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How to implement a successful sales GTM strategy

Read our guide on how to implement a sales GTM strategy

Jon Davis · September 15, 2023
How to implement a successful sales GTM strategy

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A sales go-to-market strategy – or sales GTM strategy – is a structured plan companies follow when launching a new product or service. It's an opportunity to explore how to market and sell a product as well as establish product-market fit. This strategy has multiple applications and can be used by business startups, SMEs, as part of a rebranding exercise requires, or when a complete overhaul of an outdated sales strategy is needed.

Implementing a successful sales GTM strategy helps align your organization. Specialists in go-to-market strategy, McKinsey and Company, define a GTM strategy as a collaborative planning solution that effectively aligns sales resources to opportunities.

Sales go-to-market strategies vary depending on your business and its needs. However, there are a few core traits that all successful GTM strategies share.

Read on to explore the ins and outs of implementing a sale-focused GTM strategy, how it differs from other methods, and how to successfully implement the process in your own business.

Differences in go-to-market strategies

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, a go-to-market strategy and a go-to-market sales strategy are different. They each serve a purpose and provide varying results, so it's important not to mix the two up. Before implementing any strategy, organizations need to consider their end goal and the specifics of their situation. Let's review both and examine their differences more closely.

What is a sales GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy?

A sales GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will bring its products or services to market. It also explores how a business will reach its target customers. This is done by creating strategies for product positioning, pricing, distribution channels, marketing, and sales activities to maximize growth and profitability.

A go-to-market sales strategy is one component of a wider GTM strategy. While a GTM strategy considers all aspects of bringing a product or service to market, a GTM sales strategy focuses solely on the role of your sales team. In a sales-led approach, your team will reach out to prospects to convert them into customers.

Sales managers and directors are often responsible for creating this strategy including how to identify prospects, manage leads, and suggestions on how they will close deals. This will then be submitted to the CEO or COO who will then incorporate it into the broader GTM strategy.

A sales-focused go-to-market strategy should also detail your sales team's current structure. This can help you assess the channels you have available and which ones are best suited to your plan. This could include inside sales, field sales, channel sales, as well as any other tools you have available. Additionally, it is important to consider the distribution of your product or service. Through what mediums will you sell the product or service? A website, an app, or a third-party distributor? By incorporating an app into your distribution strategy, you can reach a wider audience and provide a convenient platform for customers to access your offerings.

What is a GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy?

A go-to-market strategy (GTM) is a plan outlining how a business intends to sell its products or services to prospective customers. A GTM strategy, also known as a marketing plan, will span everything, from product development to sales and marketing. A successful strategy will consider all aspects of the business and products. Teams must define the target audience, decide which sales and marketing channels to use, their pricing strategy, and much more. The GTM strategy is designed to mitigate the risk of introducing a new product to the market. This is why they focus on including target market profiles and a concrete sales and distribution strategy.

A GTM strategy is a blueprint for how a product or service will reach the end customer. For instance, a software company launching a new program or upgrade might choose a direct sales model. This involves targeting mid-sized businesses via email marketing or social media promotions.

In this example, the go-to-market strategy would outline the software's unique value proposition, decide on pricing, and identify key metrics to measure lead generation success.

Is a sales GTM strategy the same as a marketing strategy?

Sales go-to-market strategies and marketing strategies share similarities, but they're not the same. They're both designed to connect a business' offerings with its target customers and are rooted in an understanding of the customer's needs, preferences, and behaviors. Both sales GTM and marketing strategies involve defining a unique value proposition and leveraging different channels to reach the audience.

For example, both a sales GTM strategy and a marketing strategy could use social media to engage with customers. They may also incorporate a pricing structure that positions the products or services competitively within the market. But it's important to remember that they serve very different purposes.

A marketing strategy should only focus on how to attract and retain customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This involves working out the right mix of tactics, such as blending promotional strategies or offering product bundles. You must also decide on the marketing messages, such as the product’s name and slogans, as well as define the advertising campaigns and the media channels needed. The ultimate goal of a marketing strategy is to ensure customer retention, keep existing buyers happy, and attract new customers to supplement your inbound figures.

A sales GTM strategy doesn’t deal with any of these marketing elements. Instead, it focuses on managing leads generated by marketing activities, including how they can be passed from one stage of the customer journey to the next. Typically, sales teams take over once marketing materials have generated interest and a lead. Sales representatives will then qualify those leads, pushing them further along the buying process until the sale is closed. The content you create at this stage needs to grab and hold their attention from the get-go.

