How to build a go-to-market strategy

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a roadmap designed to help a business bring new products or services to market and position them competitively. It identifies a business’s target audiences, highlights the gaps in the market the product or service will address, and uses data from a variety of sources to predict its future success.

What is the purpose of a go-to-market strategy?

In short, a go-to-market strategy will:

  • Include market research and analysis to understand customer needs and market opportunities
  • Highlight learnings from existing go-to-market strategies
  • Define where a product or service fits in the market
  • Outline a competitive pricing strategy
  • Identify effective marketing and sales channels
  • Establish timelines and milestones
  • Allocate resources and budgets
  • Assign responsibilities and roles
  • Identify key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Monitor and measure a strategy’s effectiveness

Without a GTM strategy, a business risks introducing its products or services without insight into their intended market position or potential demand from their target audience. A comprehensive and well-researched go-to-market strategy establishes clear objectives, improves the accuracy of marketing and sales strategies, and establishes measurable goals.

A product or service launch involves considerable investment for any business, and developing a go-to-market strategy can help ensure its success.

Perform market research and analysis

Market research can help your business understand its target market and analyze customer segments before launching a product or service.

It is crucial to analyze market trends and the competitive landscape a new product or service will be introduced into. This can help your business position itself effectively and increase sales and profits. It may also help identify market opportunities and challenges, such as where to sell and how. For example, instead of placing products in stores, an online subscription-based model could be more effective, generating a higher customer lifetime value (CLV).

Defining product/service positioning

Determining a product or service’s unique selling points is an essential component of a go-to-market strategy. This helps a business communicate the benefits of its new offering to customers, and forms the basis of its marketing and sales strategies.

Similarly, defining the product or service positioning can guide your business to find and solidify its place in the market. This will help make your business more competitive, providing access to customers that aren’t currently well served.

Pricing and competitive analysis

A go-to-market strategy gives a business the data it needs to develop a competitive pricing strategy. How an organization prices its products or services communicates value and needs to be delicately balanced with how much customers are willing to pay.

Effective GTM strategies consider competitors' pricing before establishing their own. For instance, in a market where a budget-friendly offering is absent, there's a clear opportunity to stand out amongst higher-priced competitors.

Identify marketing and sales channels

A go-to-market strategy should outline data- and market-driven opportunities for digital marketing channels . To develop the most impactful marketing and sales messaging, your business should test various strategies first. This will ensure teams understand the buyer’s full journey to develop a brand identity and design effective.

Go-to-market execution plan

  • Establish timelines and milestones

A go-to-market strategy should include a plan for product development and testing, launch dates, marketing strategy execution dates, and buyers’ predicted journeys. It should also include milestones and objectives, which can be measured to ensure the strategy is going ahead as planned.

  • Allocate resources and budgets

Outlining budgets at the outset can help your business accurately calculate the cost of a product launch and implement marketing strategies that are cost-effective. These costs can also be analyzed along side key performance indicators (KPIs), such as sales revenue and CLV.

  • Assign responsibilities and roles

A business’s GTM strategy typically identifies the stakeholders responsible for each stage of the launch. This ensures the right people are informed at the right time and are clear about their roles and responsibilities. While very small businesses may only have one or two stakeholders, this stage is still crucial.

Measuring the strategy

It’s important to outline KPIs, which will be continually measured throughout their go-to-market strategy. This helps to monitor the strategy’s effectiveness, and presents opportunities to make data-driven adjustments. Businesses and their stakeholders can make amendments whenever necessary, significantly improving the product or service’s chance of success in the market.

Learn from real-world GTM strategies

Proven GTM strategies can provide important insights and inspiration for businesses developing new products and services.

For example, Slack's strategic adoption of a comprehensive go-to-market plan proved instrumental in effectively competing with established email communication. By positioning itself as a user-friendly, integrated team communication solution and targeting decision-makers through educational initiatives like webinars, Slack experienced significant growth. This approach resulted in remarkable success, ultimately culminating in a $27 billion acquisition by Salesforce.1

A carefully crafted go-to-market strategy is essential for a business of any size to bring a product or service to market successfully, generate healthy profits, and develop a competitive position for its brand.

To learn more about how to market your business, check out our guide on how to create a marketing strategy.

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