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What is a Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy and who owns it?

Traditionally speaking, when an organization is building a team structured around generating revenue, they are guided by a go-to-market strategy. In simple terms, this defines how you will take your product or service to the defined target market. It covers what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and how you’ll engage them to drive sales and encourage adoption.

It's easy to assume that marketing and/or sales should create the go-to-market strategy, but this needs ownership across the organization and especially among leaders.

A revenue team is often made up of marketing, sales/business development, and customer or client success. It’s taken off in recent years within the SaaS/software industry but is now finding a home in traditional service industries. Why? It makes sense. In many industries, sales and marketing—and customer success or customer service—are siloed with divergent goals and reporting up through the organization. By organizing around the process of generating and forecasting revenue, guided by a common market strategy, there’s alignment embedded through these teams.

With a go-to-market strategy in place, marketing and sales are empowered to leverage their independent expertise to bring it life and apply lessons learned. Managed in a silo often leads to failure to truly implement the GTM strategy.

If we’re to break down the go-to-market strategy into major components, we have:

  • Business Objectives

  • Products or Services

  • Target Market (how to define your market, more details coming soon)

  • Target Buyers

  • Brand Strategy (defining and evolving your brand strategy, more details coming soon)

  • Sales & Marketing Strategy

  • Plan to Execute

Eventually, moving through the process of defining your GTM strategy, you’ll tailor the list above based on the maturity and needs of your organization. There is no one-size-fits-all but there are great resources out there for thinking about your deal size—what you’re selling, who is typically involved in the buying decision, and what information they need to make a decision—and the best prospecting strategy to reach those buyers.

In the absence of a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), the GTM strategy is owned by the CEO in collaboration with marketing and sales. It's helping to outline areas of overlap, collaboration, and shared ownership for implementation.

My greatest challenge in facilitating this process was defining the scope for each area of the GTM strategy and limiting discussion to key points needed to continue moving. In future posts here, I'll share more about outlining your GTM strategy and facilitating discussion to gain buy-in from all that you're engaging in the process.


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