Go-to-Market: The Ultimate Guide

By Chris Herring - 29th of Jan 2024
What does it take to successfully launch a new product or service? For starters, it requires a great idea—one that aligns with an identified market or need. But it also requires a fair amount of general business acumen, as well as a well-designed strategy for presenting your new offering. In short, communicating value is key to attracting, engaging, and ultimately winning new customers for your business.

How you go about launching your product or service is often the “X factor” for success. Unsure where to start? You’re in the right place!

We’ve put together this ultimate guide for successful go-to-market (GTM) strategies. We’ll lay out the importance of a GTM plan, unpack a go-to-market strategy example, and offer actionable tips for your own winning strategy.

We’ll answer a broad range of questions, like:
- What is a GTM strategy, and why is it important?
- What are the main parts of a GTM strategy?
- What is an example of a GTM strategy?
- How do you structure a GTM plan?
- Who is responsible for the GTM strategy?

Ready for launch? Let’s get into it.

What Is a Go-to-Market Strategy, and Why Is It Important?

True to its name, a go-to-market strategy establishes a framework for introducing new products or services to a group of customers (or market segment). As Gartner notes, a GTM strategy’s purpose is to detail not only “how an organization can engage with customers to convince them to buy their product or service,” but also how the company can gain an advantage within the marketplace.

What Does Go-to-Market Do, Exactly?

A GTM strategy serves as an actionable blueprint for the launch of a given product or service. Depending on the scope of the GTM strategy and its specific objectives, it may include things like fine-tuning the target market, developing products/services that are well-aligned with market needs, setting a budget, and even devising plans for marketing and messaging. A go-to-market strategy’s objectives or definitions of success depend on what the business is trying to achieve. For example, one company’s GTM strategy might be designed to introduce a new product or service, while another company might leverage GTM best practices as part of a broad, organization-wide rebrand. Beyond the GTM plan itself, companies often benefit from working through the process of developing a GTM strategy, as the exercise can also help the organization to fine-tune its objectives, product/service offerings, and even the metrics it will use to gauge success.

What Are the Objectives of a Go-to-Market Strategy?

More than simply a one-and-done activity, a GTM strategy is meant to help organizations bridge the gap between an idea and its market. With that in mind, a GTM strategy can accomplish several types of objectives, like:

  • Generating awareness, understanding, and even excitement about a new product or service.
  • Defining, identifying, and developing high-quality leads (as well as laying the groundwork for their efficient qualification and conversion).
  • Understanding the market and/or market segments—and maximizing market share within newly-identified markets.
  • Strengthening and/or diversifying the company’s brand and reputation.
  • Reducing costs, streamlining certain processes, and driving profits.

Why Is an Effective GTM Strategy So Important?

Building off of the objectives listed above, the importance of an effective GTM strategy is difficult to overstate. One of the biggest benefits of a well-implemented GTM strategy is it can mitigate many risks that often accompany the launch of a new product, service, campaign, or company. For example, a GTM strategy might be crafted to…

  • Identify and address risks related to the market fit of the product, service, or campaign. Through strategic, comprehensive market research, an organization can better-align its launch with the real needs and priorities of its target market. This ensures that there is both a demand for the offering and an opportunity to tailor its messaging to the most impactful buyer profiles.
  • Mitigate timing risks by coordinating the GTM strategy to capitalize on the best window of opportunity for a successful launch. No business leader wants to alienate existing customers—or fail to connect with new customers—so timing is vital. The best GTM strategies will target the right audience with the right products/services at the right time. Fortunately, modern software offerings—like Aptivio—provide sophisticated tools for uncovering market trends and intelligence, crafting buyer profiles and GTM strategies, and more.
  • Avoid risks related to pricing strategies. Whether you’re targeting new or existing customers, pricing factors into virtually every buying decision. That means pricing—and how you explain or justify that pricing—is another important consideration. If you price something too low, customers might assume the product/service isn’t going to be worthwhile. At the same time, pricing that’s too aggressive is also sure to be a turn-off.
An effective GTM strategy also improves an organization’s chances of short- and long-term success. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that:
  • Around 1 in 5 new businesses fail during their first 1-2 years.
  • Nearly half of businesses fail within their first 5 years.
  • Nearly two-thirds of businesses fail within their first 10 years.
This presents a compelling opportunity for businesses to develop GTM strategies that will attract and engage customers, drive key business and growth metrics, and edge out any competition. There are many common metrics that a GTM strategy can improve, including:
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Monthly, Annual, and Net Recurring Revenue (MRR, ARR, NRR)
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
  • Churn Rates
  • Organic Search Traffic

What Is the Difference between Go-to-Market and Product Marketing?

