8 Essential Components of a Go-to-Market Plan

09/11/2014  |  by Duncan Robinson, John McMillan
Categories:  Go to Market with Services

As we've discussed previously, companies planning to launch new cloud services will be well served to build an effective Go-to-Market (GTM) plan early on in the product launch process, to ensure you’re including the right people in the decision-making process, thinking about your customer’s end-to-end experience, and engaging in a multi-step discovery process before you lock yourself into decisions that may be difficult and expensive to change later on.

Next, you’ll want to consider these basic building blocks of a successful GTM plan:

  1. Business Summary: Presents a high-level overview of your business plan. At a minimum, the Business Summary should address the core business drivers behind your decision to sell cloud services, highlight the key performance indicators you’ll use to measure your success, and identify your primary competitors along with the differentiators you’ll focus on to compete in defined markets. More mature plans may also include detailed forecasts and specifics about market behaviors.
  2. Product Strategy:  This section of the plan identifies the key products you will launch in your cloud portfolio, along with any bundling plans, special promotions, or other attachment strategies that will help you sell the products—including upselling and cross-selling to both new and existing customers. Any specifics you can include about differentiators between your offerings and those of your competitors will help you build your sales messaging as you progress further into the launch.
  3. Channel Strategy: This is where you identify the primary channels that you’ll use—both to sell your products and to educate and support your customers—along with the resources, training, and incentives that will drive channel performance. In complex channel organizations, products and offers may differ from one channel to the next, playing on the unique advantages of specific channels, such as direct sales teams or online portals.
  4. Marketing Strategy:  This section summarizes the activities you’ll use to drive awareness and generate leads, both in your identified markets and within your existing customer base. In large organizations, the marketing strategy may also include activities for generating internal awareness. Such internally oriented activities are particularly important in situations where many groups will “touch” customers as they progress from purchase to activation to support.
  5. Customer Experience: This section documents the anticipated customer journey—either at a high level or in detail. Starting with how customers first hear about a product, it progresses through their purchase, activation, renewal, and possible cancellation. Exploring this journey helps to identify any “fall-off” points that may reduce conversion rates, or drive churn, while also helping to ensure that you’ll have the right people and systems in place to support the new products.
  6. Technical Requirements: This section documents the technical requirements needed to support the new products. These requirements, which may be affected by decisions made in the previous sections of the plan, may include branding your customer-facing portals, and integrating sales and provisioning systems with third-party resources you’ve employed. Parallels can help you identify the technical requirements needed to launch your products.
  7. Evaluation:  This is where you spell out and prioritize the factors you’ll use to measure your success—for example, reaching a certain volume of sales in specific channels, or reducing churn of an existing product by attaching a cloud service. Try to be as specific and detailed as possible in outlining your goals and evaluation tactics—it will keep your team aligned and help to optimize activities through your launch.
  8. Timeline and Execution: Finally, your plan needs to identify the timeline for execution, including next steps, the critical path for decisions, key milestones, and plans for reviewing and fine-tuning the GTM plan. This last point should not be overlooked, as good GTM plans are not static, but evolve with the project. As your plans progress, you can add details to increase the plan’s accuracy.

This list gives you a basic template for building your GTM plan, and you can add the specific details you want to track as you progress through the planning process.

What's next: we will examine the 6 Steps to a Successful Cloud GTM Plan.