Market-Driven GTM: Our 10 steps Go to Market Strategy framework for SaaS / Tech

go to market strategy framework

A great Go to Market strategy optimizes market pull (buying), instead of focusing just on sales push (selling). Our Go to Market strategy framework has been designed with that goal in mind to introduce new products or accelerate revenue with existing ones.

1. Assess and prioritize growth opportunities

Assess the market opportunities, validate and prioritize use cases and market segments to focus your Go to Market strategy, sales, and marketing efforts. Decide which opportunity to focus on before developing your Ideal Customer Profile.

Unlike popular beliefs, we have observed that market size is not the most profitable way to assess opportunities. There are other nine more critical factors to evaluate the success of product commercialization. The top opportunities are located in the middle of 3 fundamental dimensions:

opportunity assessment dimensions
  • Ease of buying factors — how willing is the market to purchase from you now.
  • Ease of selling factors how ready is your selling side to win the opportunity.
  • Organizational effectiveness factors — how ready is your organization to build a strong market position by starting with this opportunity.
Market Opportunity Assessment and segmentation

Other Key questions to answer:

  • What customer segments or use case is more accessible through the existing sales channels?
  • What customer segments fit best with the solution you provide? Which ones have a compelling reason to buy?
  • What segment allows us to build a market leadership position?
  • What segment has the most straightforward buying decision process?
  • What segment leverages your company's strengths and differentiators?
  • In what segment can we expect fewer competitors in the short term? Why?
  • What is the customer segment or application in which you can develop a complete product offering attributes more quickly?
  • What are the barriers to the success of the different opportunities?

2. Profile target segment, Jobs-To-Be-Done, and motivations

Once you have assessed and prioritized the market opportunities, describe the identifiable economic group of potential customers within that top growth opportunity. Ensure that the target customer has a compelling reason to buy the new product as soon as possible and describe the specific motivation that will drive your product to succeed with them. Here's where you define the so-known as Ideal Customer Profile.

Design the scenarios of the most promising opportunities by aggregating patterns of step 1. Each scenario or segment must answer most of the following questions:

Ideal customer profile template

Questions to answer:

  • What are the industry, size, and geographical boundaries of your target markets?
  • What is the market maturity phase to the market category of your product? Why?
  • Who are the target end-users? Who is the buying Decision-Making Unit? Who influences the decision? Who triggers the decision?
  • How is the purchasing decision process?
  • What motivates the target customers (or buyer persona) and economic decision to buy your product? What do they want to achieve? What is their Job-To-Be-Done?
  • What are the target customers struggling with (pains)? What is making to act on this now? What outcomes are they looking for?
  • How and why your product helps potential customers to reduce pain, perform the job to be done and achieve the desired outcomes? What is the transformation that your product provides?
  • How is your core solution better suited for the target market than the competitive alternatives or the compensating behaviors?

2.1 Select the next target markets

Identify an adjacent niche market or use case that extends your growth after the initial target segment.

Questions to answer:

  • What is the adjacent niche market or use case that extends the growth you make in the initial customer segment?
  • What adjacent niche market should we prioritize? Why? How does it fit with your strengths and weaknesses?

3. Define the complete product offering [whole product offering] to win

Determine what makes the product offering "complete and compelling" in the eyes of the target audience. The complete product is the comprehensive set of attributes and core services/products the target audience requires to achieve their compelling reason to buy. Your core product/technology must be augmented with a variety of services, intangible attributes, and complimentary products to become complete depending on the stage of the market your product is in. Feel free to use our Low-Risk Recipe™ framework with the 12 key elements that drive low-risk perception and encourage buying of technology products:

whole product method - The Low-Risk Recipe

Questions to answer:

  • What do the prospective customers ask in terms of offering that your company doesn’t have or can't provide?
  • Who or what else needs to be involved in a project to deliver total value for the end-user (e.g., a sales consulting service, predefined visualizations, integration with other tools, support service...)?
  • What does the user or decision maker complain about? What are the hesitation points we heard from prospective customers?
  • What kind of organizational and business model adjustments are needed to accomplish product completeness?
  • How would sales approach a proposal of a complete solution?  What should be included in the Total Cost of Ownership in your proposals?
  • Is now the right time to build a complete and low-risk solution in terms of market maturity, or should we focus on building core product features?
  • What other tools do the target customer use that compliment your product?
  • What offering attributes should we add to your solution and offering to improve your competitive advantage?

4. Identify potential partners and strategic alliances

It is rare for a single organization to deliver every element of a complete solution. Usually, the only way to satisfy this market requirement is to identify and then recruit the necessary partners and allies. It includes finding the right partners to act as familiar selling channels.

Questions to answer:

  • What partners and allies would help make your technology/product more appealing to customers? What partners and allies would help make the solution more complete by adding offering attributes your company can’t provide?
  • Why should existing or new partners support your product introduction and selling? What would be a compelling, unique value proposition for partners?
  • What partner and allies would help amplify reach?
  • What other partnerships should we leverage to complete your solution, support a product introduction or reintroduction process, improve competitive advantage and drive more revenue?

