The B2B market is a highly competitive, challenging, and volatile place. This makes having a good go-to-market strategy crucial for B2B companies, as it offers them a roadmap for introducing their products or services to their target audience, and eventually driving sales.
According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 80% of startups fail within three years. They may have a great product or service but still fail to capture the market. The main reason behind this is the lack of a well-developed go-to-market strategy.
This article explores in detail what a B2B go-to-market strategy is, its benefits, and how to develop an effective strategy. It also offers tips and examples of successful GTM strategies.
What Is a B2B Go-to-Market Strategy?
A B2B go-to-market strategy is a plan that outlines how a business will bring a product or service to a market.
Launching something new or entering a new market is never easy. It is always riddled with risks. A well-crafted go-to-market strategy helps businesses to mitigate them and ensure a successful launch. It encompasses a comprehensive approach that allows businesses to differentiate themselves from others in their target market and be successful and sustainable.
Who Needs a B2B Go-to-Market Strategy?
Various businesses across industries can benefit from adopting a well-planned go-to-market strategy. These include:
Startups often need to announce their arrival with a splash to gain attention and build brand awareness. A solid go-to-market strategy helps them make their offerings stand out, attract the attention of their target audience, and establish their presence in the challenging B2B market.
Established Businesses Launching New Products or Services
For revenue generation and future growth, established businesses need to continue introducing new products or services. To ensure new launches hit the business targets, a B2B go-to-market strategy coupled with precision marketing can deliver the business results.
Such an approach allows businesses to identify their target audience, articulate a product value proposition, formulate a marketing plan, and evaluate the outcome effectively.
Established Businesses Targeting New Markets
To expand their footprint, businesses need to target new geographical regions or expand into niches other than the one they primarily operate in. With a go-to-market strategy, they can understand the dynamics and challenges present in the new markets, address the needs of their potential customers, and successfully launch their existing products.
B2B SaaS Providers
B2B SaaS is a fast-moving industry with customer needs changing as dynamically as the technological landscape. B2B SaaS marketers therefore need a very clearly defined go-to-market strategy that clearly addresses the customer’s pain points in order to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals and acquire new customers.
How to Create a B2B Go-to-Market Strategy
Follow these steps to create a good, actionable B2B go-to-market strategy.
Identify the Target Audience
The identification of a target audience is a crucial step during the development of the market strategy. Without this vital information, the marketing team will be shooting in the dark, making their go-to-market efforts futile. They must also understand their core offering and what pain points their products or services can solve.
To do this, the business needs to delve into the following information about its target audience:
- Firmographics: Classify B2B customers based on industry, size, location, and revenues.
- Technographics: Analyse customers based on their technology stack.
- Geographic Location: Asses the geographic locations of customers – current and prospective – to form a target audience.
- Buying Behaviours: Understand the buying behaviour of current and potential clients, such as identifying the individual(s)/entities involved in the decision-making process and the main decision-maker.
- Needs: This indicates a customer’s existing or potential need. A key tool for identifying needs is leveraging B2B intent data, which helps identify accounts that are actively researching the types of products/services that the business is offering. Also known as intent signal, it is leveraged by the sales team when creating cross-selling strategies for B2B. Data offered by these tools can help in identifying cross-selling opportunities.
Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Once the target accounts are identified, create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). An integral part of sales and marketing strategy, it is a semi-fictitious representation of the target audience. It helps determine accounts that have the potential to become the most valuable customers of a business.
ICP enables the marketing team to focus their go-to-market efforts on customers who need their products/services to solve their problems.
Identifying and understanding competition is as important as identifying the target audience. So, businesses must research competitors that offer similar products or services or alternatives that address similar needs. It will help them determine their competition’s strengths and weaknesses as well as unmet needs, opportunities, and gaps in the market. Equipped with these insights, businesses can differentiate their product offerings or services and attract more attention.
Valuable insights into competitors can be acquired by analysing the industry and the business environment. Businesses should especially look for answers to the following questions:
- Who already offers a similar type of product/service in the market?
- What are the features, unique selling points (USPs), and pricing of competitors’ offerings?
- What are competitors’ value propositions and messaging?
- Who are the target audience of competitors and where are they located?
- How does the new product compare to those offered by competitors? What does it offer that others don’t?
Also, analyse the B2B go-to-market strategies of the top five competitors. It will help a business to determine what worked and didn’t work for competitors, in turn helping devise a more effective strategy.
