6 February 2014

Go-To-Market: more customer-centric, hungrier and more agile

Turbulent market environment is constantly changing business and competitive conditions. New technologies blur industry boundaries, shorten product life cycles, change business models - and bring new competition through globalisation. In this environment, Go-To-Market (or GTM) success is becoming ever more important - competitive advantages are less and less sustainable; instead of technology and supply factors, demand and customer interface capabilities are becoming increasingly vital.

Today, most companies already have functioning GTM processes. They are useful in commercialising a new product or business model, opening up new markets or even when a new company has been acquired. 

This paper will first introduce GTM process and its benefits. After that some of the pain points will be discussed, and we shall show, how a more customer-centric, hungrier and more agile approach will boost results.

GTM process and its advantages

GTM activities make company's business strategy concrete by delivering its solutions and their value to target clients, see also a simplified picture below. In reality, however, GTM is a process, which covers activities from definition of a product to pricing, distribution, marketing, communications, sales and customer support.

Benefits of a well thought and implemented GTM process include:
  • allocation of resources to the most lucrative business opportunities
  • prevention of organisational silos
  • cooperation between centralised and decentralised activities
  • sharing best practises and learning
Metrics need to be created for GTM processes. The intent is to evaluate product and business profitability. Evaluation of project success already in product development and, respectively, GTM phases, ensures that resources are allocated only for the most lucrative opportunities. GTM thus acts as a tool to develop company's product portfolio.

Secondly, GTM process and project objectives bring together different functions of an organisation, thus inhibiting silos. This will also ensure that all the necessary skills and knowledge is just in time and adequately available. In addition, it is easier to create new practises in domains, which are new or require very different types of knowledge-based inputs. Smoother cooperation between marketing and sales activities is often highlighted as a great example of GTM process benefits.

When a company expands and becomes more globalised, it also needs to grow certain functions on a decentralised basis, in other words, close to customers locally. These include, for example, implementation of marketing and communications, sales and first level customer service. GTM process links centralised operations, such as specifying a product and planning of marketing and communications, seamlessly with distributed ones. Also GTM project objectives, strategies and other guidelines are centrally defined. In addition, prioritisation of regions and countries is usually centrally managed. By centralising selected GTM activities, duplicate work is avoided and local implementation gets adequate support.

GTM also allows for sharing of best practises within a project and between projects. Thus the most successful ways of working of the best individuals and teams become an integral part of the entire company's expertise, which is then available and repeatable from a project to another.

Improvement needs

As such an existing GTM process does not guarantee success. Among other things, drastically changing customer purchasing behaviour, multichannel marketing driven by digitalisation and new business models are forcing GTM models for continuous improvement.

More customer-centric GTM

Company products need to resonate well with customer needs and market demands. Thus increased influence of both consumer and corporate customers in the various stages of purchase process calls for rethinking and adjustments in a way a company approaches market. It is also important to find unique customer segments, whose needs can be met better. To tackle all this, GTM activities need to be built to meet customer relationship objectives and strategies, giving possible internal legacy requirements second priority.

Market studies conducted before product development start do not guarantee that products match with customer needs. Rapidly changing markets require that development activities are closer integrated with customers´ feedback on products. Customer development, which has its roots in the startup world, is playing a growing role to facilitate parallel product development and customer testing. Especially huge progress in the development of Internet and social media tools allows for market testing and possible corrective actions already in the early stages of product development. In a similar way it is possible to figure out target market prioritisation and GTM activities localisation needs.

Hungrier GTM

Overall effectiveness, quality and cycle time can be considered as baseline yardsticks of GTM process. However, this is not enough. Tougher business metrics should also be introduced: lead generation impact, sales increase and evaluation of GTM process on the basis of return on investment (ROI). By focusing on business outcomes, we can get rid of bureaucratic way of working, where checklists dominate over hunting for results.

Digital marketing and sales methods have been at the forefront of bringing measurability. But technologies are not to be seen here as masters but slaves - or enablers at most. The key is to create GTM strategies and processes that focus on right things. Furthermore, we should not forget people, who run the process and who truly need to understand and know how to operate the new fact-based model.

More agile GTM

Although a company would have created the world's best client-centred and business metrics-driven GTM process, it does not insulate the company from changes in the operating environment. These challenges require adaptability, responding by foresight or by further developing own activities. The keywords are continuous improvement and best practise sharing.

Activity and environmental data collection and analysis, as well as test and learn principle are the cornerstones of continuous improvement. Data insights lead us to the real issues and improvement options, which will be verified for operational scaling by testing. This makes it possible to avoid costly mistakes made with non-working or outdated GTM practises, and paves way for better results. 


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