Your GTM strategy will make or break your million-dollar business idea

even hard-earned success causes failure without the right go-to-market mindset

All companies are created from an idea - some unique take on solving a problem. Yet, so many fail - but that’s nothing new.

Nobody starts a business thinking that their idea might not be good enough to attract attention and win some sales.

Optimism reigns supreme!

But what most people don’t understand when they start a business is that even hard-earned success causes failure without the right go-to-market mindset.

In his book Move, Sangram Vajre says research shows that when a companies reach $10M in revenue they turn into a landmine. They don’t fail because their vision is obsolete or their people aren’t the best, they fail because they haven’t evolved their go-to-market strategy.

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All great business ideas start with identifying a problem and then finding a market for it. It’s a simple recipe, but it doesn’t scale!

On some level we all understand that a product must evolve - what starts out as a great idea people are willing to pay for will simply need to get better over time. Even if our product is a service, we’ll gain new efficiencies and find increasingly creative ways to deliver value.

But what catches even the most experienced entrepreneur off guard is the transformation required to create a legendary company.

Product evolves beyond go-to-market strategy = fail

Go-to-market strategy evolves beyond product capability = fail

Go-to-market strategy is not marketing.

What is go-to-market strategy (GTM)? It’s a transformational process for accelerating your path to market with high-performing revenue teams who are delivering a connected customer experience

If you think GTM strategy sounds similar to revenue operations, you are correct. They are two sides of the same coin!

While marketing is simply a business function, GTM is a CEO-driven framework for decision-making.

If you are tasked with GTM and you aren’t the CEO, you’ve been set up for failure (or at least sustained mediocrity). And it’s not your fault! 

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Part of GTM is constantly asking where you are going as a company - and the CEO is uniquely positioned (and tasked!) with the responsibility of plotting and making course-corrections.

Now, as to who runs operations in a modern GTM team - that’s a topic for another blog post! But we can say what the team looks like:

Customer Success + Marketing + Sales (and yes, in that order!).

10 signs your go-to-market strategy is not working:

  1. You haven’t found the ideal customer

  2. Customers are unsure of return on investment

  3. Your product positioning is embroiled in “feature wars”

  4. Churn is killing revenue

  5. Poor demand for your product is evident in new sales

  6. You can’t accurately make predictions needed to scale

  7. Teams aren’t aligned with executive strategy

  8. Sales are largely driven by “hero” sales reps

  9. Heavy discounting in the sales process

  10. You aren’t saying “no” to prospects

So what should you do?

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First, start with a laser-focus on your customers. Talk with them regularly! Only customer-obsessed companies will scale. 

Second, get your revenue operations team in place to start having the real conversations needed to make a difference.

Third, fully wrap your head around the fact that customer retention should be viewed as your most important form of revenue acquisition

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Picture of Jesse Spencer-Davenport Jesse Spencer-Davenport
Jesse is a technologist who doesn't believe the way things have always been done is the way they should be done - and worse - if it works - see how to make it better. Business, people, relationships, and curiosity all provide his reason for being.

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