Ask anybody – from the just out of b-school wannabe marketing strategist to “seasoned” pros on the job. Everybody can tell you about the know-how on Go-To-Market Strategy. Very few however know what it takes to execute them.
Let me talk about what I am slightly familiar with. Technology Product and service companies. Many of them just don’t get it. Here are a few of those:
Offerings searching for solutions
It’s amazing how many times huge amount of time is spent on crafting new products or services. In the midst of a hundred power-points and a million lines of code, what gets lost is the answer to the big question “What customer pains is this product/service really solving?”. By gaining a deeper understanding of the customers’ real pain points, especially at a business issue level, marketers should identify which products could and should be better integrated with other services and products, and recast as the solutions sets that customers would like to look at. This is where thought leadership-meets domain-meets technology.
Changing the paradigm from “product-service” perspective to “solutions-for-customer” perspective is a difficult act but an absolute imperative
It takes your “A” Teams to take your solutions to market
Since solutions ultimately cut across a maze of marketing, sales, product management, services and support it is all too easy to drop the ball. Create a Solutions Teams that bring together the key ingredients of product marketing, sales, regional sales and implementation teams, as well as all the functional teams within corporate marketing. By having cross-organizational collaboration as part of their objectives, they will ensure that all the key internal stakeholders use the same solutions taxonomy (i.e. they are on the same page) and are aligned in launching the new solutions and themes. Not only were they expected to be skilled at solutions marketing, but they were also expected to be able to work fluidly and seamlessly across the organizational boundaries.
The last word is that these people ought to be cherry picked and the best you have. They have to be you’re A Teams.
How to create and execute your Go-To-Market strategy:
Your Go To Market Plan should have several elements. The key among them are:
Your own thought leadership on the key solutions issues – best vetted by your customer. Go meet a few customers or prospects. You just might be surprised by the quantity and value of inputs that you get.
Develop solution theme-based messages – Ensure these are consistent across your channels and collaterals. Hit the high notes and stay away from tech jargons. Your customers want to hear solution stories and not get clouded by your fancy, new cloud computing offering.
Enable all your channels including direct sales — to move to a solutions selling approach. Take the story out to consultants, ISV partners, System Integrators, Business Partners. Train your inside sales, your receptionist and everybody else. I recently met a CFO of a British company who lived and breathed the solutions of his company to the extent I asked him if he also had Sales targets? Yes, everybody in the company has to sell.
In essence, by thinking about broader-based solutions sets, the organization becomes more energized, more unified and focused on the same go-to-market priorities.
The key To-Dos
Ensure that your go-to-market initiative is based upon tight, cross-company integration that extends far beyond marketing
Create a go-to-market plan that is more reflective of the customers’ issues and challenges. It is imperative that market facts drive your go-to-market priorities.
Embed and demand a willingness to change quickly into the solution selling mindset. Train everybody. Publish easy to refer playbooks that can be understood and used at every level in the organization.
What if you don’t do these?
I have a simple answer to that question. You will NOT be going to market. You’ll be coming from it … empty handed.
This is the first of a series I am writing on Go-To-Market Strategies and I am eager to learn from your experiences.