Overcoming go-to-market challenges: Strategies for growth
What is a go-to-market strategy?
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is your short-term plan for launching a product in a market. It will detail how you will introduce your product to its audience including your value proposition and messaging. It will also cover all the activities needed to bring that product to market. For example your pricing, promotion, and distribution.
A marketing plan is a long-term and more generic plan for your business and its growth, whereas a GTM strategy is specifically for new product launches, entering new markets, or start-ups.
Despite being more short-term, it must still be comprehensive and there are many components to an effective GTM strategy, each holding its own set of potential challenges and pitfalls.
What are the most common go-to-market challenges?
Launching in a new market isn’t easy, and there are many reasons that businesses might struggle and even fail. The multitude of challenges associated with taking a product to market can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Not understanding the local market
- Failure to understand the target consumer
- Failure to retain customers
- Ineffective marketing tactics
- Not being able to compete with competitors
- Struggling to manage cost and resource
- Unclear roles and responsibilities
Identifying the source of where your biggest challenges might lie is an integral first part of avoiding them. The second part is developing a strategic solution that will mitigate that risk and keep you on the path to growth.
How to overcome go-to-market challenges
Addressing the common go-to-market challenges in your GTM plan is the best way to ensure strategic growth.
1. Adapt to the local region
If you’ve launched your product in another market before, adopting the same strategy in a new market is an easy mistake to make.
For example, as privacy laws change around the world, each market has its own set of rules and regulations you must follow. The data you can capture in one region might be impossible in another.
Try not to underestimate the cultural, legal, and linguistic nuances that each market brings. If possible, enlist the support of a local expert to guide you through the potential differences and challenges you might face in bringing your product to this new market.
2. Get to know your audience
Spend extensive time researching your target audience. Desktop research, growth tools, and in-person interviews are all ways you can build a detailed picture of who you’re targeting.
More specifically, know exactly what your customer wants and how your product or service is going to give it to them.
Building your audience is the first step when developing an effective go-to-market strategy because most of your success hinges on whether or not you understand and meet their needs.
3. Provide a great first experience
When launching a product in a market, it’s often the norm to use some sort of discounting tactic to incentivise that first purchase. However, the real challenge is making sure your customers have a positive first experience and want to return to your product or service in future. New sales may feel encouraging, but if they outpace retention then you’ll struggle to see long-term growth.
Don’t just focus on the path to purchase; consider everything that happens after it. Delivery times, customer service, and product quality all contribute to your consumer’s overall experience and will influence whether or not they buy from you again.
4. Choose your channels wisely
Choosing your initial channels to market isn’t easy. You’re weighing up the costs associated with each channel vs. what you know about your target audience and their behaviours. It can be difficult to make a focused decision on where to start.
The Bullseye Framework developed by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, is an effective method we at Growth Division to help clients make a resource-efficient selection of the right channels for their go-to-market strategy.
By validating each option by its potential pros and cons, you can quickly understand your most valuable channel mix for launch.
Once you’ve chosen your channels, you must then understand how these channels interact with each other across the funnel and the different roles they play in a buyer’s journey.
Another powerful framework we use here at Growth Division is The Pirate Framework (AAARRR!), aimed at helping you to define your sales/marketing funnel.
Awareness: When a customer first discovers and becomes aware of your product
Acquisition: When a customer becomes a marketable qualified lead
Activation: When a customer makes a purchase
Retention: When a customer repeats a purchase
Referral: When a customer refers you to someone else
Revenue: When you boost their lifetime value
Both frameworks referenced are powerful approaches to help you cover the essential elements of a successful go-to-market strategy.
5. Believe in your value proposition
Once you’ve identified your audience and understood their needs, it should be relatively easy to build out your value proposition. How is your product going to solve their need? If this isn’t clear to you, then it won’t be clear to your customers.
If you’re entering a saturated market, it’s even more important to define your value exchange. Once you’ve defined what you can offer your target audience, you need to pinpoint what makes that unique from the competition.
You’ve likely got the tough job of converting your audience’s attention away from other options in the market, so be clear when identifying the reasons why they should do that and use them to help promote your product.
6. Managing cost and resource
Arguably the biggest challenge with a go-to-market strategy is keeping your costs and resourcing to the minimum.
Setting a budget and managing expenses diligently throughout the launch is crucial. Once you’ve set your maximum threshold, it’s time to focus on using that budget with maximum efficiency. Your goal is to reduce any wastage.
Focus on your core competencies – understand which activities and roles are integral to the success of your go-to-market strategy, which can be outsourced, and which should only be activated later down the line.
7. Defining roles and responsibilities
Within each core competency relevant to your GTM strategy, develop a clear map of who is responsible for what. Make sure this is fully communicated and understood by the team, ironing out any conflicts from the start.
By defining roles and responsibilities, you’ll foster better collaboration, drive efficiency, and nurture the right talent. To track progress and work towards your common goal, be specific about what you expect from each team and member in it.
Even within each workflow, consider setting a RACI:
R: Responsible – who is directly responsible for making sure the task is completed
A: Accountable – who has the authority on final decisions
C: Consulted – who must be consulted at each stage in the process
I: Informed – who should be kept updated as the task progresses
How can you improve your GTM strategy?
Your go-to-market strategy needs to be comprehensive and followed closely, but you also need to adapt and optimise your approach as new data about how you’re performing comes in.
Detail your metrics for measurement across the funnel and department to quickly identify where changes should be made, and don’t be afraid to make decisions if you can see something isn’t working.
It’s normal to come across challenges when launching in a new market. Perhaps your message isn’t resonating, a channel isn’t working, or a new competitor enters the picture. Having a plan for how you’ll react and adapt your GTM strategy along the way helps you to stay agile and remain on the path to growth.