Market Research/March 15, 2020
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ido is eating data for breakfast. He loves the combination of people, technology and business. He specializes in digital product management and is proud to be a part of the StartupStash community

The Right Way To Develop a Go-To-Market Strategy

When you are thinking about bringing your new product to market, it can be tempting to launch it fast which can lead to it emerging in markets and in a place or a time in which it may not actually be required.

To decrease the likelihood of this happening, it helps to develop an effective and well-thought-out plan.

Without an effective marketing strategy, you won’t know whether or not you’re looking into the wrong market, or whether you are launching your product at the correct time until it may be potentially too late.

Before we continue any further, it would be useful to define what a “go-to-market” strategy is.

This type of strategy is a plan of action that establishes how your company is going to present itself to its target customers and attain an advantage over its competitors within the marketplace.

Identify Your Perfect Customers And The Key Players Involved in Purchase Decisions

As simple as it sounds, one of the first things that you need to do when you are preparing to bring your product to market is to consider your customer and all of the factors that are going to be involved in targeting your perfect customer.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, each purchase decision conducted by a company normally has just short of seven total individuals that have a say on whether that product will actually be purchased.

The individuals that are involved in purchase decisions are collectively known as the “buying center”.

There are seven roles within the buying center of an organization, although an individual within the said organization may take on the responsibility for more than one of these roles.

buying-center-approach-min

(tractionwise)

The Initiator: This is the individual that begins the process of purchasing and shows the initial interest in your product.

The User: This will be the individual that makes regular use of your product.

The Influencer: This will be the person that convinces the other members of the buying center that your product is desirable.

The Decision Maker: This is the individual that has the final say on whether the product is purchased.

The Buyer: This is the individual that controls the budget for the purchase of the product.

The Approver: This is the individual that gives final approval and pushes for the purchase of the product on a grander scale.

The Gatekeeper: This is the individual that presents a barrier to the purchase of the product.

The roles that these individuals will encompass within the organization will depend on the sectors that you are looking to target and the individual company that you are in discussion with.

Due to this, you should have a meeting with your team to discuss the relevant job titles that will encompass the buying center.

Another point for consideration is to then research the rights and responsibilities of each job title involved, understanding the difficulties they face within their business, and their overall objectives.

These individuals will be how you get your product into the door, so understanding them is paramount.

Establish An Effective Value Matrix And The Message To Convey To Potential Customers

Once you have a greater understanding of the individuals involved in the buying center for your customers, you will need to then establish your own value matrix.

The value matrix provides a breakdown of each role within the buying center and their problems within their organization; providing solutions to those problems.

The-Value-Matrix-StartupStash(reforge)

An effective value matrix will tie in the problems and the solutions provided in the product in a manner that is easy to understand. To create your value matrix, one of the suggested methods of doing so is to create a chart.

This chart will contain each member of the buying center, analyzing their difficulties, the value that the product will provide to them, and the way these values are going to be communicated to the individual.

Once your value matrix is established, you will need to test the effectiveness of your brand messaging. You should start advertising your product and messages for your product, viewing the effects of these messages on your audience.

The main three points to test are going to be the channels that you use, the individuals that are being targeted, and the content of your messages. When you are thinking about where you are going to be testing your messages, you will need to consider which platforms your audience is going to be most prevalent on.

You could also make use of paid digital advertising channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Begin steadily on each media channel and keep using the ones that experience high-rates of conversion, tapering off with the channels that provide minimal conversions.

When you are testing your brand messaging, you should also try to optimize your audience. Various providers, such as LinkedIn allow you to segment your audience using a variety of factors, such as industry sector, job title, the size of the company and where that company is based.

You can make use of this segmentation to specifically target individuals and companies that are more likely to close. By analyzing the engagement and conversion rates of your content, you will be able to see which pain points and solutions most effectively resonate with your customers.

Once these tests have been completed, you will then be able to apply the results to your grander scale go-to-market strategy.

Understand The Customer Journey And Tailor The Experience To That Journey

Once you have established your customer profiles and have constructed your value matrix, you will need to look more closely at the individual journey that your customer will have with your product.