5. Create, select and prepare sales & marketing channels

Identify and prepare the best distribution channels to drive awareness to the market and sell the complete solution. This step could somehow overlap with the last one in the sense that you may have identified channel partners.

Questions to answer:

  • What channels, teams, and individuals should be involved and ready for the launch? (in case of launches)
  • Who else should be involved in launching the solution to the infrastructure and maintaining those relationships?
  • What marketing channels should we leverage?
  • What should be the sales strategy and sales organization approach to fit the customer needs? How does it affect the direct sales team?
  • How should your sales team approach sales enablement to sell a complete solution?
  • How should your sales process be adapted to fit your target audience's motivations and risk perception?
  • What types of collateral and support do the sales team and the channel partners need to launch the solution?

6. Incentivize your distribution channels

Help your customer perceive the high value of your product and pay what it's worth. The suppliers, the partners, and the sales channel need to be rewarded appropriately for selling to the target customer. Your pricing strategy needs to reflect these requirements.

Questions to answer:

  • What is the economic impact and time to value of your product?
  • What is the value driver for the customer? What would be a good pricing strategy approach?
  • What is the Total Cost of Ownership of implementing your complete solution?
  • What would be a good incentive for partners? How should we structure the pricing details and incentives for the different channels to drive more deals through partnerships?
  • What would be the right incentive plan for sales to sell your new product or improve your existing product sales? What is the right balance of current product sales versus new products?
  • How to structure the channel and sales team to balance new product and existing product sales? What would be the P&L impact?
  • How to maximize the customer lifetime value? What other revenue streams can we attach to the new product to maximize the customer lifetime value?

7. Analyze the most formidable competitor

Assess the competitive market and identify the "most dangerous" competitive solution. Analyze their capabilities and look for ways (in addition to trademarks and patents) to develop and maintain a competitive advantage.

Questions to answer:

  • Who could be the most challenging competitor, and why? What could be their next move after they learn about your new Go to Market strategy or product launch?
  • What can we learn from them? How are they contributing to developing the market category?
  • What set of intangibles to reduce customers' risk perception do they provide? What set of core features + product intangibles (complete solution) would make your product more appealing than theirs?
  • How their product offering compares with "what the market needs"?
  • What intangible product attributes could help you gain a sustainable competitive advantage?
  • If there are no competitive solutions, are we competing against a "compensating behavior"? what is the target market doing now to compensate for the lack of a competitive solution (compensating behavior)?
  • Who else could be willing to enter this space?

8. Create positioning & messaging platforms

Proper messaging allows your product and company to be seen as a credible provider of products and services to the target market by addressing the concerns of the different kinds of technology adopters with a set of 4 different messages: technology messages, product messages, market messages, and company messages. It is critical to communicate the right combination of messages to each layer in the market infrastructure to help them position your product.

Questions to answer:

  • What are your competitive strengths and differentiators according to the market perception?
  • How do the existing customers and potential customers refer to your product's benefits when they talk about them? What words do customers or prospective customers use to describe the struggles your product is intended to solve?
  • What would be a compelling value proposition for our target market?
  • Why do you win or lose deals? What should you improve in the positioning and messaging to increase conversions and win more?
  • What is the right balance in terms of positioning messages (technology, product, market, or company messages)? What kind of messages does the market demand according to the phase of technology adoption?

9. Align product, marketing, sales, and revenue operations

The best Go to Market strategy plans fail because of a lack of leadership, organizational and corporate strategy alignment. The bigger your organization, the more complex to drive alignment. Make sure to set up cross-organizational systems and a Go to Market strategy committee to ensure alignment, manage expectations, and follow up on the success factors.

Questions to answer:

  • Who should we get involved in the process to make this plan successful across all the Go to Market functions?
  • How do we define "success"? What would be the objectives to measure success with this new Go to Market Strategy? Are these objectives cross-organizational and committed by all your Go to Market leaders?
  • How do we get everyone involved and make sure that all the different Go to Market functions are represented in this plan and agree to pursue it?
  • What follow-up process and cadence should we set up in order to ensure to meet the expected deadlines and drive organizational alignment toward this Go to Market plan objectives?
  • How do we ensure that this Go to Market Strategy is aligned with the corporate-level strategy? Who should we talk to? What are other corporate-level growth efforts?
  • What needs to be in place in terms of marketing plan, sales, and product readiness to launch the solution or accelerate revenue?
  • What other business model tweaks should we implement to accelerate the acquisition of new customers and expand the revenue in existing customers? How does it impact the business plan?

10. Build industry-wide awareness, influence, and optimize market pull

Every market has a set of ecosystem or infrastructure of players between your product and your prospective customers. 10% of the market players in the ecosystem influence the other 90%.

You don't position your product, the market does it — influenced by your market ecosystem of players.

