I have a love-hate relationship with a go-to-market (GTM) plan.
I love it because it tests a marketer’s leadership, project management, and all-around offline and online marketing skills. Then, I hate it because there are many moving pieces that we need to juggle. When one piece is missing, the whole plan could just fall short (or fall apart).
Not to mention that every executive is on your back at all times, and critical elements, such as messaging and launch details, change constantly.
So, how do you keep everything in place and move things forward?
1. Scope your GTM properly and identify key elements upfront
To ensure the success of your go-to-market, you need to scope it. If you don’t scope it, your internal stakeholders and management will demand you own and do “everything.”
You need to understand what you will own and then scope it properly. Review your scope with management to get buy-in. In my GTM Part I blog post.
I identified 3 key elements of GTM: product, sales, and marketing. As a B2B marketer, you are likely to own marketing. But you still need to determine the theme of the launch, the channels, and the content in various formats. It’s like running a campaign on steroids by leading and coordinating with various marketing functions.
In general, a go-to-market plan is more than marketing because it also touches on product and sales.
On the product front, “what to say” and “how to say it” about your product must be articulated clearly. Without that, you won’t be able to move forward.
Check out my messaging framework template as a way to guide your thoughts throughout the product messaging development. On my YouTube channel, I have a series of messaging framework videos, if you prefer to watch them.
On the sales front, you need to consider sales onboarding and training. Ensure the sales team is ready to sell as soon as the product goes to market. Here are two blog posts about sales enablement: The Ultimate Sales Enablement Guide and Easy Way To Align Marketing and Sales.
I talk about each element in depth at my GTM workshop so that you’ll know how to scope it from the get-go, thus minimizing backlash from your executives and internal stakeholders.
2. Identify key players
It takes a village to bring a product to market. We’re talking major teamwork here.
If you are responsible for the go-to-market plan, you need to tap into all the right players from product development, product marketing, product subject matter experts, sales ops, sales enablement, field marketing, and even key sales account managers.
Find out who they are, then pull a team together based on your scope. Your scope will determine your dream team.
3. Use project management tools and host regular weekly calls
I often find it helpful to have a project management (PM) tool to track each milestone, as well as associated tasks and their owners.
Nowadays, many SaaS-based PM tools are available. Source one or use your company’s default PM tool. It’s the best way to keep everyone accountable.
It would be great if your PM tool could be integrated into your marketing automation and CRM tools. That way, you can pull campaign and customer data as needed.
The biggest challenge in modern marketing is that data is fragmented and stagnant. Integrating your PM tools with marketing, sales, and product tools creates efficiency for your go-t0-market efforts.
In addition to tools, you need to host regular GTM prep meetings; the frequency can start out slowly at first, but you’ll need to ramp it up closer to launch day.
Based on the launch complexity, I’d recommend having a short call every 2-3 days starting 2-3 weeks prior to the launch. It’s like an agile meeting or huddle to make sure that no one drops the ball.
If there are any changes, everyone can discuss and address them quickly.
Here is a list of agenda items that you can discuss as part of your GTM meetings:
- Product differentiation
- Key features
- Product vs. competitors’ products
- Product updates from subject matter experts
- Target audience research
- User research and findings
- Product training
- Sales feedback on new product features
- Sales training material review
- Sales training schedule
- Sales needs pre, during, and post-GTM
- Key account issues
- Co-marketing opportunities
- Each marketing channel’s launch details
- Paid media and sponsorship opportunities
- PR press package
- Media interviews
- Content and editorial planning
- Customer testimonials
- Website updates
- Success metrics
- Channel partner marketing
Many items can be discussed during GTM meetings; I don’t think I have ever run out of topics to discuss when I have chaired any GTM calls.
4. Create templates for each element
Another critical element to rally the team and move everyone along is to have templates. For example, if you are working with the product team on messaging, do you have a template to guide them?
If you are working with the sales team, do you have a list of sales training and onboarding content to tell them what you need? Or do they have any suggestions?
If you are dialing up multiple marketing channels, do you have a slide to show what channels will be activated and when so that everyone knows the marketing schedule?
Having templates is super-critical for the success of go-to-market preparation and implementation.
In my workshop, I share many templates that you can use to get everyone aligned. Reach out if you are looking for specific elements of go-to-market planning.
5. Monitor and report out
Rather than waiting for management to come to you for progress updates, you should proactively schedule monthly status updates or quarterly reports.
Let them know what has been accomplished, what is lagging behind, and/or what help you need.
Be very transparent; don’t sugarcoat the progress. If it’s going well, say it loud and say it proud. If it’s not going well, fall on your sword and tell them why it’s not going well.
I know it’s hard to deliver bad news. You may need to call some people out. Chances are that you need to tread lightly between being politically correct and having a direct confrontation.
I usually give team members a heads-up if I need to call them out at some meetings so that they can prepare their responses. Confrontation is always challenging and difficult, so you need to give some thought on how to manage that.
A good go-to-market plan launch encompasses many factors. You need to stay on top with the right tools, key players, and integrated sales and marketing. Most importantly, your product needs to be customer-fit.
Your product needs to be solid. Otherwise, it’s very tough to increase the probability of GTM success.
Reach out if you need go-to-market (GTM) planning and strategy help.
I can assist with training your team or work with you directly to pull the right processes and tools to prepare, launch, and measure the success of your GTM efforts.