Hi, we’re Amanda Ellsworth, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Workiva, and Ernest Anunciacion, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Workiva, and we’re super excited to chat with you today about something that we are very passionate about: Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy.
First off, we're going to define what a GTM strategy is, and then we want to give you some tangible best practices that you can take back to your organization.
The areas that we'll focus on are effective product launches, leveraging data (one of our favorite things), a persona-based approach to messaging, and finally, the soft skills that drive GTM strategy.
In this article we’ll focus on:
- What Go-to-Market strategy is
- Go-to-Market launch best practices
- The intricacies of Go-to-Market
- Why the data doesn’t lie
- How to nail the persona-based approach
- How to build a persona kit
What is a Go-to-Market strategy?
Go-to-Market strategy has a ton of different definitions. Thankfully, PMA is here to help us level set:
Go-to-Market strategy is a plan which details how a company can promote a product to gain the interest of customers and gain a competitive advantage over other companies in their market.
Essentially, it's the way that we talk about our products and services, our value proposition, and – crucially – what differentiates us from our competitors.
Unless you're in an arbitrage situation where there's no other product that does what yours does, it's very important to nail that differentiation down and nail it down in a way that resonates with the market you’re going after.
Another core part of that definition is the word plan. It's one thing to have your Go-to-Market strategy, but how are you going to achieve that strategy’s goals?
Think about the company you work for. It more than likely has a mission statement, maybe it has some values, and it most definitely should have some strategic objectives, but for them to have any meaning, you have to think about how you’re going to achieve all of those things.
Not to get all Simon Sinek on you right now, but the Go-to-Market strategy is all about the why. Why do you do what you do? Why do you exist? And then it’s about the what. What do you do that's different from the rest of the market?
Now, you might be wondering about the web we mentioned in the title. Well, we’re not talking about the world wide web. When friends and family ask, “What do you do in product marketing?” our go-to analogy is that we are the spider in the middle of a complicated web. There's no part of the organization that we don't touch.
We're working with marketing to drive demand generation in the campaigns they’re going to run.
We work with our pre-sales engineers; they’re responsible for our product demos, so we want to make sure the messages and frameworks we put together are woven into their talk track when they're showing our prospects and customers our awesome products.
Now, when you’re working with all these teams, it can feel like you’re being stretched in all directions.
If that sounds familiar to you, just know that you’re not alone. Navigating this web is one of the hardest parts of our job. This is where our best practices are really going to help you.
Go-to-Market launch best practices
Let's talk about launches, a key aspect of your Go-to-Market plan. Especially when you work for a tech company, it's really important to have a well-defined dev-to-launch process.
So, we work closely with our R&D team to define best practices for each phase of this process and look at how we can most effectively take our products and services to market. Now for a closer look at each of those phases.
Phase one: Why does this matter?
First and foremost, it all comes back down to that why. Why should the customer care about this? What value are they going to gain from this? We’ve got to be able to monetize that. It's one thing to keep customers happy, but how are we making money off of it?
Phase two: Prioritize it
The next thing is prioritization. And it's not just prioritization in terms of the product roadmap but in terms of business priorities. Are we looking to elevate our win rate? Are we looking to increase the number of bookings? Is it about customer satisfaction? We work with so many different parts of the business with so many conflicting priorities, but we need to make sure that everybody's on the same page.
Phase three: Make a plan and collaborate
Once we've gotten through those first two steps, it's all about the planning. Maybe you’ve heard of the six Ps.
For PG purposes, we'll keep it to the five Ps: proper planning prevents poor performance. You’ve got to put your game plan together and make sure that everybody's clear on their roles and responsibilities.
Phase four: Communicate often
Once you have that plan in place, it's about communication. Think about all those stakeholders in the web and remind yourself that over-communication is never a bad thing. The last thing we want is for any stakeholder in our Go-to-Market process to get an unpleasant surprise, so we’re constantly giving them updates.
By the way, communication can take many different shapes and forms, so we always encourage our team to leverage all the channels they can. We’re doing meetings and Zoom calls, sending email follow-ups, and hitting people up on Slack channels.
The important thing is to share your message consistently and keep everyone up to date on the status of your plan.