Clicky

GTM strategy for SaaS Products: How to Create a Robust Go To Market Strategy?

Published on July 18th, 2022

14 min read

Share

Whether you’re planning to launch your first-ever startup or your 5th one, a go-to-market strategy is a must. It can help you lay down the path to reach your potential buyers at the right moment, capture their attention and turn them into loyal users.

In this blog, you’ll learn everything about go-to-market strategies. We will cover what a GTM strategy is, why you need it, different go-to-market strategies, and how to create one for your SaaS business using real examples. 

Let’s get started!

What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?

A go-to-market strategy outlines how you present your product in the market. It’s a comprehensive guide highlighting the potential customer, target market, the best marketing efforts and sales strategy you need to implement to reach them, positioning tactics, pricing strategy, and much more.

Go-to-market plans help SaaS marketers ensure that your product launch is smooth and your SaaS product gets in front of the right customers at the right time and stands out from the competition that has overtaken the market.

Why do you need a GTM strategy?

“Don’t launch a product without a go-to-market strategy.” Yes!

A study by Harvard Business School showed that every year 95% of new products fail [source], which is alarming.

A long-range view of the product roadmap and a robust GTM strategy is necessary to keep your SaaS in the safe zone. Unless you’re a daredevil, you won’t risk pushing your SaaS into the market without a go-to-market strategy, as it can lead to low conversion rates and high churn while you get a glimpse of your ideal customer’s mindset.

A GTM strategy will help you:

  • Avoid mistakes and risks: A GTM strategy helps you steer your SaaS in the right direction to avoid any foreseeable errors and increase the possibility of a successful launch.
  • Present the best version: Despite having an innovative and well-designed product, you need to ensure that your product finds its way to the right audience. GTM helps you dodge oversaturated markets and present your product in front of your ideal customers in a more presentable way.
  • Reasonable expectations: GTM strategy helps you see the best and worst possibilities of your product launch and allows you to set reasonable expectations as even the best SaaS solutions can fail in a highly competitive market.
  • Connect your SaaS with the right audience: GTM helps you understand whether your SaaS solution is the right fit for your target audience or does it need more features to be considered as an ultimate solution for their pain points.
  • Minimize launch costs: Some SaaS products usually launch with aggressive marketing budgets and offer heavy discounts with the thought that they can acquire more customers. However, this strategy can put your SaaS in a risky position. An effective GTM strategy can help you minimize the cost of launching a new product.
  • A good GTM strategy considers your potential customers, pain points, primary and tertiary competitors, and their strategy model. It helps you understand how to position your product and what marketing strategies you need to implement to stand out and make a mark in the industry.
  • It can also help you determine customer acquisition costs and choose the most optimal strategy for your SaaS product.

When launching a new product or new features for your existing product, you need a robust plan to help you grab the attention of your ideal customers and penetrate the market. This is where GTM can help create a detailed plan for launching your SaaS correctly.

GTM Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy – What’s the Difference?

A GTM is a hyper-focused one-time strategy that helps you pierce through the market at launch time. A go-to-market strategy enables you to chalk out a strategy for the launch phase of your product but also allows you to achieve a product-market fit by laying the groundwork for upcoming product updates.

On the other hand, a marketing strategy helps you plan the next steps once the product is launched. It involves continuous efforts to acquire customers and maintain your position in the market. Additionally, marketing strategy focuses on distribution channels, actions, and target audiences.

SaaS GTM Strategy Examples

Here’s a glimpse of some real GTM strategy examples.

Loom – Video Recorder

Loom, a screen recorder created in 2016, has become an essential tool for hybrid workspaces. The popularity and adoption of Loom gained momentum, especially in the covid-WFH era. Users could quickly share their recorded videos with teammates. The ease with which it allows users to create short videos, share them, and get opinions of other team members on a particular topic served as a way of getting the product around quickly and encouraged them to sign up for a free trial.

Image source: Loom

Slack – The Team-chatting Machine

Several members tested a messaging app designed specifically for the workplace before it was officially launched for use by the customers. The main motive behind it was to try whether the product, ready for launch, was market-fit or not. Within a day of its launch, it garnered 8,000 sign-ups which increased to 1.1 million in the next 4 months.

