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How to Build a Revenue-Focused Go-To-Market Strategy

Sep 20, 2022
9 min read
Every business that wants to grow needs a go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Why? Because it serves as a roadmap for bringing new companies, products, and services to market — finding them customers, earning them sales, and ultimately driving their revenue growth over time. Without a go-to-market strategy as a guide, a new launch involves too much guesswork and a whole lot of risk.

Companies that develop a sound go-to-market strategy before launch are 50% more likely to succeed long-term.

In this guide, we’ll cover the important things to know about building a go-to-market strategy designed uniquely for your company — including how to keep revenue growth at its core.

Quick Takeaways

  • Go-to-market strategies are detailed action plans focused on a single initiative (typically a product or company launch).
  • Revenue should always be an objective priority metric for your GTM strategy.
  • Lack of market demand is one of the top reasons new companies or products fail on the market.
  • Ideal customer profiles and buyer personas are effective frameworks B2B companies use to determine your target audiences before you go to market.
  • It’s critical to know your entire competitive landscape before you launch — including direct and indirect competitors.
  • RevOps is an X factor for go-to-market success because it enables data-driven decision making, optimized execution, and continuous collaboration.

What is a go-to-market strategy and why do you need one?

A go-to-market strategy can be thought of as your plan of action — it outlines the necessary people, resources, and steps necessary to make a new product launch successful. More specific than your larger marketing strategy, GTM strategies focus on one specific initiative.

While GTM strategies are usually associated with launching new companies and products, they can also be valuable in other use cases, including:

  • Bringing existing products to new markets
  • Launching a company rebrand
  • Launching new product editions or features
  • Engaging a new customer segment

The keys to a successful go-to-market strategy lie in the details of its preparation, which we’ll walk through in great detail later in this guide.

Why does revenue need to be a core part of your GTM strategy?

The ultimate goal of any go-to-market strategy (and really, any initiative a company implements) is to earn more revenue for the business. To make that happen, revenue must be a core part of your strategy from the very beginning.

While this might sound obvious, it can be harder to do in practice. Companies easily get caught up in the excitement of a new launch, focusing heavily on product and messaging without really analyzing how it will all eventually equate to revenue.

So how do you avoid this misstep?

First, it’s critical to understand how whatever it is you’re launching — product, brand, or company — fits into your larger revenue strategy. Is it a brand new revenue stream? An addition to a current one? A strategy adjustment to drive better performance (ex: rebranding)?

The second important step is to set goals and measurable KPIs related to revenue within your GTM strategy. Goals not only keep you accountable but keep revenue top of mind throughout the execution process.

In the next section, we’ll walk through this execution process in full detail by phase:

  1. Before you launch — what to do to prepare
  2. During launch — how to execute well
  3. Post-launch — driving the highest possible ROI

Let’s dive in.

How to Build a Revenue-Focused Go-To-Market Strategy

Before you Launch: How to Prepare

Evaluate product-market fit

Product-market fit assesses the value your product provides for its intended audience. In other words: what problem does it solve, and do people actually need it? Evaluating product-market fit is absolutely essential. Without it, you risk launching a product (or even entire company) for which there is no demand.

In fact, lack of market demand is consistently found to be one of the top two reasons companies or new products fail (along with running out of cash/capital).

By researching your market and evaluating the need for your solution at the very beginning of your go-to-market strategy development, you can avoid investing time and money in something that’s unlikely to succeed. Even better, you can pivot to find new use cases, opportunities, or approaches that may increase your solution’s market viability and potential to earn revenue.

Build ideal customer profiles and buyer personas

Once you know the problem you’re solving exists, it’s time to clarify more about the customers who will use it. Two commonly-used and effective frameworks B2B companies can use in their GTM strategies are ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas.

Ideal customer profiles focus on the organizations that will most benefit from what you have to offer. They describe company attributes like size, industry, location, budget and more. Buyer personas, on the other hand, describe individuals within those organizations that make buying decisions. Personas include personal and professional attributes like age, experience level, and position title.

You can (and B2B companies usually do) have more than one ICP and/or buyer persona on their target audience list. Knowing yours enables you to craft and target your marketing messages so that they’re hyper-relevant to the right potential customers (and most likely to yield high ROI).

Assess the competitive landscape

What other companies offer similar or the same products and/or services for which you’re building your go-to-market strategy? Even companies that launch brand new proprietary products have competition in some form. That’s why it’s important to know both your direct and indirect competitors.

Direct competitors offer the same product or service as you. Indirect competitors offer different (but often similar) products or services that serve the same basic purpose.

Let’s use two simple examples to demonstrate the difference.

  1. Nike and Adidas are direct competitors in the athletic sneakers market. They both sell sneakers built for athletic performance. Vans is their indirect competitor. They sell non-athletic sneakers that technically cover the same basic need (for sneakers) but are for separate use cases.
  2. McDonald’s and Wendy’s are direct competitors. They both sell fast-food and have similar menus. A local Italian restaurant nearby any of their locations would be an indirect competitor. It fills the same basic need (to relieve hunger) but again, would be patronized in a different situation than fast-food restaurants.

It’s important to know not only your direct (and more obvious) competitors, but really any company, product, or service on the market that could fill a similar need or solve similar problems to yours. When you do, you’re able to optimize your differentiation messaging and tactics to stand out in the competitive landscape.

Know your total available market and accounts in-market

Total available market (TAM) and accounts in-market are two key metrics that determine the revenue potential of your go-to-market strategy. TAM refers to the total revenue opportunity available to you — the revenue you would earn if you had 100% market share.