GTM and product marketing are neither synonyms or opposites; rather, GTM strategies are best thought of as a component of broader product marketing initiatives. Gartner defines product marketing as “the process of bringing a product to market and overseeing its overall success,” also noting how it “involves promoting and selling a product to a customer and is the intermediary function between product development and increasing brand awareness.” 

By contrast, a GTM strategy is a shorter-term, more tactical activity—a go-to-market strategy for a new product or service offering, for example. In certain cases, there may be one or multiple GTM strategies embedded within an organization’s product marketing framework and objectives. 

For smaller or less-established organizations, GTM and product marketing strategies may actually be one in the same. In these instances, the GTM strategy drives brand awareness and lead generation (rather than the introduction of a specific new product or service).

What Are the 5 Main Parts of a GTM Strategy?

While every GTM strategy should be unique to the company, product or service, and target market, there are certain components that virtually every successful go-to-market plan has. According to the Product Marketing Alliance, the 5 most essential GTM strategy elements include:

  • Defining Your Market: Broadly speaking, who are you trying to reach with your GTM strategy? Who is the general target audience? All the users of a given product or service? Enterprise-level B2B buyers? 
  • Understanding Your Customers: Who is the target audience of the product/service being launched? What are their specific pain points, priorities, and desired outcomes? Once you know this, you can begin tailoring your strategy accordingly.
  • Determining Your Distribution Model: Assuming you reach your target market and intended audience with your GTM strategy, how do you intend to deliver your product or service to those who are interested?
  • Crafting Effective Product Messaging: Based on what you’re offering (and who you’re targeting with that offering), the way you present value can be an absolute game-changer. How might you tailor your message to your audience—and how will you demonstrate more value to them than their competitors’ offerings?
  • Evaluating Pricing and Payment Models: The last thing you want is for your GTM strategy to be undermined by ineffective pricing or payment models. Think carefully about the ideal price point or range that will drive adoption without compromising too much profitability.

What Is the Role of Technology in Developing a GTM Strategy?

As you can imagine, developing a successful GTM strategy in the modern business world requires, at a minimum, effective collaboration, actionable data, and powerful technology. While the idea of GTM strategy has been around for awhile, today’s solutions are increasingly versatile. 
The truth is, putting together a successful GTM strategy doesn’t have to be overly complicated—provided you’re leveraging the right tools for the job.
At Aptivio, we know that one of the most difficult aspects of developing an effective GTM strategy is amassing the right tools and data. As we’ve discussed, the success of GTM strategies often depends on how well the product/service offering and related messaging align with the target market and audience. 
While there are unique solutions for each aspect of the GTM process, getting those tools to work together can be maddening. What’s been missing is a comprehensive and unified platform to power GTM initiatives. The Aptivio platform brings together capabilities like network selling and buyer intent signals in a way that is poised to disrupt the sales landscape as we know it.
With Aptivio, you can leverage actionable GTM intelligence—and even automate certain parts of the process. You can learn more about the platform by visiting our website.

What Is an Example of a Go-to-Market Strategy?

Every GTM strategy is unique, but the best examples are those that are well-tailored to your target market, audience, and value proposition. As we’ve discussed above, any go-to-market plan example should consist of 5 key components or actions:

  • Defining your market
  • Understanding your customers
  • Determining your distribution model
  • Creating effective product messaging
  • Evaluating pricing and payment models

Once those components are accounted for, the strategy itself can begin to take shape—including the specific GTM strategy or strategies you’ll leverage for best results. While each works toward the broad objective of GTM, there are at least 7 different subtypes of GTM strategy to consider, which we’ll explore next.

What Are the 7 Go-to-Market Strategies?