Articulate Value Proposition
A value proposition is the centrepiece of a GTM strategy. It is a short statement that tells the target market why it should purchase a product and not its alternatives. The marketing team working on the GTM strategy must have a clear understanding of what the product’s value proposition is. It will enable them to articulate what sets it apart from its competitors and what benefits it provides potential consumers.
Find answers to these questions to craft an impactful value proposition:
- What pain points does the product/service solve? What key benefits does it offer?
- What makes the product or service unique?
- How does the new offering improve on existing solutions in the market?
When writing the value proposition, do not make it all about the product. Focus on the target market as well. It should showcase an understanding of the target audience and highlight how the product/service uniquely meets their needs or solves their problems.
Craft a Relevant Message
The next step is crafting a relevant message. It lets the target audience know that the product/service in question will solve their business problem. The message achieves this by clearly articulating the unique value proposition, highlighting what differentiates the product/service from other offerings in the market, and persuading the potential customer to buy it.
A good message ties the problem with the solution. It talks about the problem in such a way that the target audience can relate to it, and then it presents the product/service as a solution to the identified problem. The message also highlights how the solution addresses specific pain points, in addition to listing the benefits.
The message should be simple, concise, and easy to understand. For relevant marketing messages, get answers to these questions:
- Who is the target audience?
- What are their pain points and needs?
- How will the product/service solve the problems of potential consumers?
- What stage of the buyer’s journey will this message fall under?
- How will the target audience see this content?
- What type of language and tone to use?
A good strategy to craft an effective message is to create a value matrix. The content marketing team can do that by identifying each ideal consumer’s pain points or business problems and highlighting what makes the solution or service valuable. Once this is done, it becomes easier to craft a message that resonates with the target audience.
Map Buyer's Journey
The buyer journey refers to the process that a buyer goes through before deciding to buy a product or solution. It encompasses these stages:
- Awareness: It is the stage where the potential consumers become aware of a problem.
- Research: This is the stage where the customer researches and evaluates different solutions.
- Decision: This is the stage where the customer narrows down potential solutions to the final choice
- Purchase: This is the stage where the customer makes the actual purchase.
- Post-Purchase: The buyer’s journey continues even after the purchase is made.
Businesses can deliver the right message at the right time by mapping buyers’ journeys because it allows them to examine potential consumers’ needs and choices at each stage.
Establish Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators (KPIs) help businesses assess the effectiveness of their go-to-market plan and determine whether the launch was successful or not. They also give valuable insights into what is working and what is not.
Some of the KPIs used to find out whether or not B2B GTM strategy goals are being met or not could include:
- Number of New Customers Added: It tracks the new customers acquired during a specific period of time, helping determine the effectiveness of the marketing efforts to reach the target audience and acquire them.
- Customer Acquisition Cost: It calculates the cost of acquiring a new customer. A lower cost of acquisition indicates a more effective go-to-market strategy.
- Market Share: It refers to the portion or percentage of a market owned by a business. It provides insights into a business’s competitiveness and success within a specific market.
- Sales Growth: The overall performance of the market strategy can be tracked using this KPI, as it measures the growth in sales revenue over a specific period.
- Conversion Rate: It refers to the percentage of potential customers who became paid customers. A high conversion rate indicates that the GTM strategy was well-designed and implemented.
Harness Feedback Loop and Refine
The Feedback loop helps in improving marketing outcomes. In a GTM strategy, the most common feedback loop is customer feedback. It helps businesses to track customer experience at every stage of a buyer’s journey.
A feedback loop can be positive as well as negative. The former confirms the effectiveness of the GTM strategy, while the negative feedback loop indicates that the marketing team needs to refine their strategies to offer the target audience a better experience.
Refining a market strategy, which means making minor adjustments, should be an ongoing process. It helps in enhancing its effectiveness, improving customer experience, and capturing the market.
Benefits of B2B Go-to-Market Strategy
A successful launch in the B2B landscape depends on a well-designed GTM strategy, which distinguishes it from the ones that fail to generate interest. Both startups and established entities benefit from it in several ways.
Provides a Comprehensive Understanding of the Market
For a successful and sustainable entry into a B2B market, it is important to understand the marketplace, target market, market dynamics, competitors, and the product/service place in the market. The GTM strategy helps businesses gain a comprehensive understanding of these aspects, which enables them to stand out in the market. They also develop a brand that resonates with the target audience.