The best way to help the market position your product in a way that highlights your strengths is by leveraging your market ecosystem or infrastructure. Build relationships with the top 10% of players in the ecosystem, address their concerns about your product and nurture them with custom marketing assets that they can share with the rest of the market.

Understanding the market ecosystem forces and building relations with the top 10% ecosystem influencers is critical to increasing Word-Of-Mouth to position your product, optimize market pull, drive influence and accelerate your revenue.

Also this process can act as a market test and validation for new technologies or products by gathering feedback from the sources of influence in your market ecosystem or infrastructure.

Questions to answer:

  • What are the layers (kinds of organizations and individuals) that influence the market of your target segment?
  • Who are the top 10% of organizations and individuals within each layer of your ecosystem?
  • What are their perceptions about your company, your market, your technology, and your products?
  • How can you best serve their interests in a way that sets up a win-win relationship to support each other's goals? (You give them insider information to support their "influencer" position, they help you by sharing the information you provide and giving you valuable feedback).
  • What kind of collaterals do you need to build in order to provide the market ecosystem with the different needs of information they have?
  • Who will be in charge to keep alive a market-relations program with all the layers of the ecosystem?
  • How else can you leverage the relationships with them? (e.g. statement of support, joining press releases, joint events, building formal partnerships...)

(*) This 10-point GTM framework and the images attached are the property of Predictable Innovation™ (StartupBuilder, Inc.) and are protected under the copyright laws of Delaware.

The 12 key drivers in technology buying decisions

Get ready your offering for scale and sustainbale growth by offering these 12 product completeness attributes.

End-User Harmony

Ensure harmony with the end-user and reduce technology adoption frictions with these augmented product attributes.

Compatible
and Familiar

Allow users to continue using existing systems, tools, processes, and methods as much as you can.

Trial Before Commitment

Allow users and buyers to try your product and realize its value before committing the full investment.

Standards and Certification

Adhere to well-known industry standards that similar vendors work to support... or become the de-facto standard.

Endorsements or Sponsorhips

Recruit recognized organizations to support your product/innovation through sponsorships or endorsements.

Market Category Cooperation

Show your prospective customers credibility and commitment with the market you're in with these augmented product attributes.

IP and Patents

Use a trusted channel of sales and delivery that is well known and familiar.

Complimentary Products

Ensure complementary products, tools, and services are offered.

Complete Solution with Support

Offer a pre-configured solution with an integrated ecosystem, plus comprehensive support.

Trusted Channels

Allow buyers to be aware of your product and offer through their familiar and trusted distribution channels.

Safety in Numbers

Build and demonstrate external safeguards for the risk-averse majority with these augmented product attributes.

Universal
Support

Prevent users from thinking about the technology orphans risk. Create a completely independent long-term support infrastructure.

Security
and Privacy

Prove independent safeguards that ensure both security and privacy.

Peer-To-Peer Communication

Enable exchange of unbiased information through a user-controlled community..

Visible or Word-Of-Mouth References

Facilitate WOM recommendations from people the user knows
and trusts.

Innovators
Early Adopters
Early
Majority
Late
Majority
Laggard
Validate new possibilities
Allow access to incoplete products
Sell through communities
Demonstrate technical
advantage
Technology vision and capital raising.
Gain competitive advantage
Partner to get custom feedback and adjust
Use direct, consultative
selling
Emphasize new markets & opportunities
Core product building and market empathy
Solve a specific problem
Deliver a complete solution
Transition to
value-added
selling
Prove market leadership
Management and business building.
Crawl ahead safely

Provide a standardized solution
Use transactional selling
Affirm company stability
Management and operations efficiency.
Adopt when unavoidable
Embed your
product
Use low-cost, transactional
selling
Emphasize customer control
Management and financial efficiency.
InnovatorS - Characteristics
Innovators are adventurous and adopt new technologies or ideas simply because they are the new cool thing. Technology and innovation are central interests in their life. The innovator’s goal is to explore new things and find opportunities to be an agent of change.
Early adopters are visionary leaders pursuing innovations to achieve a breakthrough that will give them a competitive advantage in their industry or company. They are willing to learn and provide feedback. Also, they love gaining new knowledge and an edge over their peers.
The early majority are value-conscious individuals that want to simplify what they already do. They don’t like leading, taking risks, or being the first to try something new. The early majority look for innovations or products that already carry the endorsement of early adopters and peers.
The late majority is very cautious about any change but also wants to avoid the penalties of not adopting new solutions. They seek to minimize the uncertainty of outcomes. People in this group want proof of the product’s advantage and costs from similar businesses or peers they know closely.
Laggards value traditional methods of doing things and refuse to adopt a new technology until they are forced to through obsolescence of their former system. They hold out to the bitter end.
2.5% OF THE POPULATION
Risk/Value Profile
Innovators are willing to take risks and are viewed by their peers as risk-takers. They are fascinated with novelty and take substantial risks on unfinished products.

Innovators often buy a vision of possibility rather than a product. They are willing to tolerate very high pain levels to achieve the vision.
Cost-benefit Analysis
Risk Avoidance