The 7 main go-to-market strategies you should know include the following:
  • Inbound: An inbound GTM strategy centers around providing new or existing customers with compelling, up-front value in order to attract, engage, qualify, and convert leads for the business. This often involves tactics such as identifying ideal customer profiles and leveraging content marketing to draw customers in and introduce a brand’s product or service as the best solution for their needs.
  • Outbound: Outbound GTM strategies rely on the sales team to position the company—including its products and services—as valuable investments for potential buyers. These strategies are best-used in situations with high-margin sales and lengthy sales cycles, or when offerings are difficult to explain concisely. In these cases, sales reps can reach out to potential customers, engage them to identify their pain points, and then introduce how they could achieve positive outcomes by working with the brand.
  • Product-Led: Product-led strategies work especially well when the value of the product or service is clear-cut and easy to understand, rather than needing extensive support from the sales or marketing teams in terms of product differentiation and positioning. By showcasing the product and what it can accomplish—through demos or case studies, for example—companies can get ahead on the strength of their offerings.
  • Channel-Specific: This GTM strategy type is less concerned with a specific product or marketing technique than the other categories in this list. Instead, channel-specific GTM strategies focus on exactly what you’d expect: a particular sales or marketing channel (e.g., retail, ecommerce). By establishing an authoritative brand presence within a particular channel and then introducing a key product or service, companies can form unique and productive business relationships that drive GTM objectives.
  • Ecosystem-Based: Ecosystem GTM strategies are an effective way to generate brand awareness, build trust, and increase authority by promoting an ecosystem of interrelated products, services, and partners. Through coordinating levers such as third-party developers, partners, and platforms, it creates a network effect with the core company or platform established at its center. Working with outside partners to develop ideas and provide seamless integrations is a great way to promote innovation and bring additional value and versatility to a company’s offerings.
  • Community-Led: Category-led strategies rely less on describing features and benefits of an existing product and more on providing thought leadership or even creating a new product/service category. Using this type of GTM strategy requires a willingness to experiment, innovate, and chart a unique path within a given industry. For those companies that are in a position where thought leadership is feasible, effective messaging can build a strong community of like-minded customers or partners.
  • Event-Led: Finally, event-led GTM motions are a relatively new type of strategy that relies on in-person or virtual events to engage customers and build value in coordination with a product or service launch. They rely on forging meaningful connections and relationships through premium events such as a product roadshow, in-person or virtual conferences and webinars, and so on. These events can build excitement in a way that other GTM strategies can’t necessarily match.

It’s important to note that every GTM strategy is going to be unique. Typically, though, the most successful companies are those that leverage multiple strategies as part of a coordinated GTM approach. A comprehensive and intuitive platform like Aptivio makes it easy to develop and set your strategy or strategies, execute them, and monitor their progress. But what does this all look like in practice? Next, let’s explore an example of a go-to-market success story powered by Aptivio.

Example/Case Study: Capgemini

To read more about how companies have leveraged Aptivio’s platform to develop and succeed with their GTM strategies, consider reading some of the case studies on our website. With each, you can learn more about how each customer identified—and overcame—their initial challenges, developed effective strategies for reaching and converting customers, and the results they achieved.

For example, you can learn about how Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation, was looking to accelerate sales. When Capgemini began considering using Aptivio’s platform, they had an idea of what their customers were looking for. It was a solution that could:
  • Detect and prioritize hidden revenue opportunities.
  • Increase user adoption.
  • Reduce sales costs.

In addition to providing those desired features and functions, Capgemini envisioned going a step further, with the ultimate objective of not only building a custom sales intelligence tool but sourcing its data themselves. They evaluated their competitors’ offerings and developed an idea of how they could disrupt the market with something innovative and new. Ultimately, what Capgemini needed was exactly what Aptivio offers:
  • Advanced insight into prospects’ online behavior at every stage.​
  • Buyer identification, intent, and accurate contact resolution.​
  • The ability to integrate with their existing CRM (Salesforce), Marketing Automation (Pardot), and various Digital Advertising solutions.
The results? Capgemini’s new product—and the go-to-market strategy that would introduce it to their prospects and customers—was a success.

You can read Capgemini's full case study to learn more about how they were able to achieve positive GTM results using the collection of tools within the Aptivio platform.

How Do You Structure a Go-to-Market Plan?

While there are several different ways to go about organizing and developing a go-to-market plan, following a general go-to-market framework is a great way to get started. Here’s an step-by-step go-to-market strategy framework you can use to develop a plan with a high chance of success:

Step 1: Define What Your Ideal Buyer Persona Looks Like
It’s best to tailor your approach to different customer segments within your market. Several different factors that impact what customers are looking for, as well as how they prefer to be engaged with. The more in-tune you are with your ideal buyer persona, the easier it will be to develop successful GTM strategies. When developing your buyer personas, you can consider factors like education, income, interests, objectives, and spending habits—and tailor your messaging accordingly.

Step 2: Fine-Tune Your Branding and Messaging
At the center of virtually every marketing campaign or GTM initiative, there must be a concise and compelling brand identity. While GTM strategies should be tailored to the product or service they are launching, there should still be a connection with the core brand itself. By monitoring the success of your GTM strategies, you can continue to refine your approach over time, uncovering new opportunities—and even better results.

Step 3: Determine the Best Marketing Channels to Use
For a successful GTM, you don’t necessarily need to reach every customer with every message. In fact, doing so could actually compromise a GTM strategy by making the new product or service seem just like everything else they’ve heard before. Not only that, but you also risk wasting time and energy on duplicative or unnecessary efforts. For best results, think deeply about the buyer persona(s) you’re targeting and the channels they prefer to use, and develop your GTM strategy accordingly. 

Step 4: Consider Your Pricing and Payment Models
Even the best GTM strategy is going to fail if you haven’t given sufficient thought to pricing and payment models. Use the information at your disposal—including how you’ve previously structured pricing—to ensure that you’re not going to have customers balk at the price and back out in the final stages of a deal. When setting pricing, make sure to think about not only fixed costs, but variable costs, as well—and, of course, the underlying profit margin.

