Introducing a new product or entering new markets always carries risks, so business owners are looking for ways to reduce these risks. One of these ways is making a reliable go-to-market strategy.
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to develop a useful go-to-market strategy.
What is a go-to-market strategy?
Let’s begin, with the go-to-market strategy definition. A go-to-market strategy is a blueprint to help you enter a new market or launch a new product more efficiently. A GTM strategy defines the steps and actions you should take to successfully present in new markets or launch a new product.
Why do you need a go-to-market strategy?
probably you need a GTM strategy, at least for the below two reasons:
- Integration: The last thing you need is to waste your valuable time. A practical action plan will help you save time and energy by cutting off the costs, increasing the chance of success, and aligning items in meaningful sequences.
- Concentration: As an entrepreneur, you have a creative mind and always seek new solutions, but doing too many things at once is a pain. For this reason, you need to have a plan to outline what you should do next and avoid distractions. This strategy may be closely related to your GTM as a startup.
Besides this post, there is a video that demonstrates a step by step to build your go-to-market strategy, so if you prefer to watch instead of read, you can click HERE.
What is the difference between go-to-market strategy and corporate strategy?
A GTM strategy describes how a particular product will achieve success. In contrast, a corporate strategy is a broad concept. It ensures that you don’t waste your valuable resources and align them to achieve long-term goals and objectives.
Your strategy may be closely related to your GTM as a startup. Even they might be the same., but as you progress and become a mature business, there’s a chance you separate them.
Corporate strategy focuses on:
- What is your company’s vision?
- How can you reach your long-term goals and objectives?
- How should you use your scarce resources?
- What business or businesses should you take part in?
- How to compete with other rivals?
GTM strategy focuses on:
- What is your product vision?
- What is the main problem you’re trying to solve?
- Who are your customers for the product?
- How do they know about the product?
- What are the vital features of it?
- Who are your main competitors?
- What is the action plan?
- How to monetize it?
When do you need a go-to-market strategy?
Whether you are a startup and introducing a new product or a mature company releasing existing products into a new market or targeting new audiences, you need a GTM strategy (GTM).
If you still do not know the GTM strategy is right for you, answer the following questions.
If your answer to one of these questions is yes, it’s likely the time to write a GTM strategy.
1) Are you launching a new product into a new market?
2) Are you releasing existing products to a new market?
3) Are you Launching a new product into an existing market?
Components of a practical GTM plan:
Now that you know what a GTM strategy. Let’s look at the essential components of a GTM strategy.
Lawrence Friedman says a comprehensive GTM strategy should consist of: 
- Understanding the market
- Targeting the right customers
- Choosing the right Channels and partners
- Defining The product and the value proposition
- Putting all together: the integrated multi-channel model
1) Understanding the market:
As he remarks, “No matter how good your products are, and no matter how cleverly you price, package, advertise and promote those products even if you give them away for free, you won’t succeed unless you focus your efforts on selling them into the right markets. “
To complement the first component, let’s look at the market research process.
How to conduct market research for building a go-to-market strategy?
For reaching a GTM strategy, you need to conduct market research, and William Zikmund explains the steps below in his book(Exploring Marketing Research 11th Edition):
- Defining research objectives
One of the essential steps you should take is defining research objectives and problems. If you can’t describe it, you can’t know it, and if you don’t know it, how can you measure it? If defining the research problem is difficult for you below, I list some of my personal questions which I had to research about them in the past.
If you can’t describe it, you can’t know it, and if you don’t know it, how can you measure it?
- Is there any market need for my product?
- Who is my ideal customer?
- What features should I add?
- How should I prioritize the features?
- Should I increase the price?
When you are setting your research objectives and goals, you can use the smart framework.
2. Planning a research design
Now that you know the problem and defined the objectives, you can go to the next step: designing the research.
the primary purpose of this stage is to answer questions like:
.What is the primary research method? (observational, experimental, simulation, or derived)
.How to conduct the research? (internet, in-person, telephone, etc.)
.How to gather the data? (survey, focus groups, interview, observation, etc.)
.How much would it cost and time?