Differentiating between the two types of GTM strategies

The main difference between a GTM strategy and a sales GTM strategy is the depth of planning. A GTM strategy is an overarching plan that covers the whole process from marketing a product to delivering it to the customer. This includes pricing, positioning, production methods, and promotional activities. A sales GTM focuses purely on the sales aspect including who the customer is and their sales methods.

When is the best time to deploy a sales-led GTM?

Sales GTM strategies can be deployed at any time. But there are some instances where they are crucial for business growth and development:

New product launch: When a business introduces a new product, a detailed sales GTM strategy can help you reach your target market effectively and drive initial sales.

Entering new markets: If your business is expanding geographically or into a different sector or industry then, a new sales GTM strategy can help guide your team.

Mergers and acquisitions: Following a merger or acquisition, a revised sales GTM strategy can help to sell the new product portfolio or new market positioning

Competitive landscape changes: If new competitors enter the market, or existing ones change their strategy, then a new sales GTM strategy may be needed to maintain a competitive advantage.

New sales channels: If you're incorporating new sales channels, such as online sales or franchise partnerships, then a redefined sales strategy can result in more successful channel integrations.

Pricing changes: If you decide to change your pricing structure you may need to revise your GTM strategy. This is because the value proposition to existing and would-be customers may shift.

Regulatory changes: New regulations could mean your product/service needs to be sold differently. So a new sales strategy might be needed to support this.

Shifts in customer behavior: If customer purchasing habits, preferences, or needs change significantly over time, then the corresponding sales strategy should be updated, or rewritten, to help your team adapt.

New business model: If a company shifts its business model, for instance, by moving from a one-time purchase model to a subscription-based model, then a new sales strategy will help manage the transition.

Product upgrades or enhancements: It's common for businesses to create a new GTM sales strategy following upgrades or enhancements to products or services. Especially if these changes alter the service's core value proposition or target audience.

Technology disruptions: New technologies can transform an industry and alter customer expectations. Businesses may need to create a new sales GTM strategy to incorporate these new technologies into their sales process.

Sales performance improvement: If a company's sales performance needs improvement then some sales managers will revisit their GTM strategy.

How to build a successful sales strategy template in 7-steps

A new sales strategy can help your business grow by driving sales and facilitating growth. Here are our seven tips on how to create one:

Identify a problem or need you can resolve

Begin by pinpointing the specific problems or needs your product or service addresses. This is a great place to start as it proves your value as a business and gives you the chance to demonstrate how you can improve your customers' lives. Once you’ve identified this issue, you’ll be able to create a link between their problem and show how your product solves it.

Establish who your target audience is

Next, define your ideal customer profile (ICP). This is based on demographics, geographic location, behavioral characteristics, or gender, among other attributes. You need to ask what common issues this group faces, and how are they triggered to find a solution.

Research demand, pricing, and competitor solutions

You need to know how big the demand for your product is. To do this, your team must conduct detailed market research. Understanding market demand helps you gauge potential sales so you can assess how big of a task you will be undertaking. Competitor analysis allows you to differentiate your offering to create a unique selling proposition in the market.

Focus on messaging that matches your customer journey

Create messaging based on findings that resonate with your ICP. You should create messages for each stage of the customer journey, all the way from the consideration stage, through to decision-making. Each message should be benefit-led and address any pain points and challenges customers face. This helps you present your product as a helpful solution increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Draw up a sales plan

Once you have a plan in place it’s time to divide the workload and create a plan of action. This includes sales processes, team structure, resource assessments, and each team member’s responsibilities. The plan should describe how you'll reach your target audience, what your sales pitch will entail, and how sales reps will handle objections and close deals.

Set measurable sales objectives

Set clear, measurable objectives for your sales team. This can include targets for revenue, the number of new customers, or average deal size. These sales goals are often set out as SMART objectives. Whether you utilize that system or not, the idea is to provide direction for your sales efforts and create measurable goals.

Determine where after-sales care takes over

It's important to pinpoint when post-closure handover occurs. Especially if your product or service comes with a warranty or satisfaction guarantee. Typically, sales teams define when customer service takes over delivery and warranty issues. This enables sales executives to remain focused on sales goals and explore further leads.

Harness the power of a sales GTM strategy

A sales GTM strategy has many benefits that business owners and sales managers simply can't ignore. Without one, sales reps can overlap activities, leading to customer confusion and inefficiency. With a sales GTM strategy, you can clearly set out your objectives, define how you will achieve them, and measure your performance.

Successful sales GTM strategies rely on quantifiable metrics that are easy to measure with a well-crafted CRM. By implementing a sales GTM strategy, you can ensure greater alignment across your organization, resulting in a more cohesive and effective approach to sales as well as improved customer experience.

Click here to learn more about Capsule CRM and access a 14-day free trial.

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