Go to market strategy challenges

Launching a New Product? 8 Go-to-Market Challenges to Avoid

Having a go-to-market (GTM) strategy helps you mitigate risk and drum up demand for your product.

Whether you want to launch a physical product, software, or a service you should begin with a GTM strategy. This type of strategy covers several pillars such as product viability and positioning, marketing and sales strategies, among other aspects.

A successful GTM strategy begins with alignment across the company, specifically those teams that contribute to a product launch, namely product, marketing, and sales teams.

In theory, developing a GTM strategy is straightforward; however, more often than not, businesses tend to fall short.

The State of Go-to-Market Report by Product Market Alliance, a SaaS provider, found that 61.9% of marketers “always” create a strategy when “taking products to market.” But only 33.3% said they had a “systematic approach” that they implemented.

The 5 Pillars of a GTM Strategy

The same study showed that while 70% of respondents noted a strong impact of the GTM activity on the company’s revenue, 47.6% said their companies under-invested in said plans. However, investment GTM isn’t the primary reason why some GTM strategies fail. To understand the full picture we must first understand the pillars of a healthy GTM strategy.

1-Product Analysis 

Most offerings, specifically software-as-a-service (SaaS), tend to be in a constant state of development.

Conducting a product analysis means understanding where the product is right now and where it will be in the future. Moreover, it involves identifying who the product serves right now. This is called the current target market.

It’s important to consider the time and financial investment in bringing the product to market during the launch phase and down the road.

2-Product Positioning and Messaging 

As a definition, product positioning is how you set your product apart from similar and other products on the market, while messaging is how you convey this positioning. Together their goal is to clearly communicate what a given product does and why buy it.

To communicate and establish your positioning, you need to conduct a meticulous review of your direct and indirect competitors. Then, highlight what sets you apart.

Conducting this research will also play a role in the personas you create for your product. It will help you identify personas better, which will save you time and money and avoid future go-to-market problems.

3-Unique Sales Proposition (USP)

A USP is a concise statement highlighting a product’s distinctive advantage compared to competitors. Simply put a statement that explains why your target audience should buy your products.

An example of a formula to succinctly highlight their USP can look like this: We help [target audience] achieve [desired transformation or goal] with [specific features and aspects].”

Part of a GTM strategy is refining the sales proposition, ensuring its alignment with the different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Your messaging and proposition for early-stage buyers should differ from those at a later stage, for example. Use marketing and sales collateral like whitepapers and case studies for your different buyers.

Another point to keep in mind is how different pricing strategies can also impact your GTM plans. 

For example, if your price vs. quality is a key advantage or if price is a core deciding factor for your potential audience are all components to address when developing your GTM strategy.

4-Marketing Strategy 

For any business to create an effective marketing strategy they need detailed, realistic user and buyer personas. Having these personas means you can identify marketing channels and create effective ad campaigns to target them.

Your product’s GTM strategy should take into consideration content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). While the latter two strategies are considered long-term strategies, they should be part of your GTM plan.

Your GTM marketing strategy should encompass ad testing and retargeting. It should include your GTM messaging, ad copy, and design.

Consider starting with a small budget to see how the audience reacts to and engages with different advertisements.

5- Sales Strategy 

This is the culminating pillar of your GTM plan. It addresses your meticulously defined buyer personas. Your Sales Strategy should encompass the following key components:

  • Sales Process: A well-defined process that guides your sales team from prospecting to closing deals. 
  • Sales Pipeline: An organized framework that visualizes and outlines the journey from initial contact to conversion, ensuring timely follow-ups and efficient resource allocation.
  • Strategic Partners and Affiliates: Identifying and building relationships with strategic partners who can amplify your reach, provide complementary services, or enhance your value proposition.
  • Resellers (if applicable): If your business model involves reselling through intermediaries, your strategy should outline how you’ll engage and incentivize them to promote your product.
  • Pricing Strategy: Clearly define your pricing structure, including any discounts, bundles, or tiered pricing models. Your pricing strategy should align with market dynamics, competitive positioning, and customer expectations.

Common Go-to-Market Challenges

Creating a GTM strategy takes time. Unfortunately, many businesses rush the process in hopes of launching fast and with the least cost possible. That’s why companies often fall into one or more of the following pitfalls.

1- Lack of a Well Defined Marketing Plan and Launch Process

Only 33.3% of the GTM-focused study respondents have a well-defined GTM process, with an additional 52.3% having an informal defined process that they followed.

Part of having a clear and well-thought-out marketing strategy is knowing when and where you’ll engage your target audience.

Often, companies will rush the marketing plan or the entire product launch. They try to engage customers everywhere, all at once. The result? Spending too much on channels where only a handful of your customers and target audience are.

2- Unclear Target Audience  

By far, one of the most common GTM strategy challenges and pitfalls is the lack of a clear target audience. Often, marketing and sales teams would create vague or too broad target personas.

Identifying a persona’s geography and demographics is great—as a starting point. But it’s not enough to drive an entire GTM plan.

Contrary to many companies’ beliefs, having a broad audience isn’t a good thing. Narrowing down your target audience means you get a clearer view of your target market and how you can improve your product or service.  

3- Failing to Identify Risks

The top reason companies create GTM strategies is to reduce the risks of launching a new product or pivoting an existing one. However, failing to identify said risks can have adverse effects on your entire GTM strategy.

Typically, companies fail to properly assess risk due to: superficial price-vs-value research and insufficient analysis to determine the correct timing. 

Further reading: Innovation vs. Risk Aversion: How Non-Techs Can Strike the Right Balance?

4- Vague value proposition

A value proposition explains why a customer should buy a product from a company. Failing to create a clear value proposition is a common go-to-market mistake.

If your proposition is too broad or too vague, the result is your ideal clientele won’t know if your product is for them or not. In other words, you won’t effectively reaching your target market.

5- Lack Well-Defined KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for the success of any strategy. Setting SMART KPIs is a basic ingredient to ensure an effective and efficient GTM process.

SMART KPIs means they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Setting broad KPIs, ones spanning a long time, or irrelevant ones can result in a failed product launch.

6-Weak Product Positioning

Without clear positioning and messaging, instead of making waves, your product will fall flat.

Take the time to identify your product’s core offerings and create your messaging accordingly.

7- Weak communication between your GTM teams

The State of Market report shows that 62% of respondents note lack of communication as the largest challenge during the GTM process, especially between the product development team and product marketing team.

Another common go-to-market challenge is aligning all involved teams and ensuring effective and open communication channels.

Often, companies will lay down plans but forget about improving internal communications and aligning stakeholders.

8- Lack of a Retention Strategy

Any successful business needs to have a balance between customer acquisition and retention, this includes new products and their GTM plans.

Research by Bain & Company indicates a mere 5% increase in customer retention can prompt a 25% to 95% surge in profits. Not to mention, acquiring customers with no plans of retaining them means you’re wasting precious dollars.  

Creating a product GTM strategy isn’t something that can be built in a day. It requires iterations, alignment, communication, and coordination with other teams and with members within the same team.

More importantly, a go-to-market strategy begins well before the final stages of development.

Mistakes are bound to happen in any product launch. However, having a clear GTM plan with clear KPIs allows you to avert risk and the impact of those mistakes.

Related Posts

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top