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How to build a go-to-market strategy

  • IDENTIFY THE BUYING CENTER AND PERSONAS: As cliché as it might seem, the first thing to do when preparing your product or service for the market, is to consider your target customer. On average, there are nearly 7 decision-makers for every sale who have a say in whether a product or service is purchased. These people make up what is called the “buying center.” Though it’s important to note some job titles might occupy more than one role, the roughly seven roles are the initiator, the user, the influencer, the decision-maker, the buyer, the approver, and the gatekeeper.
  • CRAFT A VALUE MATRIX TO HELP IDENTIFY MESSAGING: After mapping your buying center personas, it’s time to map out your value matrix. A value matrix is a breakdown of each buying center persona, their business problems, how your product is valuable in solving those problems, and a relevant marketing message tying the problem and solution together. Create a chart with each persona in one column. Below each persona, list the pain points they face on a daily basis. If your product can solve or ease any of these problems, include them in a row below.
  • TEST YOUR MESSAGING: Once your value matrix is in place, it’s time to test your messaging. Start advertising on marketing platforms using the messages you’ve just created for various audience members. You’ll have three variables to test; the channel you advertise on, the audience you target, and the message you share. When deciding where to test, first consider where your audience is. Possible paid digital ad channels might be LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook. Test the various channels and continue advertising on those showing high conversions.
  • OPTIMIZE YOUR ADS BASED ON RESULTS: Next, optimize your audience. Some ad platforms have highly targeted audience settings for advertisers. For example, LinkedIn offers options for job title, job function, company size, and geographic location. Test different options to see who is more likely to click or convert. For example, we noticed high clicks in certain industries, so we began targeting and using our ad budget to focus on those handfuls of industries on LinkedIn. The key here is spending money where you’ll get the biggest return on investment.
  • UNDERSTAND YOUR BUYER’S JOURNEY: With your personas and value matrix built, dive deeper to understand the journey a potential customer will take, both from the perspective of the buyer and your company. From your customer’s perspective, the buying process is linear. More or less, it will go like this. The buyer realizes they have a business problem and research the topic. The buyer shortlists potential solutions. That list is narrowed down by talking to sales teams from the solution provider and by testing product use cases until a decision is made.
  • CHOOSE AT LEAST ONE OF THE 4 MOST USED SALES STRATEGIES: You’ve done all the required foundational work, now it’s time to pick a strategy that will push your product or service into the market. No one method will work for every product or market, so it’s important to consider the complexity, scalability, and cost of yours. There are generally four common go-to-market sales strategies; each one catering to a different product and business model. These are the self-service model, the inside sales business model, the field sales business model, and the channel model.
  • BUILD BRAND AWARENESS: Build brand awareness and demand generation with inbound and/or outbound methods. You need to fill your pipeline by snagging the attention of your audience. This occurs through demand generation, which can happen with inbound and/or outbound strategies. With inbound, prospects discover your brand through marketing efforts and reach out to you or show signs of interest organically. Some examples of organic inbound traffic channels could be social media, content, or paid ads leading to a landing page.
  • CREATE CONTENT TO GET INBOUND LEADS: Inbound leads are easier to convert and cheaper to acquire than outbound leads. This is because inbound leads are already partially educated on the problem you solve, aware of your product, and usually more interested in buying your product. Content marketing is the key to generating that inbound interest, as content will drive traffic to your site. Drive this inbound traffic by finding and targeting keywords that your potential customers would search for and then creating and posting related content on your website.
  • FIND WAYS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR PIPELINE: Growth requires more than simply picking a sales strategy and building a demand generation process. You must optimize. Sales is a numbers game, and you can only be successful if you measure progress. The key performance indicators (KPIs) for managing a sales team are volume, conversion rate, and time. You’ll also want to track how many opportunities come into the sales funnel. Then track how many closed/won deals come out of the bottom of the funnel.
  • ANALYZE AND SHORTEN THE SALES CYCLE: Finally, track how long your sales cycle is. This is the amount of time it takes for an opportunity to enter the sales funnel and change to a closed/won deal. The goal is to shorten the conversion between every stage. This can be done by identifying common objections (and iterating ways to remove them before they happen), doing ongoing lead nurturing, and continue iterating ways to find the best-fit customers.
  • REDUCE CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST: As a business owner, you’ll also need to optimize your customer acquisition cost. This will be very expensive at first, but as time goes on, you’ll need to reduce this cost by optimizing your processes, or you’ll be losing more money than you make. Customer acquisition is how much it costs to gain a new customer or deal per $1. The lower the customer acquisition cost, the lower the impact your marketing efforts have on your PNL, and the higher the profit you get per customer.
  • TAP INTO YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMER BASE: A common adage in the industry is that it costs 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to do business with an existing customer. That’s because, if you’re providing a great buying experience, existing customers already know, like, and trust you. The best opportunity for companies to earn more and gain revenue is through renewals, cross-selling, and upselling. The average cost for a company to renew a product is $0.13, while upsells cost a company $0.28.

You should be able to answer these questions

  • What is your strategy to develop the business and scale your impact?
  • How will you conquer your market and tackle the social problem?
  • What physical resources are needed for your commercial operations and to ensure you deliver on your impact objectives?
  • Do you need a supply of any type to create and offer your solution?
  • What intellectual resources are needed for your commercial operations?
  • What intellectual resources are needed to ensure you deliver on your impact objectives?
  • Do all the resources need to be located inside your social enterprise, or can some of them be located with and accessed through partnerships?
  • What are your long-term goals?

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