Accounts in-market refers to the potential customers within that available market who have actual purchase intent at any given time. It’s an indicator of how many sales you could likely convert at the time of your product launch.

Knowing your TAM and total accounts in-market helps you set appropriate revenue goals and accurate sales forecasting based on how much of the market you intend to (and think you can) capture through your GTM strategy.

Establish your pricing strategy

Pricing strategy is another important determiner of revenue potential. It indicates how much revenue you’ll earn on each individual sale. There is definitely no one-size-fits-all approach to pricing strategy, and the right one for you depends on your offerings and your business model.

That said, much of the research you’ve already done will inform your strategy. Think about market demand, your ICP and buyer personas, and your competitive landscape as a starting point for thinking about pricing.

Commonly used pricing models to consider include:

  • Value-based pricing - based on the estimated perceived product value
  • Competitive pricing - determined by pricing of close competitors
  • Cost-plus pricing - fixed percentage is added to the unit cost to determine profit 

Set goals

Last but definitely not least during the prep phase of your go-to-market strategy — set KPI-driven goals that allow you to measure success later on. This absolutely should include revenue goals.

Be as specific as possible when you set goals, using sales forecasting and other intelligent revenue analysis methods or tools to determine which KPIs you should prioritize and what your exact metrics for success should be.

During Launch: Nailing the Execution

Implement Sales Ops

Sales operations (Sales Ops) is the close alignment and collaboration of your sales and operations teams to drive optimized budgeting, resource planning, inventory management, and overall go-to-market strategy execution.

When you focus on effective sales ops during the launch of your product, you’re better able to maximize the revenue potential of your sales team. It also enables you to navigate the changes that may occur throughout product launch — demand, for instance, or market costs.

When sales and operations teams are aligned, they can act more collaboratively and respond quickly when strategy adjustments become necessary.

Develop a Detailed Plan (and Document It)

A detailed, documented plan for your go-to-market strategy is a tool often taken for granted but exceptionally powerful when utilized the right way. Ideally, your plan will be a live and shared document where participants across functions can see progress and make updates. It can be as simple as an excel sheet or as sophisticated as a software platform tool.

The key is to actively use it. When you do, everyone is held accountable for their part in executing the strategy. You can monitor progress and quickly recognize when benchmarks are not being met. Conversely, you can see and share successes.

Perhaps most importantly, a documented plan ensures no task or other detail slips through the cracks and reduces the revenue potential of your strategy.

Create High-Value Sales Enablement Materials

Sales enablement materials are even more important than usual for GTM strategies because they involve new or updated offerings that your sales team may not be familiar with. Ensure they have the tools and resources they need to engage new customers by creating high-value content and other references they can utilize to make their sales message powerful and the buyer experience positive.

Post-Launch: Driving the Highest Possible ROI

Stay Data-Driven

We covered the importance of setting data-driven goals during the prep phase of your GTM strategy, and it’s important to maintain this data-driven approach throughout its execution. To drive the highest possible revenue ROI, be objective in your measurement and look at the numbers as a large part of how you determine success.

Formalize Reporting (and Do it Frequently)

Just as in earlier phases of go-to-market strategy development, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a product or company launch. Doing so at the detriment of tracking potential and current revenue is a mistake that could lead to larger issues later on.

Keep revenue at the forefront by including it in your documented plan and reporting on it (and other key KPIs) frequently during and post-launch. Formalize the process (frequency, method, recipients, etc.) so it never gets lost amidst other priorities.

Pivot as Needed

Utilize the insights you uncover from your reporting to continually improve and pivot your strategy as needed. This could mean extending your target marketing to an additional customer segment showing unexpected demand. It could mean adjusting your marketing messaging based on customer feedback. It could mean changing your pricing strategy when it’s clearly not working.

The point: stay as agile as possible. Don’t “stick to the plan” just because you created it — doing so will likely leave revenue on the table.

The RevOps Factor: How it Drives Go-to-Market Success

RevOps is emerging as the most effective way to manage overall revenue at any company. It takes a holistic approach to revenue and drives collaboration across all revenue-impacting functions — marketing, sales, finance, and customer success. It also enables intelligent revenue strategies through a data-driven approach, high visibility, and the optimization of people, processes, and technologies across the organization.

As it relates to go-to-market success, RevOps can be an X factor for a few reasons. First, it gets everyone on board — you have all of the perspectives you need to create a well-rounded and informed go-to-market strategy.

Second, there are no surprises. Because you already have a data-driven and intelligent revenue strategy, you can set the right goals and make the right forecasts during every step of the execution process.

RevOps, in short, takes the guesswork out of putting new products on the market so you can make decisions with confidence — a benefit no company can deny is impactful to their bottom line.

Launch Your Revenue-Focused GTM Strategy with Confidence

Intelligent Revenue is achieved by unifying go-to-market teams with the technology, processes and data to operate more efficiently and grow top-line revenue without sacrificing bottom-line margins.

Contact us today to learn more about how Xactly can help you achieve this and more.

  • Intelligent Revenue
Erik Charles Headshot, Chief Evangelist at Xactly
Erik W. Charles
Chief Evangelist

Erik serves as a subject matter expert on the interlocking fields of revenue intelligence, revenue performance, and revenue optimization. Erik focuses on helping Xactly drive expansion and growth by better aligning positions, responsibilities, and incentives to be in sync with achievable strategic and tactical goals. He is an accomplished professional with more than two decades of experience in marketing, consulting, and product evangelization.