Boosts Brand Awareness
A well-executed GTM strategy also helps increase brand awareness. It allows businesses to combine targeted messaging, consistent branding, and the use of different channels to create a recognisable brand presence in the market.
Maximises Market Share and Revenue
By leveraging go-to-market strategies, businesses can maximise their market share and revenue. It offers them a roadmap on how to enter new markets with new products/services or bring old products to new markets. A growing market share leads to growing revenue.
Offers Competitive Advantage
The adoption of effective go-to-market strategies allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals as they get a better understanding of their target audience, pain points, needs, and current market dynamics.
Armed with these insights, they can meet the expectations of their customers more effectively than their competitors. A good strategy also enables a business to craft a unique value proposition and positioning statement, which helps create its distinctive identity in the market – distinguishing it from its competitors.
Creates a Structured and Organised Process
A marketing leader overseeing a product launch has to make sure that everything is well-structured and organised so that there are no missteps and wasted resources. The B2B go-to-market strategy helps with this.
It also helps maintain alignment during the launch process as it provides a detailed blueprint to follow. This means that every person involved in the process knows about the steps, tasks, and what they need to do. It mitigates the risk of failure due to errors, miscommunication, disorganisation, and missed deadlines.
B2B Go-to-Market Strategy Examples
Every business has a different go-to-market strategy because product lines, objectives, target markets, value propositions, and target messaging vary from one business to another. Here are examples of two companies’ B2B go-to-market strategies.
Company: Gong uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give revenue leaders the critical insights they need to develop talent and build a winning sales organisation.
Target Audience: Businesses and Revenue Leaders
Objective: Introducing a new visual identity to build a more sophisticated image for the company.
Gong’s previous symbols, including Bruno, a bulldog, showed it as a youthful startup. As it intended to enter new markets and become a global enterprise, serving businesses and leaders, it decided to adopt a more sophisticated look.
Previous Go-to-Market Strategy: Gong followed a more person-centred approach targeting individuals. Its mission statement was “help business professionals everywhere become sales superstars.”
For a revenue intelligence platform, this was not the best market positioning, as a lot of the work in this field happens at the organisational level rather than the individual level. Moreover, individuals involved in product purchase decisions tend to be in leadership positions rather than be members of sales teams aspiring to be “sales superstars”.
Gong decided to adopt a new strategy to target revenue leaders and businesses and project itself powerfully in the market. One of the first steps it took was to change its mission statement to better articulate its value.
New Mission Statement: “We unlock reality to help people and companies reach their full potential.”
Gong then worked on a larger visual system to match this new mission statement.
Logo: The company integrated its brand drivers into the new logo – Celebration (a vibrant burst of energy), Conversation (the social bubble), and Individuality (a unique G shape). These changes represented it more emotionally than before.
New Colour Palette: Bold and emotional, featuring hues of bright purple, flanked by pink, plus shades of grey to modulate the effect.
Illustrations: Dramatic illustrations of everyday individuals transformed into sales superstars. These brand characters, with disarming smiles and inspiring gazes, highlight Gong’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Visual Language: Gong’s visual language communicates its positioning as a provider of business growth solutions. This is evident from its “burst” logo that evokes an imagery of something expanding rapidly outwards. Its background colour is a rich royal blue on which its messaging is displayed in bold white and yellow. It also displays photos of inspirational people leading interesting personal lives who also “happen to be great at sales.”
This new brand image led to Gong establishing itself as a more sophisticated enterprise. When the new visual identity was first introduced, it generated buzz on social media and channels such as LinkedIn, resulting in better brand awareness.
Company: Slack is a cloud-based team communication platform developed by Slack Technologies.
Target Audience: Small agencies to some of the world’s largest companies.
Objective: Introduce its business communication platform in the market.
Product: An easy-to-use, viral product, compatible with other popular tools and services.
Launch: In 2014, Slack, developed to replace emails, was introduced, promising improved productivity. Its mission was to make teams “more productive, informed, and connected than ever before.” Slack began running in private beta in August of 2013.
Slack’s SaaS go-to-market strategy focused on employees of a company and not top executives, which enabled word-of-mouth marketing within organisations. At the time of launch, it already had nearly 15,000 daily users.
The launch was a successful one. And to make the product more well-known, Slack tapped into social media and industry influencers. In addition to organic promotion, it also used paid platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
As a result, Slack is one of the most widely used business communication apps today, with over 35 million daily active users across 1 million organisations. Its go-to-market strategy helped create a market for it, selling a solution to a problem that employees were not aware of. It sold Slack as an “innovation” and not a product.