What worked great for this tool was the word-of-mouth strategy that allowed gathering crucial product insights before launching. This also helped reduce customer acquisition costs. This product-led SaaS company leveraged their customers’ experience of their product to draw meaningful conclusions and get insights that eventually helped them enter the unicorn club.

SyndicationPro

SyndicationPro, a thriving startup founded in 2016, is an all-in-one investment management tool for ease of management in commercial real estate.

syndicationpro-website

During the initial development phase, the product went through rounds of enhancements based on the feedback received from the actual target audience – the investors. For the product launch, word-of-mouth worked wonders for the product to gain new subscribers and then gradually grow their LTV.

Different go-to-market strategies

Before deploying your product in the market, you need solid groundwork to decide on how you want your ideal customer base to approach your product and how you can acquire more and more customers. Here are some go-to-market strategies that can help you get started:

  • Product-led GTM strategy:

As is evident by the name, your product is at the center of all your marketing and sales efforts; your product drives acquisition, activation, and retention. The pricing model SaaS companies usually leverage is an either freemium or free trial to give the users a glimpse of your product and how it will solve their pain points. This makes it easier for them to decide whether or not they want to become paying customers. 

A great tip is to enhance your onboarding sequence to get people to the AHA Moment & make upgrading easier. Example: Ahrefs, Slack, and Dropbox.

  • Community-led GTM strategy:

The community is the main driver for your SaaS product’s acquisition, retention, and expansion. Although you will need time to build a strong connection and engage actively with your community, CLG helps get early and, more often than not, constructive feedback for your SaaS before pushing it out into the market. A pro tip is ensuring that the community is well-aware of their mission and where they fit in with the process.

  • Marketing-led GTM strategy:

In this strategy, businesses use content to engage and nurture customers along the marketing funnel. A vital advantage of this strategy is that it reduces the customer acquisition cost and helps you make people aware of your product right at the start. However, MLG does take time to show results, and if you are looking for immediate results, this is not an ideal choice. However, you can use this strategy as a supporting pillar for any other strategy. A pro tip is to start sharing about your product even before your product is finished.

  • Sales-led GTM strategy:

This strategy all depends on your sales team’s ability to convert users brought in by the marketing efforts. A sales-led strategy’s success will rely on your marketing team’s lead generation efforts and how good your sales representatives are in convincing prospects to convert. You will, however, need to ensure that your marketing and sales teams work in sync. Example: Salesforce, HP, Microsoft, etc., where users need some guidance beforehand. 

How to build a go-to-market strategy?

You need to follow a structured path to ensure that your product lands in front of the right people and gets traction right off the bat. Here are the steps that you should take into consideration when creating an effective GTM strategy:

1. Write down the basics

Prepare a list documenting your goals, tactics, strategies, competitors, vision, mission, and value statements—factor in the budget, operating, and action plans. You need to create an outline of your company and your SaaS product. Also, document your team’s tools to achieve the preset objectives and a risk management plan if things go south.

2. Identify the right audience

Understand your user persona, the audience willing to invest time and money in your product, and the audience you designed your product for in the first place. They will determine every other part of your SaaS GTM strategy. Who is going to benefit the most from your product? Who are you planning to target when you launch your SaaS? And how do you plan on reaching them?

Once you have this information in place, you can work on creating a solid marketing plan and campaigns around them.

3. Study your competition and create a value proposition

To effectively launch your product, you need to understand its entirety — its key features, USPs (unique selling points), and value. A value proposition canvas or value matrix (you can choose either) can help you highlight user problems and their pain points and position your product as the best solution. Additionally, to aid with your value map, you need to analyze your direct competitors dominating the market in-depth.

customer-profile-social-inn

Source: Social Innovation Academy

You can also curate marketing messages for your landing page and social media channels. It will help you identify the right features and functionalities to market that your customers want, which will boost the conversion rate.