This should be looked at from both your viewpoint and the viewpoint of your customer.

Your customers themselves will tend to have a very linear experience when purchasing one of your products, as shown below:

  • Your customers will realize a pain point in their business and research fixes for the problem.
  • The buyer will create a list of several different solutions that they are considering.
  • The customer will narrow the list down by speaking to your company’s sales representatives and those of your competitors, they will test the products to find the best fit and then they will make a purchase decision.

digital-touchpoints Pyshical TouchPoints StartupStash(CrownPeak)

When looking at the customer’s journey from the perspective of your business, it will take the form of a sales funnel.

This is represented at the top, where initially, there is a lot of interest, and the funnel eventually slims down as prospects lose interest, leaving only the serious prospects nearer the bottom.

The sales funnel itself is broken down into separate stages, Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.

Sale funnel stages StartupStash-min

(MailMunch)

Awareness:

In this stage, you have first caught the eye of a potential customer, this could be in the form of a social media post or some other form of media that has brought you to their attention.
Sometimes in this stage, a customer will immediately buy if they are wowed by your product, however, this is the exception rather than the rule.

Interest:

When a potential customer reaches this stage of the funnel, they will be doing research and comparisons of your product against other products on the market.

At this moment in time, it is effective to identify content for them that will assist their business, rather than trying to sell a product to them.
Prospects get turned off by salespeople trying to force their product down their throat, the salesperson needs to act like they are trying to help the customer.

Decision:

When the customer reaches this stage, it means that they are ready to buy and they are going to choose between you and one of your competitors.
If you have done everything effectively, it will hopefully be your company that they choose.

In this stage, the little things matter.  You can offer free shipping, to try and edge out your competitors that charge, or you could offer a first-time order discount.

Action:

Congratulations! At this stage of the funnel, the customer has purchased your product and they have become a part of your client base.

Despite this, you cannot stop there; in the future, your customer may need further support from you, whether this is for more orders of the same product, or, even inquiries about different products.

Also, if they ever encounter problems, they will be relying on you to fix them; otherwise, they will end up with your competition.

Choose And Develop Your Sales Strategy

At this stage in your strategy, you will have laid all of the groundwork for your product launch and this is the point where you select your overall sales strategy to push your product out to the market.

It should be noted that the best strategy for you, would depend on your industry and the specific nature of your product.

There are four primary sales strategies, each with its benefits and weaknesses.

Self Service Model:

This particular model is particularly popular for companies that are offering SaaS to their customers.
This method involves the customer making the purchase independently and this model is very prevalent in B2C sales; particularly when customers go on the website of a business to buy a product, such as purchasing an Amazon Prime subscription.
This model is most effective when used for products that are cheaper and have higher levels of sales volume. It can be notoriously difficult to correctly implement, however, if implemented correctly, you will not need to hire salespeople and your costs will be massively reduced.

Inside Sales Business Model:

With this model, prospects are canvassed and relationships are built with those prospects by remote salespeople that make use of telephony and email to do business.
This type of method lends itself well to both products and services that have slight complexity and a moderate pricing range. This method is common in both B2B and B2C sales. Within this model, the sales cycle can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few months and to make it work, you will need to invest in a high-quality sales team, despite the added expense, these teams are less expensive to maintain than field sales teams.
Your traditional sales team will consist of managers who are responsible for a few salespeople each.

Field Sales Business Model:

This model involves your team members going out and physically meeting potential customers to win their business; this provides an added expense for your business as travel costs and other expenses will need to be covered for them to do their job.

This can be applied to both B2B and B2C sales. Within this model, deal volume tends to be low, whilst the average sale value tends to be higher. The model itself is very simple to set up but can be very difficult to upscale due to the additional costs that are involved for each member of the sales team.

Inside-Sales-Vs-Outside-Sales-Visual StartupStash

(Spotio)

Channel Model:

This model of sales allows you to engage third-party organizations to sell your company’s products for you.
This model can be difficult to implement because it can be harder to motivate your partners to sell your products than it would be to motivate your own sales team.