B2B Go-to-Market Strategy Tips
The crafting of a GTM strategy requires a holistic approach. A good B2B marketing company must consider the needs of the product, market, and customers when developing it. After the product/service introduction, it has to regularly refine the strategy based on feedback and evolving business and market dynamics.
Here are some tips to make the B2B go-to-market strategy better and more effective.
Find Ideal Consumers
Most business products are designed to solve specific problems for a specific target audience. It is, therefore, essential to find ideal consumers and not target every client operating in an industry.
When a marketing company does this, it optimises its go-to-market efforts, reaches the most valuable markets, sees higher engagement and conversion rates, and gains a competitive advantage. It also leads to less wastage of resources.
Reduce Customer Acquisition Cost
Winning customers for a product or service comes at a cost. It can cost up to 5x or more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing customers. Businesses must aim to gradually reduce this cost by refining their GTM strategy.
One of the ways they can do this is by increasing inbound leads — which are much cheaper to acquire — compared to outbound leads.
More inbound leads can be generated through content marketing, social media platforms, and search engine optimisation (SEO).
Create a Messaging Document
Message is one of the key elements of a GTM strategy. A relevant message attracts the right target audience and persuades them to make a purchase. It is, therefore, important to have a messaging document, which contains a unique value proposition, mission statement, key product or service benefits, customer-centric messages, and boilerplate statements. It also keeps a record of a company’s thinking on target markets and positioning.
The messaging document helps maintain consistency in what marketing teams or sales teams want to say. It also offers clarity to everyone involved in the go-to-market process.
B2B vs B2C Go-to-Market Strategies
B2B, short for Business to Business, means one business selling to other businesses; while B2C, short for Business to Customer, means a business selling to customers.
Some of the fundamental aspects of B2B and B2C go-to-market strategies are the same, such as market research, determining the target market, crafting unique value propositions, and relevant and effective messaging.
However, delving deeper into the two strategies shows that there are stark differences between the two, such as:
The target audience of B2B is more niche, diverse, and heterogeneous. So, B2B marketers have to customise their messages based on different buyer personas, industries, buyer journeys, and preferences of clients.
This is why account-based marketing, account-based experience, and strategic account planning are an integral part of B2B go-to-market strategy. Personalised messages are not usually required in B2C go-to-market strategy as the target customers are mass, broad, homogenous or put into cohorts. The message has to resonate with a large audience.
Sales Cycles and Decision Makers
For a B2B go-to-market strategy the marketing department has to consider longer sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and complex needs and problems that require long-term solutions.
These aspects are not usually encountered when working on the B2C go-to-market strategy. Marketers do not have to engage multiple decision-makers and persuade them to buy the product or service. Individual consumers — the target audience of the B2C GTM strategy — require less engagement.
The B2C landscape also has a shorter purchase cycle, and its customers often require quick solutions for immediate needs.
Pricing strategies too, can differ for B2B and B2C businesses.
B2B pricing strategy often involves negotiations and custom quotes, especially if the seller and buyers are directly engaging with each other. B2B companies can also set the price after analysing competitors’ pricing. The price can also be set on the basis of a product or service’s perceived value or core features, and it may fluctuate depending on market demand, competition, and factors such as the cost of raw materials.
B2C pricing is not negotiable. Businesses operating in this space have a flat-rate pricing approach or usage-based pricing. During the B2C go-to-strategy process, marketing teams may have to tap into psychological pricing tactics; for example, setting prices just below a price point that is a multiple of 10 — $19.99 or $89.99.
Free B2B Go-to-Market Templates
It is tough for a business to gain significant market share in the challenging B2B landscape, especially if it is a new entity. If it wants to beat the competition, stand out, craft relevant messaging, reach potential customers, and convert them into paid ones, it must leverage the B2B go-to-market strategy.
Developing an effective GTM strategy requires expertise, the right data, current tools, and the ability to craft the right message, monitor progress, and evaluate the results and feedback.
As a B2B marketing agency, xGrowth specialises in designing targeted and hyper-personalised GTMs for B2B companies. Our strategies are data-driven and backed by solid research arising out of our expertise and experience in the B2B domain.
Get in touch with us to understand how our experienced marketing team can develop an effective and actionable GTM strategy to ensure a successful launch for your product or service in your target market.