A Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy is where the direction for the company’s entire commercial approach is defined. It draws insights from the external marketplace and uses those insights to make choices such as “why do we exist,” “which markets will we choose to compete in,” and “what strategic advantages will we develop?” One of the primary goals of the GTM Strategy is to enable functional strategies to then be developed that are all aligned with your overall corporate direction. Note: watch for signs that they aren’t because if that is the case, you have a different problem on your hands.
The importance of cross-functional interlock isn’t just lip service. Poor execution is by far the number one reason strategies fail—even good ones. If you don’t have a documented GTM operating plan, the chances of that happening increase exponentially. For best practice guidance on that front, SBI has created a GTM Operating Plan Tool.
This tool provides a set of self-diagnostic questions to answer, and a sample plan format.
Market intelligence obviously plays a crucial role in helping you make these strategic GTM decisions. At its core, market intelligence uses multiple sources of information to create a broad picture of the company’s existing market, customers, problems, competition, and growth potential for new products and services. Sources of raw data for that analysis include sales logs, surveys, and social media, among many others.
Successful market intelligence answers concrete questions about current and potential customers and competitors and helps you outline internal goals for the company.
A Sampling of Questions That Good Market Intelligence Can Answer Include:
- Where should the company devote its resources?
- Which markets make the most sense for us to try to expand into next?
- Are there patterns to what our ideal profiled ideal customers buy?
- What products and services could be cross-marketed or up-sold to our existing client base?
- Demographics where new or existing products and services may be most rapidly adopted.
However, as equally important to how and where you collect market intelligence is how you store and disseminate it within your organization. Why is that? For the same reason that a documented cross-functional GTM operating plan is critical. You need to make the data available and actionable across all the functions of your company. Your functional leaders need to see it and respond to it in as near real-time as possible. As our Q3 research report about annual planning outlines, best practice is making it an agile and programmatic exercise within the organization. This is not an annual project exercise.
Examples of Benefits:
- For Your Marketing Function: Market intelligence you gather about competitor’s marketing efforts (content marketing, events, social media, messaging, account-based initiatives) can be used to improve and implement new marketing initiatives rapidly. Collaborating with your product team, product marketers can craft stronger messaging to assist with upcoming product launches, website copy of collateral for your entire organization.
- For Your Sales Function: Information gained about competitor’s pricing, sales teams, products, or services can be used to improve your sales collateral, demo scripts, and sales processes. If the information gathered is turned into sales battlecards, personas, or competitor profiles, you are turning marketing intelligence into actionable data. That data can arm your sales team with the competitive edge they need to decrease sales cycles, increase win rates, and improve deal sizes.
- For Your Product Function: Gathering information about your competitors’ products or services from their websites, customer reviews, and online forums is a great way to improve your own products and services. Knowing the detailed specifications of your competitors’ products, how they work, what clients like (or dislike) about them, can help your product team iterate to make your offerings even better.
How Do You Ensure the Distribution and Utilization of Your Market Intelligence Are Best in Class? Take the Following Rapid Diagnostic:
- Do you have a documented communication plan to distribute and share market intelligence insights to the organization?
- Is there a standard, easy-to-use template to report your analysis throughout the functions?
- Does your company have a firm understanding of how to answer “what is next” for how to convert insights into action?
- Are insights made relevant to the business by tying them to potential future revenue?
- Is there a process to prioritize insights based upon frequency, size of pain, and buyers’ willingness to pay?
- Is there an agreed-upon Service Level Agreement (SLC) that defines how the new innovative ideas will be handed off by the Market Intelligence Team and acted upon by the functional groups?
- Does Product, Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, and Customer Experience utilize the output of the Market Intelligence program to improve how they go-to-market?
If your answer to these questions is “no,” SBI can help you craft a best in class market intelligence distribution and utilization cadence. Getting all your functions to operate against a documented plan in a cohesive manner and utilizing the same market intelligence data in near real-time is a sure-fire way to invigorate your GTM engine. Get started by downloading our GTM Operating Plan Tool.