How to Develop a Successful Go-to-Market Strategy

It’s the day of a new product launch. You’ve got butterflies, your team is excited, and you know your customers are going to be impressed. 

In order to make the launch a success, it’s crucial that you set clear goals, plan future steps, and earn a competitive advantage. Traditional marketing plans lay out these steps, but to really move the needle, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. 

A truly successful launch — one that will become a milestone for your brand’s continuous growth and success — requires coordination across teams, efficient workflows, and clear messaging. 

That’s where a go-to-market (GTM) strategy comes in.

What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?

A modern go-to-market strategy targets customers at scale through aligned and automated sales and marketing outreach. Powered by real-time data, it orchestrates omni-channel engagement to reach the right people at the right time.

To be successful, a go-to-market strategy must be comprehensive enough to capture the breadth of a company’s sales, marketing, and customer success efforts, meeting highly empowered, informed buyers on their terms and focusing on their needs. 

In this context, a GTM strategy includes defining the target audience, messaging framework, marketing channels, offers, and sales plays your teams will run to convert prospects to leads and leads to customers. 

A successful GTM strategy needs to be clear and comprehensive enough for others to easily understand its value. It also puts focus on the customer and how your solution applies to them, with easy access to continuous feedback. 

GTM strategies also help with maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV). Because winning new customers is expensive, implementing a plan to maintain and support them from the start can save money in the long run. Evaluating the resources used on customers (old and new) within marketing and product development teams will help with overall GTM execution.

When Do You Need a Go-to-Market Strategy?

A GTM strategy is needed anytime you bring a product or service to market. Broadly speaking, you can think of that breaking down into four more specific scenarios:

A common misconception is that GTM strategies are only needed when you launch a new product. The reality is GTM strategies are also useful if you are looking to improve your strategy with existing products or in existing markets.

New Markets: When you expand into untapped markets, it might seem easier to copy and paste your strategy from other markets. However, in doing so, you might miss crucial differences between both markets. This is why expanding into new markets is a great time to create a GTM strategy specifically for that market.

Existing Markets: Don’t assume an existing strategy or way of working in an existing market is still relevant. Even if you plan to continue selling an existing product in an existing market, take periodic opportunities to reevaluate your strategy and figure out what’s working and what’s not. 

A clear strategy also increases the ability to capture, convert, and capitalize on customer needs and reduces the costs associated with failed plans.

Which Pain Points Can a Go-to-Market Strategy Solve?

Understanding customer pain points can help with messaging development in your GTM strategy. Here are some common pain points that you can help customers overcome:

  • Budget: Where are your customers wasting money? How can their budget be optimized with your solution?
  • People: How can your product make the end user’s day-to-day life easier? Are there opportunities to automate any mundane tasks?
  • Process: How can your product create a structured process within the customer’s business?
  • Productivity: Are there opportunities for more efficient ways of working at your customer’s company? How can your product help employees be more productive?

Support: How can you offer greater support during the buying cycle and beyond? Customers that go through the buyer’s journey with little or no support lose confidence in business relationships.

How to Create a Successful Go-to-Market Strategy

Creating a successful GTM strategy requires alignment with internal stakeholders. In order to truly deliver on the promise of a new go-to-market strategy, your team needs to be intentional in your focus.

1. Audience research and targeting 

Whether you’re launching a new product in a new market or relaunching an existing product in an existing market, research is key. Your target market may not have the same motivations they did a year ago, six months ago, or even a few weeks ago. With shifting priorities and ongoing uncertainty, it’s always worthwhile to research the current market to understand the trends and signals related to new and existing customers.

Creating buyer personas enables your team to reach out to groups of customers at scale based on shared characteristics. For example, at ZoomInfo, one of our buyer personas is sales directors in the manufacturing industry, whereas another buyer persona is marketing directors in the technology industry. Having different buying personas can help fine-tune messaging and speak to the specific pain points of those users.

Once you have a sense of your buyer personas, it’s important to define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and prioritize the accounts that are most likely to purchase based on quantitative criteria. For example, your ICP might be companies with more than 1,000 employees that generate at least $25 million in annual revenue.

