How the busniess strategy is interlinked with go-to-market strategy

Go to market strategy

What is the go-to-market strategy that a business owner can look upon? In the next six minutes, let’s talk about how easy it is for us to pull the rug out from the most early-stage start-ups.

So most start-ups have no idea what a great go-to-market strategy looks like. I ask them the question of what their go-to-market strategy is?

And they do a total unintended face plant on the issue. They start saying stuff like, we’re going to do direct sales or we’re going go for the traditional distribution channel.

And we say, no no, we’re looking for your go-to-market strategy for start-ups. Even more importantly, who are the early target customers that you’re going after?

They’ll say things like, well we’re going for early adopters. That is a totally unacceptable answer. We need to hear clear targeting criteria of who is going to be buying your product early, and who’s going to get the greatest value. What are some of those criteria and characteristics that you’re looking for?

It’s things like the customer size fit what you’re doing. The pricing model fits that particular customer. More importantly, the pain points are solved in a great and efficient way by that product. Because this is all about getting revenue and traction as early as possible with great customers that fit your value proposition, your business model, and other characteristics.

So I would like to think about a go-to-market strategy a lot like fishing. And I love fishing. And you know what, I like to catch fish and I like the fish where the fish are. So think about it like this way

When you’re going out fishing. Are you going big tuna fishing that’s 100 miles offshore or are you going close into the bay? If we’re going tuna fishing, I might have to go 100 miles offshore, and the tuna are very far in between. I’m going to gas up my boat for about 18 months. Or, do you want to go to the Back Bay?

The fish are right there, you could practically throw a line in from the dock on the shore. I don’t need a lot of gas in my boat.

You know what. It’s not as fancy as tuna fishing but you know what at the end of the day you’re eating fish. You’re eating to survive and build to another day. So let me give you a health analogy.

A lot of times health tech companies want to do is go big game fishing. They only want to talk to the big prestigious academic medical centers where typically that sales cycle is going to be 12 to 18 months long.

Every start-up pounding on their door. It’s almost an overfished logo. Everybody wants that trophy in their deck.

So maybe you think about mixing that up and fishing in the Back Bay. Maybe in the Back Bay the easier fish to catch. I don’t even know if it exists, but imagine it’s a 400-bed hospital. Your value proposition aligns exceptionally well.

It’s easier to get in the door because they’re not an overfished logo. They have the same problems. They are budgeted. You could get in there and you could close the deal more quickly.

Oh by the way, when you show that logo in your deck and an investor looks at it that’s part of our strategy. We like to fish where the fish are and where other people aren’t fishing.

See, you might not recognize any of the logos on our deck but we’re driving incredible revenue because part of our strategy is to fish where the fish are biting and they’re easier to get in the boat. I know I’m going quickly.

We have a lot more coming. So the big question is, what’s your fishfinder? What’s your litmus test that’s going to work exceptionally well as part of your go-to-market strategy for start-ups and your early target customer criteria? And I think about it like a litmus test.

Remember blue turns red in acid? I know it’s a great early customer if it has these characteristics.

So let me give you an example of secure tech. For instance, you have a secure tech solution that’s targeting banks. But you’re not targeting all banks, you’re not targeting huge banks, you’re just going after regional banks. Why? Because your product’s value proposition fits exceptionally well.

The pricing is going to work. But more importantly, they’re smaller teams, fewer people, easier to close, and add value as part of the transaction. Not only is it easier to close it, but with that regional bank, you know what they have a smaller team.

You become a force multiplier because you’re automation delivers more value because they have fewer people to work on that problem. So it could be big issues like that. It might be criteria that are as simple as geography. You want to be closer to your early customers.

So when you think about your litmus test, when you think about your fish finder, you’re looking for markets, segments, and customers where you can push the sand down a hill.

We see so many start-ups that are not focused on the right type of customers. They’re totally unfocused and they wind up spending 12 to 18 months pushing sand up a hill. They’re going in the wrong direction. They get into trials and customer sales cycles that are 12 to 18 months.

And you know what? Their boat runs out of gas. They can’t close those big fish and they die trying. And it’s all because their initial early go-to-market strategy, all of that early targeting criteria, hasn’t been thought through and they fail. That’s it.

That’s how you figure out your go-to-market strategy and early targeting criteria. I want you to think like you’re going fishing. What sort of fish would you say you are following? And most importantly, why? What are the top characteristics of the customers you’re looking for? Generally, that’s going to bring shorter sales cycles, faster adoption, and stronger growth. 

You want to pull your boat up to where the fish are practically jumping in. Deciding to go to market strategy for start-ups need to be very calculative and extensive market research. So before investing fundamentally, you should clear your strategy at the early stage of your start-up.

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