At this stage, you need to design the procedure of collecting and analyzing the necessary information for conducting the research. And as Zikmund states, “a research design provides a framework or action plan for the research.” 
3. Planning a sample
At this stage, consider the below three items:
.Who is the target population?
.How large a sample is necessary?
.What method should be used? (random sampling- cluster sampling — systematic sampling, etc.)
Deciding about the size of the sampling group is positively related to the answer to this question.
“Who is your target population?”
Suppose your target customers’ population is small. In that case, it’s reasonable to ask them one by one, but if they are part of a vast community, you need to use other techniques.
4. Collecting data
As the title implies, collecting data is the process of gathering information from the target population.
It can be done by human(observers or interviewers, etc.) or machines (eye-tracker, scanners, etc.)
So, at this step, you need to determine:
.How many supervisors or machines do you need?
.How long will it take?
5. Analyzing data
Working with raw data and processing them into meaningful tables, graphs, and useful information is the primary goal of this step.
The following questions can be helpful to get an overview of this stage:
.What type of data analysis do you use?
.What software packages do you need?
6. Formulating conclusions and preparing a report
After long hard working days and finishing the majority of research, now is the time to prepare a report.
At this stage, you need to answer the below questions:
.Who will read it?
.How to set the report format?
2) Targeting the right customers
At the heart of any plan and strategy should be the needs and wants of customers. The key to achieving sustainable profitability is identifying customer needs and discovering the right relationship for continued innovation based on this structure.
3) Channels and partners
Choosing the right channels has a significant impact on your result.As they are the primary contact between you and your customers, select them carefully. If you have efficient channels and reliable partners, you can reach to competitive advantage quickly.
4) The product and the value proposition
According to Wikipedia, “value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged.“ In other words, it’s the reason behind ‘why’ customers should buy from you.
In this stage, answer questions like:
- Does your product solve a valid problem?
- What are the customers’ pain points?
- How does your product benefit your customer?
- What differentiates you from your competitors?
For most of us, the right product is the most focused plan with no fluff. So when you’re writing a GTM plan, try to stay in line and solve specific targeted customers’ problems with minimum feature (s).
5) Putting all together: the integrated multi-channel model:
According to your needs and potential, decide what channel you need to use to reach your objectives.
For example, some startups prefer to focus on a low-cost channel, such as the web and the app-stores. Others prefer to use a more complex approach, like multi-channel distribution techniques.
Features of a good GTM strategy:
As Krzysztof Obloj explains in his book, a good strategy should be based on three pillars.
You should be able to articulate and describe your primary goals and objectives in a clear manner without any struggle for your team. Setting strategy is one thing; implementing it is another,
Every action you take, every goal you choose must be in the same direction and strengthen each other. As he explains, “Choices by IKEA are consistent and strengthen each other, such as with locations of shops, a product range that maximizes rotation (high percentage are their own brands) and low prices in discounters like Aldi or Lidl.” 
The last piece of this puzzle is external coherence. Considering the general market and competition conditions and existing trends is one of the most critical factors for the success and failure of any new move. At this stage, you should make sure that you consider entering the market by evaluating the above items.
How to increase the success rate of a strategy?
1) Test your hypothesis:
Before programmers developing a product according to your idea, it’s an excellent time to test your hypothesis with real prospects and valid data. The sooner you test your assumptions, the sooner you can prepare for possible changes.
As you know, timing is everything, mainly when you have limited resources and competing in a brutal industry with powerful rivals. So try to face the market with necessary tests; for example, you can:
- Creating a simple landing page, telling about your product, and asking people to sign-up to your waiting list.
- Or create a simple video about your product. Then promote it via social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Hackernews, etc.
2) Gather information about your customers:
Every good GTM plan should start with a customer’s needs, wants, and desires. You should have in-depth knowledge about them, not just ‘gut-feeling’ but accurate data based on market research.
Not every plan is 100% guaranteed to succeed. You need to adjust your strategy according to market feedback and be prepared to make it more practical and realistic.
 Create a Go-To-Market Plan (2017)
 Exploring Marketing Research 11th Edition (2015)
 Wikipedia: Value Proposition
 The Passion and Discipline of Strategy (2013)