Building a product is one thing, but building a successful strategy to bring that product to market is a whole new ball game. There’s so much confusion around what go-to-market is, who owns it, what a good GTM strategy looks like, and how to measure success. Partly because GTM is never a one-and-done project. You always need to be iterating on and adapting your GTM strategy to meet the changing needs of your market and your company.
On the latest episode of The Marchitect, my guest co-host, Jake Brereton, Co-Founder & COO at LaunchNotes, and I sat down with legendary go-to-market experts Meagen Eisenberg, CMO at TripActions, and Sangram Vajre, best-selling author of MOVE and Co-Founder of Terminus and Peak Community.
Meagan and Sangram shared their (brilliant) thoughts on what GTM is and how teams need to align to get it right. They also shared their frameworks for building a winning GTM strategy and 5 key metrics you can use to measure success.
Listen to the full episode here, or skim the highlights below.
What is go-to-market?
Let’s start with the elephant in the boardroom—most revenue teams don’t know what go-to-market is. And if they do, they have very different definitions.
According to Sangram, “You’ve got to think about go-to-market as a product.” Just like your product probably wasn’t built in a day, or by one lone genius developer, your GTM strategy needs to be iterative and collaborative.
“Go-to-market is an iterative process”, says Sangram. “You have to change things. You have to start making decisions almost on a daily basis. … If you think about it as a product, it means your marketing, sales, and customer success truly have to align on where you need to go.”
Meagan also highlights the importance of alignment when it comes to GTM. “It's an alignment of sales and marketing to drive awareness and to take market share. … It's the motion you're gonna take and what you need to do, what segments you're going after, and how you're aligned to go after that."
Who owns go-to-market?
We know from Sangram and Meagan’s GTM definitions that alignment is key for a good go-to-market strategy. But which teams need to align and how do they come together?
Sangram filled us in on the number of CEOs, CMOs, and CROs he’s talked to who all think they’re the ones owning GTM. He says the lack of clarity around the ownership of go-to-market is exactly what makes it so hard for companies to do well.
His take on alignment: “The CEO needs to drive it. They don't need to necessarily make all the decisions, but they have to drive that conversation.”
With the CEO in the driver’s seat, the CMO should act as the “galvanizer”, using marketing’s skills as strategic thinkers and planners to bring together the customer’s point of view, the story they want to tell, their internal marketing efforts, and the internal and external outcomes. The CRO should then step in as the “orchestrater”, developing the sales plays and understanding what they need to act on to make it all come together.
Having this alignment in place with a clear understanding of which teams are owning what are key to go-to-market success.
“You've got your go-to-market strategy from the leadership team with the CEO making the ultimate decision,” says Meagan. “And now you need to go execute and measure your success against the plays you're doing.”
RevOps can play an important role to keep all teams on track. “RevOps is looking at the funnel and the efficiencies, it's looking at the density and where you're putting your teams and their success, and how you're working against your targets,” says Meagan. RevOps can step in to ask, “What were the goals that you set? And how are you executing against those goals? And if you're not, what people do you need, what technology do you need, and what processes you need?”
How do I build a winning go-to-market strategy?
You’ve got your CEO, CMO, CRO, and RevOps leaders together in the boardroom to build out your GTM strategy. Where do you start?
Meagan starts by asking questions—a lot of them.
“Every stage is slightly different and they face different challenges. It's a mix of having the right people targeting the right segment for the right stage. But usually, I can ask about 10 questions and hone in really quickly on what I think the issue is.”
Some of Meagan’s questions include:
- What’s the team structure?
- Who's the ideal customer profile they're trying to sell to?
- What does the marketing organization look like?
- What's the biggest thing that the head of sales complains about?
- Who are their customers?
- Who advocates for them?
Sangram also uses a set of questions as the building blocks of a good GTM strategy. He uses his own MOVE framework (Marketing, Operations, Velocity, Expansion) to get started:
- Marketing: Who do you market to?
- Operations: How do you operate effectively?
- Velocity: How and when do you scale your company?
- Expansion: Where are you going to grow the most?
GTM teams need to remember that a GTM strategy is never “one and done”, as Sangram puts it. It’s important for your GTM stakeholders to regularly come together and iterate on your strategy to meet the changing needs of your market and your business.
How do I measure go-to-market success?
Since GTM is iterative in nature, it’s important to regularly evaluate how your current strategy is performing and what areas you need to work on to meet your broader business goals.
Sangram shared his list of 5 key metrics to measure GTM success:
- Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): You can create a great product, but if your ARR is low, you need to work on your marketing and sales.
- Gross Revenue Retention (GRR): You can market and sell, but if your GRR is low, you need to work on your delivery and renewal.
- Net Revenue Retention (NRR):—You can deliver and renew, but if your NRR is low, you need to work on expansion opportunities.
- Annual Contract Value (ACV):—If your ACV is low you need to work on bigger deals and longer contracts for more predictable growth.
- Category Leadership—You need to understand which category you fall in, where you line up in that category, and what you can do to win it through community, analysts, investments, market assessment, and so on.
Ready to learn more about all things go-to-market?
Listen to the full interview.