An ICP is especially important if your total addressable market includes a range of businesses of varying sizes, industries, and titles, because you’ll end up targeting buyers that aren’t fit to purchase your solution — wasting time and money.

2. Product positioning and messaging

When it comes to developing your market position and messaging, you need to determine what value this new product or service brings to customers. Be really clear about why they should care.

One way to get that clarity is to focus on your customer’s pain points. You can find these in areas like:

  • Budget: Where are your customers wasting money? How can their budget be optimized with your solution?
  • Productivity: How can your solution save them time and maximize efficiency? Are there opportunities to improve automation with your solution?
  • Support: Which of their operations needs assistance? How can your solution further drive their success?
  • Alignment: Are there opportunities for your customers to create greater alignment across internal teams? How can their teams have more visibility into what other teams are working on?

Understanding the needs of your customers can help uncover opportunities for your team to help. These insights can help guide your messaging strategy and increase the likelihood that you’re bringing relevant solutions to your customers.

Another key component of positioning is understanding the competitive landscape. Who are your top competitors? How does your product or service differ from theirs? Asking these questions can help highlight the value of your products and services and how they differ from the competition. 

This is a good time to review sales calls and listen for mentions of your competitors. In doing so, you can better understand their strengths and weaknesses and how you can differentiate your own messaging. 

Remember that your positioning and messaging should be adaptable depending on changes in customer needs or market trends. It’s worthwhile to conduct some research at the start of each quarter to make sure your GTM strategy is still relevant to your audience.

3. Cross-functional alignment

Prospects engage with a number of different teams throughout the buyer’s journey. When it comes to a GTM strategy, cross-functional alignment can support:

  1. Clear and consistent messaging so customers hear the same information no matter who they speak with.
  2. A defined lead-management system so top priority leads are routed appropriately across both teams.
  3. An improved customer experience through greater personalization and seamless campaign execution.
  4. Revenue growth and ROI if the right messages are delivered to the right prospects at the right time.

Come to an agreement with all internal stakeholders about which accounts in your total addressable market are considered priority leads and how to move them through the buyer’s journey. Alignment and consistency will ensure that all of your teams are working seamlessly together to drive growth and achieve your business objectives.

4. Define your GTM pricing model

One of the most challenging aspects of creating a GTM strategy is the pricing model. When it comes to figuring out how to price your products or services, there are generally four options to consider:

  1. User-based pricing: Customers are charged based on the number of employees using your product.
  2. Usage-based pricing: Customers are charged based on how much they use your product This is often determined by assigning internal “credits” of some kind for a given action in your service.
  3. Tiered pricing: Customers are charged depending on the product package they choose. Packages include different features and functionality at each level.
  4. Flat-rate pricing: Customers are all charged the same price for full access to your product.

Remember, some products will have a combination of these pricing models, or use some portion of all of them based on account tier or other factors. Determine a pricing model that not only takes into account the development costs but also supports your value-prop messaging and market position.

How to Create a Data-Driven Go-to-Market Strategy

A rock-solid GTM data strategy is essential to scale your business. When you prioritize quality data, it’s easier for your teams to find the right group of decision-makers at the right time at key accounts. 

McKinsey found that 72% of the fastest-growing B2B companies say their analytics are effective in helping them with sales planning, compared to 50 percent of the slowest growers.

1. Invest in a quality data provider

Foundational data

When launching a GTM strategy, you need to know which companies and people to target. This is where foundational data points like phone numbers, email addresses, and job titles really come into play.

Investing in a data platform to automatically populate these data points can help drive efficiencies in your GTM strategy and set your teams up for success. Here are some of the top foundational data points to track across accounts:

Demographic Data Points

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Job title
  • Office phone number
  • Mobile phone number
  • Work email address

Firmographic Data Points

  • Company name
  • Headcount
  • Annual revenue
  • Industry
  • Office locations
  • Funding history
  • Market share

Buying signals

Wouldn’t it be great if you could uncover key buying signals within your target accounts? Think of activities like visits to your website, industry news, technographic insights, and job changes.

