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A primer on B2B go-to-market (GTM) strategy

Success in a new B2B venture or product release requires vast confidence and passion for the technology. This is particularly important in securing funding. In most cases, however, customers do not immediately grasp the need for your product.

At the same time, buying decisions require approval from a diverse group of individuals, and there is uniform resistance to being “sold”. The solution to this daunting challenge is to abandon the traditional product-centric framework and resist the temptation to lead with product in favor of a more customer-centric GTM strategy. 

What does customer-centric mean? The optimal approach involves targeting the right accounts and contacts as precisely as possible, creating awareness, and successfully nurturing the buyer’s journey. Essentially, the goal is to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time. By employing a one-to-one versus one-to-many methodology, you will reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) and minimise the sales cycle.

Buyer’s journey

Conceptually, the buyer’s journey consists of three stages:

  • Awareness: the prospect is not necessarily aware of the problem or has not framed the symptoms in a manner that would support taking immediate action.  
  • Consideration:the prospect has a clear picture of the issue and is researching available options to mitigate the problem. 
  • Decision: the prospect has identified a strategy and is culling a list of potential vendors. 

Steps to build an effective strategy

  • Involve key stakeholders early. Sales, support, and others offer vital customer insights. This approach will help solidify alignment among relevant teams as well. Although the need for buy-in may seem intuitive, it is not uncommon for elements of development, marketing, and sales to embrace different blueprints. Coalescing into a single GTM strategy will maximize results.   
  • Define segment taxonomy by grouping accounts into buckets that make sense for your business. Firmographics, account needs/pain points, account sophistication, and account opportunity should all be considered.  
  • Apply estimates for close rates and market share attainment with sensitivity analysis to gain a clearer perspective of sales projections and targets. 
  • Build personas. This is an in-depth effort to capture relevant data on contacts with substantive roles in the buying process, including decision-makers, influencers, gatekeepers, and users. The goal is to document actionable information such as titles, roles, needs, and behaviors. For more detail, a great place to start is the

    SiriusDecisions Buyer Persona Framework

  • Using a matrix format, map product capabilities to the pain points and needs outlined in personas. This step forms the underpinnings of awareness creation and allows for a stronger business case in each account.

Objectively determine the right sales model. A sampling of key Issues to consider include:

  • Will a standard SaaS model accomplish your objectives? 
  • Are field sales reps required? 
  • Is the channel a strategic fit? 
  • Can the right marketing and sales resources be queued up to support the model? 
  • Do CAC projections line up with what is necessary to hit sales targets? 

With a vigorous strategy in place, you’ll begin building content, demand generation, sales enablement, and sales plans to effectuate the buyer’s journey. Again, be sure to concentrate on personas within their respective segments. For an indirect sales model, channel recruitment and enablement plans would obviously be paramount.

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