wonder why I have placed this in Step 3; you might think you need to have a product before you think about buyer personas, but this is not necessarily true. Only once you have properly understood your ICP and buyer will you select the mix of services and products you will take to that market. This point may also change once you properly look at Step 4.
When working on a go-to-market strategy, choosing an offering that is compelling and targeted for the market is important. This decision will require researching the potential customer base and what they want in a product or service. A competitive analysis will enable you to identify gaps in the marketplace that your offering could fill and provide insights into the strategies of similar businesses. It is also important to consider how the offering will fulfil a customer’s pain points and meet their goals. Doing so can also help you to understand customer needs, allowing you to tailor your offering to their requirements.
Step 4: Build your commercial model
You likely already understand your fixed and variable costs and have various financial goals and metrics for the business. Beyond the cost of operations, your go-to-market strategy should incorporate:
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. Start with a simple sales strategy, ideally with your existing sales resources or founder-led sales.
Cost of marketing: Again, do not hire a new marketing team. Outsource marketing where possible when testing a go-to-market. This will help you contain and measure costs. 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 to win a piece of business and ‘bill’ that time based on a proper per-hour rate for every team member and executive involved.
Step 5: Refine your strategy
It is important to remember that you have not set your go-to-market strategy in stone. Market conditions constantly change, so if you do not adjust your strategy accordingly, you risk becoming irrelevant or missing out on new opportunities. Regularly assessing the performance of your plan is key to staying competitive.
Assume that your strategy will be at least partially wrong. This is another good reason to start simply. You can quickly detect errors in a simple go-to-market and refine and improve. A complex go-to-market will have you repeating mistakes for an extended period until you can figure out where you went wrong.
Analysing the success of your go-to-market strategy can help you identify which elements are working best, so you can focus on those and refine them further. You should also be looking for any weak points that need updating or replacing – this could include measures like your pricing structure, marketing tactics or customer service approach.
In terms of refinement, you should:
- Verify your assumptions about your ICP and buyer persona
- Test your messaging with these people
- Analyse and shorten the sales cycle
- Find ways to increase 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.
Developing a go-to-market strategy is essential for B2B companies looking to succeed in today’s competitive business landscape. By following the steps outlined in this blog, your business can create a comprehensive and effective go-to-market strategy that aligns with your goals, strengths, and target audience. You must be willing to adapt your strategy to changes in the market and your customers’ needs. By continuously measuring performance, gathering feedback, and adjusting strategies as necessary, your company can stay ahead of the competition and achieve sustained success.
Build your go-to-market strategy with Resonate
I help B2B business leaders define or refine their strategies. I provide strategic advice and consulting on various facets of strategy; business strategy, corporate strategy, product/service strategy, functional strategy, go-to-market, competitive strategy, pricing strategy, etc.
If you are starting a new role as a business leader, or you have been with the business for a while, and you are initiating a new go-to-market strategy, let’s connect, let’s talk. I have extensive experience in guiding business leaders on these strategies. I look forward to hearing from you.