Furthermore, it may be more difficult to communicate the benefits of your products to these partners.
Despite these problems, the channel model is very cheap, since you do not need to implement your own sales team, which will save you money. It is ideal to choose partners that sell similar types of products related to your own.
For example, it would be ideal to get a technology-oriented store to sell your speaker systems.

channel-distribution_channels-StartupStash

(TechTarget)

Create Interest In Your Products Or Services

Once you have decided upon your sales strategy, it is time to fill your sales funnel with prospects. You will have to use a combination of inbound and outbound methods to generate leads.

Inbound methods mean that potential customers will stumble upon your company by taking notice of your marketing efforts and will reach out to you. Examples of inbound strategies are social media marketing, content marketing, and paid adverts that connect to your website.

outbound-marketing-StartupStash-min

(Wordstream)

Outbound marketing is when you have specific individuals that will make contact with potential customers through cold means.

This could be through the use of telemarketing data, sending introductory emails, or by canvassing customers in person.

As soon as an individual has expressed interest in your products, they will become part of the sales funnel and should be fed content that will assist them and provide value to them; with the hope that they will eventually make a purchase.

Generate Content To Market Your Products Or Services

Leads that appear through inbound channels are easier to close than leads from outbound channels.

The reason for this is that inbound leads already have an idea of the problems facing their business and how your product can help to solve those problems; this leads to more interest in the product.

It helps to make use of content marketing to increase the number of inbound leads that flow through your business; since content marketing will increase traffic to your website.

The team involved in your content marketing will drive traffic to your site by distributing content related to the keywords that your customers will display an interest in and this will drive the traffic.

Search Engine Optimisation is key to executing an effective content marketing strategy and is key to boosting your website traffic.

rank-factors-pie-chat-startupstash

(Moz)

Content marketing is a careful balancing act and there are many items to consider when implementing it into your marketing strategy.

content-marketing-stratgey-startupstash-min

(Neil Patel)

  • Begin Your Keyword Research.
  • Begin Researching The Type of Content You Will Produce.
  • Begin Creating The Content; If You Can, Make Use Of Freelancers To Promote Cost Efficiency.
  • Add Designs To The Content To Improve Memorability.
  • Promote Your Content Through Multiple Avenues.
  • Build Links With Publishing Platforms To Improve SEO.
  • Keep An Eye On Your Conversion Rate and Continue With What Is Working Well.

Optimize Your Sales Team

Whilst you may believe that your sales strategy is perfect, you must analyze your results and optimize your sales strategy.

You will only be able to achieve lasting success by evaluating your processes.

The key metrics that you should be analyzing for your sales team are the volume of sales, lead to sale conversion rates, and the amount of time taken for each deal to close.

You should keep track of how many potential customers come through your sales funnel, which is known as your pipeline volume.

Next, numerate how many successful sales have appeared out of those prospects and figure out the percentage; you will get your conversion rate. You should also look at how many potential leads drop off between stages, as you will be able to gain an understanding of why you failed to win the business of those prospects.

Whilst it is important to collect this information on an organizational level, to understand how the organization can improve, it is also key that you analyze the performance of individual salespeople.

This way, you can gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing your sales representatives and you can provide them with additional training and guidance so that they can improve.

In theory, so long as the provided training is valuable, your sales representatives will decrease their overall conversion time and the conversion rate will increase.

5-steps-to-sucess

(Mercuri UK)

You should also analyze the amount of time it takes for your representatives to close a deal, the idea of this is to minimize the amount of time it takes on average for your leads to become closed deals.

Finally, you need to decrease the amount of money that it costs you to generate a sale.

It is important that when you are in discussions with potential customers that you try to naturally upsell and cross-sell other products that would be suitable for your customer; without turning them off completely.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve completed all of the planning for your go-to-market strategy, you should be ready for your product to take the industry by storm.

Despite this, it should be noted that you will need to construct a new go-to-market strategy for each product so that you can best prepare for your entry to the market.

 

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Ido navarro

ido is eating data for breakfast. He loves the combination of people, technology and business. He specializes in digital product management and is proud to be a part of the StartupStash community