The quality of a go to market plan determines whether a company will be successful. In short, there are basically eight fundamentals that need to be mastered to develop a go to market plan that will be successful in the market place. Then, focus attention upon go to market resources to execute the plan flawlessly.
The eight fundamentals of a comprehensive go to market plan include:
- Definition of the total available market
- Identification of specific companies comprising the market
- Documentation of products and services to be offered
- An estimation of potential revenue
- Estimated penetration rates for each market segment
- A coverage model
- An integrated approach to customer acquisition
- Tracking and managing
Go to Market Plan – Total Available Market
The total available market (TAM) calculation is a key part of the go to market plan. As such, it should include the specific companies that comprise the TAM. Industry and revenue are typical attributes that will be further stratified to identify the served-market (those companies that can be reached through the distribution model) and the target market (those with the highest propensity to purchase).
Go to Market Plan – Specific Companies
It’s said that the devil is in the details — and that is true when building and executing a go to market plan. It’s not good enough to derive dollar values for the total available, served and target market. The specific companies need to be identified and relevant information about those companies (revenue, employees, net income, location, etc.) collected. This is so that integrated sales and marketing programs can be developed and executed to acquire these companies as customers.
Go to Market Plan – Products and Services Offerings
A go to market plan needs to be focused but it also needs to be flexible to reflect and adapt to the needs of the market. For example, the target market may have companies that are small (less than $100M in revenue), medium ($500M to $1B) and enterprise (greater than $1B). The corresponding IT budget (people and dollars) workflow knowledge and process will vary for small, medium and enterprise clients. As a result, the way the offering is sold and/or implemented may need to be different based on the specific company targeted within the target market.
Go to Market Plan – Potential Revenue
Potential revenue in the go to market plan is a function of price multiplied by quantity. This calculation should leverage the insights developed earlier by stratifying the companies in the target market by revenue and identifying the offering (and price point) estimated to best resonate with this audience. The result is the revenue amount that should be available to all vendors offering similar or substitute offerings in this space.
Go to Market Plan – Penetration Rates
Estimates for the adoption or penetration rates into the identified target market segments (industry, revenue, etc.) need to be realistically set. This is because they form the backbone for the go-to-market plan. Assumptions also must be made for companies that will have no interest, no budget, have purchased a competitor’s solution or are building their own solution internally – these all need to be accounted for in the go to market plan.
Go to Market Plan – Coverage Model
The coverage model will either expedite or stifle the implementation of the go to market plan. For instance, if a vendor sells via a direct sales force and the clusters of companies in the target market are in CA, TX and NY, then the physical location of the direct sales reps should be in the same geographies. Also, instead of placing direct sales reps evenly across a geography, they should be placed in a geography based on a ratio of prospects and customers to a direct sales rep.
Go to Market Plan – Customer Acquisition
No go to market plan can be considered complete without an integrated customer acquisition plan. In this scenario, the companies that represent the target market (or a subset of) should be represented on a “Most Wanted” poster. Marketing should build specific marketing campaigns to target these companies and the titles and roles that fit the targeted personas. The sales development reps should engage in an outbound calling program (in addition to following up on marketing leads generated into this segment) to set up meetings with the direct sales rep. And, the direct sales rep should be prospecting by leveraging their own network and tactics to connect with these companies.
Go to Market Plan – Tracking and Managing
Once the go-to-market plan is in place, it’s important to track success from all perspectives. At a high level, the focus should be on tracking the companies specified in the target market. Ideally, each one of these companies will become a customer. However, it’s important to track the precursors to becoming a customer. Specifically, the status for a targeted customer could be any of the following:
- Is currently in the sales forecast with a deal amount and close date
- A first meeting is set for the sales rep
- Contact has been made and a referral has been provided but either there is no budget, a competitor is in place, a solution is being built in-house or no need is perceived
- A sales development rep is trying to make contact
- Registration to an event or a download of content has been made
- The customer is included in a marketing campaign that includes emails and offers
- The customer is included in a cold calling campaign from the sales development reps
By following the process outlined above, one can build and execute a go to market plan optimized for successful market penetration. Once there is a laser focus on whom a vendor is selling to, what they are selling and an integrated and systematic approach is in place for acquiring customers, all go to market resources can be aligned for optimal impact.