What is a GTM Strategy?
A Simple Definition
GTM (go-to-market) strategy can be challenging to define; it’s one of those things people with MBAs think a lot about. This seems like a good time to employ one of RevPartners’ core values, that of “clarity creator”. One method of simplification is to break the definition up into two parts: motion and tactics.
Very simply, a GTM strategy is a plan that details how an organization can engage with customers to convince them to buy their product or service and to gain a competitive advantage. This is the “motion” aspect of the definition as it involves how your sales, marketing, and CS teams are interacting.
The second part, “tactics,” revolves around pricing, sales and channels, the buying journey, new product or service launches, product rebranding, product introduction to a new market, TAM, ideal customer profile, competitive analysis, and messaging. Your motions are critically important as they will tell you if your tactics are working.
Let’s focus on GTM motions.
Sales GTM Motions
There are many different methods an organization uses to deliver a product or a service to its customers. These are commonly referred to as sales motions. Sales motions can vary from one another in a myriad of ways including having different structures, different proposal types, different CPQ needs, and different RevOps needs. Here are five sales GTM motions:
Product Led Growth Strategy
- Customer acts as marketing and sales
- Many times, your marketing and sales teams are your products
- Relies on word of mouth
Inside Sales (1-Stage)
- Full cycle Account Executive (AE)
- Low touch, not many stages, not many meetings
SDR/AE Sales (2-Stage)
- Aligned with an outbound motion (SDR)
- Sales Development Rep (SDR) does meetings, discovery calls
- AE does demo and closes deal from beginning to end
- Typically done this way because SDRs specialize in turning prospects into potential clients and AEs specialize in persuading potential clients and finalizing the sale
- Vertical alignment
- Specific amount of accounts you’re assigned to (typically 10-100)
- These are not customers, you have not worked with them before
- Higher contract values
- Custom proposals to close deals
- Large entities (e.g. Amazon)
- Knowing people and identifying upcoming projects
- Multi-million dollar deals
- 9-18 month sales cycles (nope, not a typo!)
GTM Motions, Structure, and Alignment
Being able to identify the various GTM motions is important. The ability to describe and differentiate among those motions is critical. Knowing how to correctly align those motions will literally make or break your company. It’s a good idea to read that last sentence again.
A graph of the GTM model compares two things: the number of deals closed per year and the annual contract value (ACV) of those deals. The GTMs of sales, marketing, and CS can all be placed on this graph to show what optimal alignment of these three departments would look like.
The GTM Sales model resembles a descending staircase from left to right. As you “walk” down the stairs, the number of deals closed per year gradually becomes lower while the ACV steadily rises.
Product-Led Growth (PLG)
The top of the staircase is PLG. In this motion, there are hundreds of thousands of individual sales (closed deals) per year paired with a very low ACV (e.g. $30/month). A business operating with PLG must think about and support this motion in a very specific way in order to attract the large customer base that is necessary to turn a profit.
Named Accounts sit at the bottom of the figurative staircase. This motion represents the polar opposite of PLG as you may only have, for example, a maximum of five accounts with no more than ten total deals closed per year, but the ACV of each is $250,000 (or larger).
1-Stage (Inside Sales); 2-Stage (SDR/AE Sales); Field Sales
Each of these motions sits within the outer extremes of PLG (many deals per year; very low ACV) and Named Accounts (very few deals per year; very high ACV). After PLG (in descending order) are:
- Field Sales
1-Stage has quite a high number of deals per year (often tens of thousands), with an ACV in the range of roughly $10,000. In the middle of the staircase sits 2-Stage, with deals per year in the thousands and an ACV of around $50,000.
Descending further (just above Named Accounts) is Field Sales, with a lower number of closed deals per year, roughly in the hundreds, coupled with an ACV that is quite high, at about $100,000 or so.
Time to play matchmaker…this next part matters a whole heck of a lot!
To understand how marketing truly aligns with sales, the Sales GTM motions can be kept on the graph and the marketing GTM motions can be placed on top of them, aligning them appropriately. Traditionally, there were only two GTM marketing motions, Inbound (SEO, paid events) and Outbound (direct mail, mass marketing emails). Today, however, Outbound is further delineated into Prospect, Account-Based Marketing (ABM), and Target.
If your Sales GTM motion and your Marketing GTM motion are not properly aligned, you risk missing opportunities to close deals and create the potential for infighting among teams.
The Inbound motion, which is all about creating content, creating thought leadership, campaign attribution, and doing events, is coupled with (sits on top of) the top three sales motions on the staircase: PLG, 1-Stage, and 2-Stage. This is where HubSpot lives (and reigns) and also where the majority of marketers today spend most of their time and energy.
Proper GTM alignment here is crucial.
Matt Bolian, RevPartners CRO, explains: “If you’re doing field sales go to market and you’re doing inbound, how helpful is that? That’s not that helpful. You actually need a different marketing approach.
The question becomes, ‘do my sales and marketing teams have a synchronized GTM motion that supports each other’?”
This strategy includes Marketing Development Reps (MDRs) doing the outbound instead of the SDRs, and can be a source of confusion as it sits on top of the 2-Stage sales motion along with the Inbound motion. The differentiator is that where Inbound focuses on Demand Gen, Prospecting is more in the Lead Gen realm. This particular motion is central to getting the lead list, enriching data, and doing email verification.
This marketing motion is aligned with the Field Sales sales motion. As these accounts are quite large, (third party) intent data plays a huge role. Tools such as Terminus can be used to collect information from outside sources in an effort to provide a broader view of the buyer’s intent.
Sitting on top of the Named Accounts sales motion, the Target marketing motion is one which focuses on a person-by-person and project-by-project basis. For this to be effective, an above-the-rim level of personalization is required (e.g. sending a rattle to a client who just had a baby).
Time to put it all together. Customer Success is centered on the concept that the manner in which you help customers is going to change based on how those customers are buying. To accomplish this, CS teams must be properly aligned with sales and marketing motions. There are five CS motions: Community, Helpdesk, Volume, Segment, and Accounts.
This CS motion aligns with the sales and marketing motions at the top of the staircase, PLG (sales) and Inbound (marketing). This motion involves self-serve forums where general information and answers to questions, posted by other community members, can be found.
The Helpdesk CS motion sits with the 1-Stage sales motion and the Inbound marketing motion. This involves the sending of a help ticket that’s automated to a CS team. A good example of this is HubSpot’s support section.
Continuing with the alignment of CS teams to sales and marketing motions, Volume is aligned with 2-Stage and Prospect; Segment is aligned with Field Sales and ABM; and Accounts is grouped with Named Accounts and Target.
In these situations, the number of accounts begin to get smaller as you move down the staircase, and thus the CS teams get to know the accounts more intimately to the point where they’re building or doing implementation for them.
If You Want All to be Fine, You Must Align
No MBA? No problem! Aligning your company’s GTM motions doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to be correct. The value of a completed GTM model graph, with all sales, marketing, and CS motions aligned, is that it can help your business identify where they might be misaligned.
It can also assist with thinking about organization structure and how your CRM is configured to be able to make sure you’re tracking the right things and performing the right actions.
Not sure where to begin? That’s where RevPartners comes in. We offer RevOps as a service and put the “go!” in go-to-market. We only win when you win, and we ain’t in the mood to lose!