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How to Develop a Go-to-Market Strategy with the Go-to-Market Strategy Canvas

A go-to-market strategy is different than a product launch plan. Often, these two terms are used interchangeably without a second thought. Part of this confusion may be our tendency to abbreviate everything and our joy creating acronyms.

What is a Go-to-Market Strategy?

A go-to-market strategy is a comprehensive plan to engage and acquire customers. A solid GTM strategy answers fundamental questions about how a business enters a market. The market entry could be for a new line of business, a product, or a service. Entering a new market with an existing product is also a significant change.


The questions a solid go-to-market strategy answers include:


What is the target market we are going after, and why? (Focus)


How will we reach potential buyers? (Promotional strategy)


How will we price our product? (Pricing strategy)


How will we sell our products to potential buyers? (Sales Channel strategy)


How will we onboard new customers? (Onboarding strategy)


How will we support customers once they purchase? (Customer Support Strategy)


Sometimes, a new line of business requires a change in the status quo. The market is different and unfamiliar. How you reach potential buyers changes. How you sell products to potential customers changes. How you onboard customers changes.


A go-to-market strategy is a set of guiding principles that informs GTM decisions and priorities.

Example:


Today, we target banks with assets greater than $100B, selling an enterprise software product installed on customer hardware using a direct salesforce. Using a high-touch approach, we deliver our products digitally through a professional services team. The list of potential customers is known (based on demographics), and there are well-defined marketing channels to reach them.


We plan to introduce a new product that targets credit unions and community banks with assets less than $1B tomorrow. The list of potential customers is known. The pricing structure of the new products is considerably different, and the new product is priced much lower than our enterprise products. The product is different. The buyer is unfamiliar, and the relatively small size of deals won't interest our enterprise sales team. How we engage potential customers requires a different approach. And onboarding requires a different approach from our enterprise customers.

The changes in the tomorrow example are significant but not out of the ordinary. We encounter these situations regularly. Companies routinely fail to successfully launch new products because they don't revisit their go-to-market strategy. The assumption is that it worked before, so let's do it again. Until it doesn't.


The Go-to-Market Strategy Decision Matrix (GTM-DecMat - haha - just made that up) helps you decide when to reuse an GTM strategy that is working, when to revisit the strategy to revise it, and when to create a new one. Of course, real-world results will ultimate determine what you do next.


Go-to-Market Strategy Decision Matrix

The BrainKraft Go-to-Market Strategy Decision Matrix

The Go-to-Market Strategy Canvas

The Go-to-Market Strategy Canvas is a tool to help you develop a go-to-market strategy. Use the canvas to think through the big picture of strategy development.

The BrainKraft Go-to-Market Strategy Canvas

The output of working through the GTM Strategy Canvas is a clear picture of how you will enter a market. It provides you and your team a framework for thinking through various aspects of your business to identify strengths and weaknesses. It's an ideal way to present a GTM strategy to your leadership team.


Summarize the strategy for each of the five go-to-market strategy focus areas. Use short sentences and bullet points: the promotional strategy, the pricing strategy, the sales channel strategy, the customer onboarding strategy, and the customer support strategy. Think of the set of strategies as 76guiding principles for entering a market. Anyone reviewing the canvas should walk away with a clear understanding of the why and the how of your go-to-market strategy.


NOTE: If you serve markets that require additional GTM strategy focus areas, simple modify the canvas to adapt to your unique needs.

The red, yellow, and green dots are used to visually represent any concerns you have about a given focus area using a traffic light metaphor. Red is very concerned, yellow is somewhat concerned, and green is unconcerned (no action or change necessary). Describe why you are concerned in the Comments area for each focus area. Be specific and factual.


Revisit the GTM Strategy Canvas each time you launch a significant improvement to an existing product. Big changes to a product can obsolete previous GTM strategy decisions.


Use the Go-to-Market Strategy Decision Matrix to help you know when to create a new GTM strategy or revisit an established one. And use it when an existing GTM strategy isn't working.

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