Step 5: Develop Effective Sales Strategies
Depending on the buyer persona(s) you’re targeting, tailor your sales strategies accordingly. For example, direct-to-consumer sales have different priorities than traditional inbound or outbound sales. By identifying the right sales strategies early on, you can make effective and informed decisions as you generate—and execute—your GTM sales strategies.

Step 6: Decide What Constitutes Success
You’ll need to figure out which metric or metrics will define success, and then you’ll need to commit yourself to tracking them. Earlier in this article, we introduced some of the key metrics to consider—Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value, Monthly/Annual Recurring Revenue, Return on Ad Spend, Churn Rates, and Organic Search Traffic. With metrics like these in mind, it’s best to set both short- and long-term goals, so that you can adjust or expand your GTM strategy on the fly as needed.

Step 7: Produce Compelling Content
Creating and promoting highly informative and engaging content can help grow an audience and increase the chances of succeeding with your GTM strategy. Don’t waste the time of your customers or prospects, though—make sure everything you produce provides compelling value while nudging your audience toward learning more or even making a purchase. As you develop content, use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to ensure that what you’re producing aligns well with what your target market/audience is looking for. Over time, you can monitor how that content performs, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Who Is Responsible for the Go-to-Market Strategy?

When it comes down to who “owns” go-to-market strategy development within an organization, it depends on several factors, including company size and the complexity of the product or service at the heart of the initiative. 

When it comes to who is responsible for developing a go-to-market strategy, there are potentially several roles involved. According to the Product Marketing Alliance, it’s typically product marketers who own the go-to-market process in most cases, “since it depends heavily on cross-functional management, extensive knowledge of the product, and analysis of the market.” That being said, many larger companies opt to assemble a dedicated go-to-market team to oversee and coordinate one or multiple GTM plans.

Who Makes Up a Go-to-Market Team?

Again, it depends on the size of the company more than anything else. However…
  • In smaller organizations, it’s best to assemble a small team that includes representatives and stakeholders from the company’s sales, marketing, customer success and product departments. Each will bring unique insights that, when considered together, contribute to an innovative and highly-effective GTM strategy. 
  • In larger organizations, it often makes sense to assemble a larger team dedicated to GTM initiatives. While the exact go-to-market team roles will vary depending on the business and how it's structured, it will often contain a few key members, like a go-to-market manager, product marketers, and other employees in supporting roles (as needed).

How Do You Explain a Go-to-Market Strategy to Stakeholders?

There are often two key actions that occur at this phase of the GTM process: creating a go-to-market template that documents the strategy and its objectives, and designing a compelling presentation for stakeholders.

How Do You Create a Go-to-Market Plan Template?

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. There are plenty of resources and templates available that you can use to give structure to your GTM strategy development process. For example, you can browse and download free Smartsheet templates in a range of formats including Word, PDF, and Google Docs. Using these templates can help to ensure that your strategy is complete and well-organized, consisting of many distinct sections:
  • Executive Summary
  • Mission and Vision Statement(s)
  • Situational Analysis
  • Core Capabilities
  • Goals
  • Target Market
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Performance Standards & Measurement Methods
  • Financial Summary

How Do You Present a Go-to-Market Strategy Slide Deck to Stakeholders?

Once you have a GTM strategy ready to roll, the next step is to present your strategy to generate buy-in from stakeholders. While you can certainly submit your plan as a document, it’s often best to present your plan in person. That way, you can engage and connect with them, answer their questions, and make sure everyone’s on the same page. 

As is the case with GTM strategy templates, you can also find presentation templates online. For example, beautiful.ai, Pitch, and PandaDoc each have go-to-market presentation templates available for download, which means you can hit the ground running.

How Do You Present a Go-to-Market Strategy Slide Deck to Stakeholders?

The importance of an effective go-to-market strategy is difficult to overstate—and the same is true for the role of data and technology in its development and implementation. In other words, creating a cutting-edge B2B go-to-market strategy requires cutting-edge data and insights. That’s because data is (or should be) at the heart of the strategy. Whether you need to perform simple market research, better understand customers’ nuanced buying signals and intent, or both, Aptivio will make your life easier. By using our single, comprehensive platform, you can ensure that your GTM strategy has its greatest odds of success—and that success is inevitable.

Our platform collects a wide range of actionable data you can use to inform your strategy and ensure that it aligns well with your customers’ expectations as well as the needs of your business. If you’re interested in seeing what a go-to-market snapshot or a market scan of your ICP might look like, fill out this quick survey

With Aptivio on your side, you can configure GTM playbooks, generate pipeline plans around advanced buyer signals to discover hidden revenue sources, reveal sales-ready opportunities to increase close rates, and so much more.