4. Decide on your sales and pricing strategy.

SaaS companies can choose from different pricing strategies and even create a hybrid version by combining two or more suitable models. However, keep in mind that pricing is vital for market penetration. Although you can run competitive analysis and see what works in the market, it all boils down to how much you understand your audience and the market.

You can choose from a wide variety of models, including a feature-based, per-user, per-storage, tiered, free trial, freemium and more. Review each model and check if it suits your Saas and fits in your strategy

6. A marketing distribution strategy

A solid marketing strategy should explain how you plan on reaching your target audience, what channels you plan to use to reach out to them, and how you can create brand awareness and get the attention of potential buyers?

Many SaaS businesses use content marketing and SEO (like Hubspot) to create authority in their field by helping their target audience. Here are some other commonly used marketing channels:

marketing-channels-used-to-generate-demand

Source: New breed revenue

7. Decide on the customer funnel

The SaaS marketing funnel plays a pivotal role in lead generation and increasing the conversion rate. A typical marketing funnel comprises three sections:

3-stage-content-marketing-funnel-1024x484

Source: Singlegrain

For each stage of the funnel, you must ensure that the marketing campaigns are specific and targeted. You need to address the entire customer journey and try to enhance it to lead to better conversion rates. For instance, for Top of the Funnel (ToFu), you can create and share how-to guides, blogs, infographics, and tutorial videos, whereas, for Middle of Funnel (MoFu), case studies, webinars, and guides work better. For Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu), you can try testimonials, courses, and free trials. With each stage, your intent should be to make your users’ journey hassle-free.

8. Choose the right metrics to track

Now that all the heavy lifting is done and you have implemented a go-to-market strategy for your product, you need to evaluate your strategy and optimize it to improve its performance. Although there are several metrics you can track, we have narrowed it down to 4 key metrics:

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Lead conversion rates
  • Customer lifetime value (LTV)
  • Channel-wise spending and revenue

As discussed, if your LTV is > CAC, you’re on the right track. If you have a new product, an LTV: CAC ratio of anything >= 2:1 is acceptable. If it’s below 2:1, it calls for optimization of your GTM strategy. 

As for lead conversion rates, you should be fine if you’re anywhere between 2% and 5%.

On the other hand, keeping tabs on channel-wise spending and revenue will help you identify which channels are performing the best and which ones you can discard or alter your strategy.

Final thoughts

There is no set path for a successful go-to-market strategy; you need to contextualize and tailor it according to your SaaS product and objectives. A GTM strategy is a critical step in SaaS development and launch. Regardless of your product’s quality, an excellent go-to-market strategy can help you launch the right way at the right time.

The aforementioned steps will help you kickstart the process. Along with this, you will need the right team to implement the strategy. At Firstprinciples, we have helped several SaaS businesses with their strategies. We can help you develop GTM specific to your requirements. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll be glad to work with you!

Author Bio

Heebatullah

Technical Content Strategist and Inbound Analyst at FirstPrinciples, Heba is a motivated self-starter with a knack for analyzing and solving tough business problems. When not working, you can find her either reading a book, painting landscapes or sketching places she yearns to visit one day.

@Heebatullah

Schedule a Personalized Strategy Session to Get More MQLs!

Ebooks

As the top choice for SaaS SEO, we believe in delivering quality results with the best suitable SEO Packages. It is proven that the top 3 results in Google get 92% of the traffic so we have a team of passionate digital marketers who are experts in search engine optimization.

The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research and Content Strategy 2022

EBOOK

The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research and Content Strategy 2022

The Advanced Guide to Analytics and Ranking 2022

EBOOK

The Advanced Guide to Analytics and Ranking 2022

The Advanced Guide Link Building For SaaS 2022

EBOOK

The Advanced Guide Link Building For SaaS 2022

The Ultimate Guide to SaaS SEO Audit 2022

EBOOK

The Ultimate Guide to SaaS SEO Audit 2022

Become a Part of the
FirstPrinciples Family!

At FirstPrinciples, we empower our people to express ideas that drive success. Our open and collaborative work culture motivates our people towards building their dream career.

I’m Happy to join!