If you are asking this question, you are already doing something right. Taking the time to analyze whether your Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy needs to be either refreshed or overhauled is a critical component of keeping up with both the market and your industry.
Determining whether you need a new B2B GTM strategy this year will depend largely on how old your existing plan is. If your GTM strategy was developed before COVID and has not been updated since, it definitely needs attention. If it was written or updated over the last two years, it likely still needs work but may not have to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Over the past two years we have experienced over a decade of change in how companies go to market due to the digitization and technology changes we have been through since the start of the pandemic. As a result, pre-pandemic GTM strategies are woefully outdated. Even strategies developed early on in the pandemic throughout 2020 can be misaligned with current B2B opportunities, challenges, and trends because of the rapid evolution in both buyer behavior and seller capabilities.
There are other red flags that indicate your GTM strategy needs to be overhauled, approaches to include in a new strategy, and pitfalls to avoid on the path to developing a new GTM strategy.
Warning Signs that your GTM Strategy is Outdated
- Reliance on legacy client personas
- Poor utilization of technology
- A website that does not engage your audience
- Inadequate data tracking and usage
- Lack of engagement analysis
If you have not updated your client personas recently, they should be examined as the people you are selling to may have changed. The pandemic caused organizations to pivot their products and services to meet new demand and bypass sudden obstacles, and as a result, their audiences have likely shifted.
Embrace new technology platforms and data resources to learn more about your customers and then integrate that data into your GTM strategy. Your buyers’ needs have likely changed, as have their buying processes. Understand who you are selling to, how they interact with your company, and what they are looking for in the buying journey.
These days your salespeople should be one channel for selling your offerings, not the channel. B2B buyers are much more reliant on technology these days than interactions with sales reps – preferring self-service purchasing, on-demand resources, and nontraditional online support channels like WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, and text messaging. When they do interact with salespeople, they are more likely to video chat or live chat rather than schedule a phone call or in-person meeting. Your GTM strategy must keep up with new sales approaches and buyer expectations.
Digitization has changed everything since March of 2020, creating a heyday for:
- All-in-one sales and marketing platforms
- Software integrations
One of the biggest changes has been meeting online instead of in-person. Video calls have become not only acceptable but also common as sales strategies have changed over the last two years. Researching and buying were forced to move entirely online, pulling sales and marketing along. The exponential rise in video has come out of this shift. Before the pandemic video content was already popular, but with the kind of video quality that iPhones can generate these days, even small companies are now producing high-quality videos for use in sales, marketing, and customer service applications. If your GTM strategy does not include rich-media content like video, it should be reworked to capitalize on this trend.
Video, visual, and written content are all benefitting from the development of new platforms that analyze how this content is resonating with customers and driving sales. All-in-one sales and marketing platforms have really come into their own since the pandemic, offering robust data collection and analysis aimed at better decision-making to drive business growth.
And while these individual platforms have improved significantly, the way they interact has gotten much better as well. Platform integrations are more readily available and dependable than ever before, giving growing companies the scalability they need. When assessing the platforms you are using to support your GTM strategy, ensure that their functionality and interconnectivity allow the kind of data gathering and sharing that facilitates smart revenue growth.
Understanding B2B Omnichannel Engagement
Omnichannel has been a popular topic on the B2C side for years, especially in retail environments, but the pandemic has made it a hot topic in B2B GTM strategies as well. In an analysis of the B2B buying journey, Gartner explains omnichannel engagement in this way:
“Leading commercial organizations will aim to employ dynamic customer engagement models, fueled by data sources from all customer interactions, be it customer service, technical support, customer success, product interactions, sales and marketing to inform an enriched view of the customer organization. Powered with Al, these once disparate data points will inform nuanced recommendations and powerful next best actions, helping customers take better advantage of existing products or expand into new products to recognize even greater value. Highly tailored messages, contextualized account-based marketing content and timely seller recommendations will reach levels of remarkable consistency, helping penetrate large, diverse customer organizations in ways previously considered unthinkable. In this regard, digital selling reaches new heights of highly coordinated omnichannel engagement with customer accounts, leaving the legacy single-channel sales rep model as distant history.”
To accompany this approach, all-in-one platforms have expanded their AI functionality to capture and analyze robust information from every touch point along a buyer’s journey. With this explanation of the recent shift to an omnichannel engagement strategy, it is clear to see how omnichannel is going to move B2B revenue generation forward in the coming years.
The Need for Data Analysis
With the rise of omnichannel engagement in B2B it has become more important than ever to efficiently gather data from numerous sources, analyze it, and turn it into actionable insights. Analytics software can provide the foundational market research, forecasting, and ROI analysis data needed to launch a GTM strategy with confidence. As a result, data visualization tools have become ubiquitous and large companies are investing so much of their budgets into implementing them.
Many small to mid-sized companies cannot afford the big price tags that accompany sophisticated data visualization tools like Tableau and Alteryx. Instead, they need to bolt together different tools into a hodgepodge solution that meets their needs at a fraction of the price. But regardless of what the solution stack looks like, improving data analysis capabilities takes significant investments of time, money, and people, but it will pay off by providing the data analysis necessary to build a solid GTM strategy.
Where Do GTM Strategies Fail?
The most common place for a GTM strategy to fall short or fail entirely is in understanding the buyer’s journey. Historically this has also been the case, and it remains a common barrier to success today.
But with the digitization options that we have these days, organizations now have the tools to fully understand the buyer’s journey even when they are not interacting directly with a salesperson. The amount of data that can be collected related to website usage and analyzed is light years ahead of where it was even 10 years ago, giving companies far more robust data for developing their GTM strategies than ever before.
However, for this to work, a company must have a website that encourages interaction instead of just serving as an “online flyer.” The problem is that this is a very different strategy for many B2B organizations (especially traditional manufacturers and professional service providers) because while other areas of their businesses have evolved, many still treat their websites like a trade show brochure, operating with an “if you build it, they will come” kind of mindset. Without changing the purpose of their website to promote engagement, a B2B organization cannot accumulate the actionable data needed to set their GTM strategy up for success.
Designing the “Perfect” GTM Strategy
Today’s GTM strategies are going to look vastly different than the GTM strategies of 2019 and earlier. Their mechanics will vary, their timing can be different, and their expectations for success will likely be reframed given current market conditions and ongoing supply chain considerations.
These variations underscore the importance of a close working relationship between the people responsible for making sales and those responsible for financing the efforts to get them. Therefore, the ideal GMT strategy is built out of collaboration between the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to ensure that each product/service’s GMT strategy fits within the company’s overall revenue and profitability strategies. This kind of partnership ensures that each product/service is launching into a vertical or market where it can be profitable to align it with broader revenue goals.
But even with those foundational pieces in place, there is no “perfect” GTM strategy.
The market itself is not static, so a successful GTM plan cannot be either. A GTM plan must continue to evolve as market conditions change, and will need to be analyzed, evaluated, and refined on an ongoing basis to keep it relevant. What worked yesterday simply may not work today, which is where a CRO role can help companies adapt and respond.
Find out more about developing a sound GTM strategy as part of your overall revenue plan in this resource: Your B2B Revenue Development Action Plan. When you are ready to bring in a Chief Revenue Officer to align your sales and marketing strategies with your revenue goals, please reach out to me.