In this guide, I’m going to share with you a step-by-step framework we use to develop a GTM (go-to-market) strategy for B2B companies that helps you to sell the way your best customers are buying, including market segmentation, ICP, buying journey, marketing planning, and reporting.
This is the exact framework we used to help:
- Idronect, the drone business management platform, to sell to the new, most profitable segment, 5X ACV, grow win rates, and get an investment
- Opsfleet to change the positioning, and complete makeover of the sales materials and processes that generated 50% growth in their MRR in six months.
- PGS software to develop an effective B2B marketing function
Let’s dive in.
What is a GTM strategy?
Let’s start with the definition.
Too many B2B companies think that marketing strategy is a 40-page document about mission, values, and other corporate fluff nobody cares about. I’m a big fan of simplifying things, so the way I define it is:
GTM strategy is a clear path from point A (where you are now) to point B (revenue targets and other objectives) with necessary resources (people, tech stack).
To develop an effective B2B marketing strategy you need to answer these 6 questions:
- Who are you going to market?
- How are you going to stand out and differentiate your product while resonating with target buyers?
- Where these buyers are searching for professional information, and how do they buy?
- How are you going to attract their attention and make them interested in your product?
- What skillset and budget do you need?
- How will you measure the efficacy of your strategy?
While it sounds obvious, most B2B companies I know can’t clearly answer these questions. Here is how the majority of them market and sell.
How most B2B companies market and sell, and the ugly truth behind it.
When I ask to describe a marketing strategy, quite often B2B marketers start immediately talking about the tactics.
Here are the most popular ones:
1. Promote gated content and webinars that are wrapped as “value educational” events, and transfer the contacts of everybody who downloads PDF or signs up for the webinar to sales.
The ugly truth: A download or a webinar registration is NOT a buying intent. B2B buyers don’t download an e-book and get “nurtured” into an opportunity with a 5-email sequence. They ask their network and buy from people they know, like, and trust.
2. Drive cold traffic via ads or emails to the landing page promoting a demo or a trial.
The ugly truth: If you’re running ads on social or sending emails, you are effectively wasting 97% of your budget. These are not intent channels, and only a small percent of your market is actively buying.
Even if you consider that 3% of companies who are in the buying mode are enough to target, you’re already late. There are companies that have a better brand, market presence, and recognition.
You don’t have trust and credibility and will be dealing with extremely high cost per click and cost of acquisition. The win rates will also be low since you’ll always be compared to other vendors.
3. Publish occasional updates on the company’s social pages about the investment raised, won awards, or events the team has attended.
The ugly truth: Nobody cares about tradeshows or conferences you’ve attended, funding (aside from SDRs who’ll use it as a trigger to attack you), pictures from your corporate events or awards you won.
It provides 0 value to your buyers and doesn’t generate demand to purchase your product. The only engagement you can get is from other team members who’ll like the post.
But you have Teams or Slack for it 😉
Here is the truth.
People don’t open LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook because they want to find a new product.
They open it to see updates from communities, peers, and thought leaders. They come for content and entertainment. But here is a caveat I’ll cover in the next section.
4. Publish content in their blog focused on keywords with high traffic volume and written by low-quality writers.
The ugly truth:
Most B2B companies hire cheap SEO content writers that find keywords with high traffic, analyze the 10 most popular articles, and just rewrite the summary of these articles adding your product features.
This approach is doomed.
Even if you’ll be able to rank, the chances that this content will generate inbound opportunities are closer to 0.
Low-quality articles covering the basics (e.g. How to develop a healthcare mobile app) are rather moving people away than generating demand for your product.
Your buyers don’t need MORE content. They need better, high-quality content that answers specific questions they have as they move through the buying process.
Look at Sales Hacker’s case study on how they grew revenue and traffic by focusing on high-quality content.
Think about this.
What if marketing stepped out from the keyword research for their content strategy and set down with sales asking about questions, concerns, needs, and challenges across the buying journey?
What if sales invited customers to contribute to the content?
Then content starts resonating with a target addressable market.
Sales proactively distribute it to the target accounts because they have a good reason for a non-sales touch.
Customers happily share the content inside their organization and with their network.
Sales get lots of pieces of content to share on social media.
This simple shift leads to inbound opportunities and opens doors to engage target accounts way better than expensive ip-based ads, gated ebooks, or virtual events your audience doesn’t care about.
If you want to launch effective virtual events, check out our ABM tactics guide where we share a campaign that generated 5 clients and 34 sales opportunities from a virtual summit. Read it here.
5. Automated email & LinkedIn outreach.
The ugly truth: Ask yourself when you last time replied to a spammy email or message from an unknown SDR? Your buyers are not different.
6. Purchase modern marketing software without establishing processes for leveraging it.
The ugly truth: No software will ever replace GTM strategy, marketing function, and marketing operations. Software only helps to automate, accelerate or refine the processes, but you need to create them first.
A fool with a tool is still a fool.
What do these outdated tactics have in common?
They ignore the reality of the modern buying process. They are based on how B2B companies want to sell, not on how their customers buy.
Here are the “outcomes” these companies get:
- Miserable “lead” to opportunity conversion and endless debates about the quality of the leads
- Growth is not stable and depends on referrals and sales function
- High CAC (cost of acquisition)
- Very long sales cycle
Here is the truth.
All marketing tactics will suck until you nail down the fundamentals – your GTM strategy.
In the next section, I’m going to reveal our 10-step framework to nail down each of the elements and develop a full-funnel B2B marketing strategy.
How to develop a Full-Funnel GTM Strategy: 9-steps framework