Access to these insights can help your teams be more proactive in building a GTM strategy that’s relevant to your buyers at any given time. As you start implementing your GTM strategy, it’s also a way to pivot your approach as needed.

Buying signals provide insights to help teams be more proactive in building a relevant GTM strategy for their buyers.

2. Consolidate your tech stack

Once you have a solid data foundation, it’s time to bring all of the aspects of your GTM strategy together under a unified tech stack. A unified tech stack grants your teams greater mobility and creates more visibility into how all of your campaigns connect to one another. 

Take a look at all of the tools in your tech stack. Get really granular and understand how the teams use, or don’t use, those tools. In addition to cutting wasted spend when necessary, it’s also worthwhile to see if there is a central platform that can help drive greater efficiencies. 

Consolidating your tech stack provides greater visibility into how key aspects of your GTM strategy connect to one another.

When you go to market with a new product or service, it’s crucial that your data platform, CRM platform, and sales tools can all speak to one another through integrations. This is especially helpful when automating GTM motions

A consolidated tech stack makes it easier to launch campaigns, analyze the results of that campaign, pass leads over to the sales team, and see the entire lifecycle of prospects to customers.

3. Accelerate the time to market with GTM Plays

GTM plays are one of the best ways to really turn your strategy into action. At ZoomInfo, we think of GTM plays as coordinated processes that drive results across sales, marketing, and operations functions, with the ability to be automated and repeated.

Each play includes: 

  • Specific inputs which inform targeting/audience building 
  • Triggers that kick off the play
  • A unique set of steps that create a recipe for the play 
  • An engagement output with prospects via one or more channels, including ads, email, chat, phone, text, or mail

Creating your own GTM playbook can help increase efficiencies since plays automatically begin following defined triggers within your overall strategy. This means that your sales and marketing teams can target specific audiences with customized, automated motions to achieve specific business objectives.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Go-to-Market Strategy

In order to measure the effectiveness of your GTM strategy, you need to align with all internal stakeholders on success metrics. Whether it’s sales, marketing, product, or customer success, you all need to be on the same page about what you’re tracking and which KPIs matter most.

Here are some KPIs to consider when first creating your GTM strategy:

  • Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC): The CAC is the total spend across channels to bring on a new customer. This is a metric that, over time, can help show whether the cost to bring on a new customer is increasing or decreasing.
  • Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): The ARR is the total amount of revenue that you are consistently bringing in from customer contracts each year. This metric can help track the overall financial performance of your business.
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): The MRR is the total amount of revenue that you are consistently bringing in from customer contracts each month. This is more common to track if you have a payment model where customers make payments every month instead of in a lump sum. 
  • Churn Rate: The churn rate shows how many customers you lose during a given period. This is always an important metric to track, but especially when you bring a new product to market.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): When you first launch a GTM strategy, you might decide to increase your advertising budget. Calculating the ROAS of those efforts will show whether those efforts are paying off.
  • Organic Search Traffic: Tracking organic search traffic will show how many customers are coming to your website or specific web pages without being prompted by advertising, social media, or emails.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): The NPS is a measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Tracking how this changes month over month, or even week over week, can be valuable when you go to market with a new product.

Remember: always test and learn. Your GTM strategy will naturally evolve along with your customers and the macro environment. That means indicators of success will as well. Carve out time at least twice a year to check in with your teams on priorities and match those against customer behaviors.

Modernizing Go-to-Market for All

GTM is the beating heart of every company. It lays the foundation for market position, messaging, sales processes, and customer satisfaction. 

Modernizing GTM means optimizing and improving your strategy with software, data, and insights. Not only is an efficient go-to-market motion a tactical and operational advantage, but it’s also an overarching strategic advantage.

ZoomInfo has spent nearly 20 years helping companies go to market with the tools they need to drive the results they want. Our platform aligns sales and marketing teams to find, acquire, and grow customers. 

Ready to learn more about modernizing your GTM strategy? Find out why ZoomInfo is the GTM platform trusted by more than 30,000 businesses worldwide — and get started on your next great go-to-market strategy.