Founder Hour: Go-to-market Strategy

Founder Hour

For September’s Founder Hour, we hosted an insightful conversation with Brittany Ryan and Arieann DeFazio, who each shared their experiences aiding companies of all stages develop robust solutions and high impact go-to-market strategies. Brittany is Founder & Principal at Sunrise Advisors, which helps health-focused companies define and launch new businesses in collaboration with their stakeholders, and establish robust product and go-to-market capabilities. Arieann has managed 7 startups over 16 years with millions in revenue, launched over 20 products in various industries from medical devices to software, developed innovation programs for universities and large corporations both domestically and internationally, and has private board-level experience. Catch the full conversation here and keep reading to find out what our key takeaways are below!

What is a go-to-market strategy?

A go-to-market strategy refers to the complete array of activities a company undertakes to support its solutions. It encompasses more than just sales and marketing; it involves various components, such as supply chain fulfillment, product life cycle, and regulatory concerns. Here’s a breakdown of its key aspects:

  • Pre-Launch Education: It is important to inform potential customers about the specific problems that your products or services are designed to solve, as well as acknowledging the limitations of existing solutions in the market. 
  • Customer Engagement: This revolves around actively listening to their needs, concerns, and feedback, with the goal of not only meeting but exceeding their expectations. Effective customer engagement is pivotal for loyalty and long-term success.
  • Sales Approaches: Sales approaches are the strategies and techniques employed to effectively market and sell your products or services. It includes tailoring your sales process to your target audience, understanding their pain points, and conveying how your offering uniquely addresses their needs.
  • Supply Chain Fulfillment: This encompasses everything from sourcing raw materials and production to warehousing, logistics, and distribution. The focus is on ensuring a seamless and efficient delivery process.
  • Product Life Cycle: At the beginning, a company should oversee its product life cycle from its initial introduction to the market to its eventual retirement or replacement. This includes product development, launch, growth, maturity, and eventual phase-out or replacement, with strategies tailored to each stage.
  • Regulatory Concerns: It is important to comply with the often complex web of industry-specific regulations, standards, and legal requirements that pertain to your product or service. 

A go-to-market strategy is not solely about targeting and attracting customers; it also involves post-sale processes.

What data and insights should companies collect for their go-to-market strategy?

Before executing a go-to-market strategy, spend time gathering the right data and insights. Here’s what you should focus on:

  • Core Unmet Needs: These are the immediate pain points, challenges, or problems that potential customers face. Your product or service should be designed specifically to address and resolve these issues effectively.
  • User Behavior: Understanding user behavior entails studying their habits, routines, and preferences to identify any barriers or challenges they may encounter when adopting your solution. This insight helps tailor your product or service to align seamlessly with their existing work patterns.
  • User Engagement: This includes mapping out the user journey, from the initial interaction to ongoing usage, and encompasses factors like user interfaces, features, and support mechanisms that facilitate a positive and productive user experience.
  • Market Competitors: The analysis of market competitors helps you identify potential rivals, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and understand how your product or service can stand out and offer superior value to customers.
  • Differentiation: Understanding your differentiation points is critical for effectively positioning your solution in the market and attracting the right audience.

Success and Timing for Go-to-Market Strategy

Navigating a successful go-to-market strategy requires an understanding that it will (almost) always take longer than initially anticipated. To stay grounded, set realistic goals by adding a conservative buffer of at least six months to your projections, recognizing that delays are common and often surpass initial estimates. Additionally, remember that adaptation is key, as teams may require time to adjust to new strategies after launch. When these shifts occur, it is important to avoid making abrupt changes based on limited data. Instead adjust your sales, operations, and marketing strategies only after gathering extensive insights into your consumers’ response to your solution and allow for a period of adaptation for your internal teams.

Bringing Existing Customers Along the Journey

As a company evolves its strategy, teams need to proactively ensure that they are bringing along their existing customers on the journey. It’s important that everyone, both internal and external to the core team, is aligned with consistent expectations for customer relationship management. This consistency extends to considering if the new strategy changes being made are compromising any existing promises that have been extended to the current customers as well as any messages in the market about what the company’s identity and mission is. If there are differences, it is time to reconcile alignment!

Transparency is another cornerstone of effective customer relationship management. Individuals in charge should not hesitate to communicate openly about the reasons behind strategy changes, regardless of how it might affect their perception as leaders. By upholding this principle, businesses can foster trust, maintain brand integrity, and protect customer relationships, even in the face of evolving strategies and market dynamics.

What are the best KPIs to measure after go-to-market?

Simply put, LESS IS BETTER! While the “best” combination of KPIs will vary from company to company depending on what product or service is being sold and who the consumer base is, the most effective data analysis comes from tracking approximately 3-5 KPIs per team. First and foremost, your company should be tracking the KPIs you’ve committed to investors, maintaining transparency and accountability in that relationship. Beyond that, decide which measurements of success will provide the most insight for each department (marketing, sales, finance, etc.) by defining each of the KPIs’ specific context, purpose, and goal. One final consideration for selecting KPIs is to strike a balance between leading and lagging indicators so that your business can track past performance and anticipate future trends, providing a well-rounded perspective for strategic decision-making.

A well-executed go-to-market strategy requires careful planning, data-driven decision-making, and a commitment to transparency. We hope that by considering some of these key insights from Brittany and Arieann, you are able to refine your go-to-market approach and increase your confidence in navigating the business landscape. Thank you to those who tuned in to our live conversation, we hope to see you again at next month’s Founder Hour! 

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