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 They don’t fail because their vision is obsolete or their people aren’t the best, they fail because they haven’t evolved their go-to-market strategy.
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!
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:
You haven’t found the ideal customer
Customers are unsure of return on investment
Your product positioning is embroiled in “feature wars”
Churn is killing revenue
Poor demand for your product is evident in new sales
You can’t accurately make predictions needed to scale
Teams aren’t aligned with executive strategy
Sales are largely driven by “hero” sales reps
Heavy discounting in the sales process
You aren’t saying “no” to prospects
So what should you do?
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.