GTM is a Team Sport – Broaden Your Approach

The effective GTM strategy focuses on understanding and solving for the comprehensive needs of the customer. It’s not just about pushing a product or a service; it’s about articulating and delivering a value proposition that resonates with the targeted customer segment.  It is a very strategic effort that should be embarked upon by tapping into the broad perspectives of your team and your prospective and existing customers as much as possible.

GTM Strategy and the related execution planning are a collaborative team sport that starts with asking the right questions!

Some of the obvious basics include:

  • Who is the customer?
  • What is the customer problem we’re addressing?
  • How will we engage with the buyers across the B2B decision making spectrum?

But beyond the basics, it is also important to consider things like:

  • Where does our solution fit into the customer’s broader world?
  • Why is our solution better than the existing competitive solutions or even the status quo of doing nothing?
  • What is missing from our “offer” that is critical to the customer’s success?  Training? Broader support options? Adoption options?
  • How could our solution integrate more elegantly with the customer’s existing operation to give them a path to success?

These questions force organizations to go beyond superficial understanding and encourage a deeper dive into the market and customer’s actual needs. 

Getting Beyond “Different” for Your Unique Value Proposition

A value proposition is not effective just because it is different. Instead, value is created when the solution genuinely and effectively solves for what the customer requires to achieve success in their terms. And in a B2B world, there are almost always multiple buyers who must be considered along the journey.

Shift from just incorporating your limited assumptions about what the customer wants and needs to a process that invokes real listening and humble assessment.  Open your effort to approximate as best you can a sense of  “customer empathy” that you can apply to set your company and your offers apart from other alternatives.

This development of a deep understanding of customer goes beyond just pains and gains tactically and embraces the concept of how the customer defines success (not how you think they define success.)

Avoid Input Silos Only Invoking Sales, Marketing, and Consultants

Sometimes when considering the key questions around GTM, leaders unconsiously take a siloed approach. They consider questions around how to enhance marketing and sales, but do so as though the functions exist in a silo and are the only ones that matter.  GTM is often a  misunderstood concept because it cannot be shoved into simple functional and organizational boxes. GTM strategies that are multifaceted and cross-functional in nature uncover gems to be polished and refined into execution planning that delivers results. 

Some companies get caught up in internal politics and structural silos.  I’ve also seen leaders who are seeking focus, and as such apply functional thinking as a way to be more focused.  Both situations end up impeding the development of effective GTM strategies supported by a well prioritized resource allocation plan toward GTM execution.

Bring the Whole Gang To The Brainstorming

The best results I have been a part of or facilitated rely on a cross-functional approach that builds understanding for everyone on the team through the lens of the customer.  Since no single functional role operates in a vacuum as the customers experience your offers, your strategy should not be formulated in exclusive silos.  And while true empathy is not always easy to achieve unless you’ve actually been the customer, getting as close to developing customer empathy as possible is crucial.  Try to walk in the customers’ shoes with your brand and your solutions – how does that feel?

Measure, Assess, and Refine.

Measurement is another key aspect of GTM planning. Historical data is often all you have at first, but if you establish the data points that you will consistently and honestly assess going forward, you will be able to see patterns emerge as things work or fail in your strategy.  The goal of measurement and pattern finding is to determine if what you’re selling is truly helping your customers and providing value over time.

Finally, even if you can pat yourself on the back as a team for taking a very customer centric and holistic approach to assessing and devising your GTM strategy, remember that the only constant is change.  Pay attention to the changes:

  • Customers themselves change to remain viable.
  • Technology changes or new disruptive technologies become a factor.
  • Economics (macro and micro) change, introducing new challenges and opportunities for you and your customers. 
  • Routes to market for your customers change or become disrupted, sometimes overnight. (*Remember the initial shutdown of Covid – the brick and mortar route became a challenge overnight).

A GTM strategy is never finished. It should constantly evolve as you gain more insight into how your customers and the broader market dynamics are changing.  Iterate your GTM plan based on real-world learnings. Continously engage your customer and expand your entire teams’ knowledge and understanding of their perspective on how you are doing.  Analyze what’s working and what’s not. Be humble and honest based on the data and avoid selective hearing to confirm your own perspective of why your solution is so great.  This adaptability and willingness to refine and even sometimes pivot your strategy according to new information is what keeps your GTM strategy relevant and robust and supports your business growth.

How to Get Started

So, what are growth stage companies to do? 

  • View successful GTM planning as a critical, strategic, and itterative process.
  • Leverage the best practice playbooks, but recognize they are not gospel when it comes to being innovative and differentiated. 
  • Ask really good questions.  Ask substantive questions, that require incorporation of a diverse range of skills and perspectives across your organization. 
  • Don’t overly rely on outside advisors and consultants – be sure you are tapping into the gold nuggets in your organization in  the form of those individuals engaging with customers every single day. 

If you stay curious, continue to ask the hard questions, be diligent to measure the outcomes, and most importantly, keep the customer at the center, your odds of maintaining a competitive edge and driving significant growth for your business will be much better.

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