The Go-to-Market process is no mean feat. With so many plates spinning, pulling off a successful product launch requires agility, dedication and a lot of focus. A critical area of confusion regarding GTM is who’s ultimately responsible for the strategy?
Members of the C-suite might not be involved in the day-to-day of the process, but you have a far more significant influence on GTM success than you might realize. Ultimately, if C-suite aren’t guiding the Go-to-Market ship, it’s likely to sink and take the captain down with it.
There are a few ways C-suite can impact Go-to-Market success by getting involved, so let's break it down.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on:
Budget and the proper allocation of resources are of course essential to Go-to-Market success. It's important for members of the C-suite to understand exactly what their teams are doing and the resources they need, so support can be funneled to the right places.
It’s a common misconception that product launches are incidental and require little investment. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Derek Osgood, Founder and CEO at Ignition, expressed the crux of this issue in Product Marketing Alliance’s recent State of Go-to-Market report:
Despite product launches bringing in a huge 25% of annual revenue, marketing budgets are only creeping up and - according to HubSpot - still hover at around 10% of overall company budget at best.
In 2022, only 27% of our product marketers and PMMs felt their company spent the right amount on GTM.
This mismanagement of budget comes from the top of organizations and impedes the ability of GTM teams to effectively do their jobs.
One possible hurdle here is that, while 80% of CEOs have stated they view marketing as the biggest drivers of growth, a significant chunk of CFOs (Chief of Finance) have confessed that in a period of downturn they would not protect the marketing budget.
Within the C-suite itself, there’s a disconnect when it comes to the importance of Go-to-Market, with many still monetarily undervaluing the process. CMOs and CEOs will be crucial going forward in driving understanding of why Go-to-Market strategy should be invested in to guarantee market success.
Companies that want to achieve consistently high levels of growth are dependent on a CMO who can demonstrate the value of Go-to-Market and bring more skeptical members of C-suite into the fold.
To do this, there are some key metrics you should be pointing at to show just how essential GTM is. First off, look at your win rate % increase. If you compare the win-rates from opportunities brought about by a successful launch with the company average, you’ll see that launch win-rates are typically higher.
Another key number is your adoption rate. In February, Deloitte found that, typically, a company’s acquisition budget will be 14.7% higher than its retention budget. However, as any customer success expert will tell you, retention is where investment is needed.
An effective Go-to-Market strategy is critical when it comes to mitigating customer churn. Keep on eye on metrics like daily, weekly and monthly usage of a product, again comparing between products with a GTM strategy vs company average.
We guarantee you’ll find that products with a Go-to-Market strategy (and that includes a post launch continuum) will have significantly higher adoption rates.
Now imagine what your launch could do if it had the investment it needed.
Company wide cross-functional alignment
We’ve said this before and we’ll definitely say it again (probably in this article), GTM must be cross-functional. Your stakeholders need to have a shared understanding and goal for a product launch, or you’ll end up missing the mark in a crucial area.
Aspects of GTM like positioning, messaging or product-market fit have to be understood and coordinated from the beginning of the process, as well as inline with the narrative and identity of your brand.
Without formalized organizational alignment, which can only come from the C-suite, you risk one or more of these being left out of the Go-to-Market process until the last minute, at which point they will not be consistent with the rest of the launch.
Implementing organizational alignment as standard will ensure cross-functional working and prevent siloing, as well as mitigating the wasted resources that come with it. Building your organization in a way that supports this style of working is one of the most significant things you can do to support GTM.
Beyond this, if you want your teams to produce products and marketing strategies that reflect your brand’s identity and narrative, then that identity needs to be hardwired into your company structure.
Ask yourself, who’s your ideal buyer persona? What will your territory coverage look like? Do you have a value proposition? Once you have answers to these questions, translate that information into tools which will empower your Go-to-Market stakeholders.
Everyone in product, marketing, sales and customer success needs to know who they’re selling to, where they’re selling and what value they need to offer. With this knowledge they can build successful products and launches that further your organization and add value to C-suite.
Wondering how to implement cross-functional alignment in your organization? We’ve got you. Check out our article on the what, why, and how of cross-functional teams below:👇
Who owns Go-to-Market?
A common and fundamental question with Go-to-Market strategy is who owns the process. In the State of Go-to-Market Report 2022, 81% of respondents said that GTM is product marketing’s remit, but in some instances product (22.6%), sales (9.5%), and customer success (9.5%), were also identified as departments who are responsible.
To reiterate, Go-to-Market is a cross-functional process which is reliant on a range of stakeholders collaborating with one another.
So ultimately, who is responsible for GTM?
Ask anyone in product marketing on GTM strategy and you’ll likely get a different answer. Some say the CRO, others the CSO, while some cite the CEO themselves. A 2021 LinkedIn Poll revealed that nearly 50% of people believe the CMO should own GTM, while others endorsed a nominated GTM leader who reports directly to the C-suite.
Whoever owns the Go-to-Market strategy in your company, the bottom line is that the C-suite has a direct effect whether they intend to or not. It’s essential that the C-suite proactively leads the process.
As we discussed earlier, with all of the competing stakeholders and priorities relating to GTM, the only way to establish a clear hierarchy is for the strategy to come from C-suite. Without this formal ownership of the GTM process, it’s very easy for product launches to be based on internal assumptions. As we all know, this doesn’t adhere to best practices, and won’t work.
So, what should you be doing to give GTM ownership the structure it so clearly needs?
Many larger companies such as Cloud, YouTube and Google have now introduced in-house Strategy and Operations teams who sit between C-Suite and the teams that contribute to GTM. The leaders of these teams report directly to C-suite.
Google was one of the first, instituting a ‘commercialization’ role to manage their exponentially increasing updates and releases. This has since grown into a strategy team, for which they are currently hiring strategy leads and Go-to-Market analysts.
Having a chain of command directly to C-suite means that GTM strategy will be prioritized rather than seen as incidental or insignificant. This also empowers your employees to complete GTM tasks as they will know that this will be recognized as valuable work.
Whatever you call your GTM leader, it’s essential that C-suite own and implement accountability for Go-to-Market strategy within your organization, or it will slip through the cracks.
Want to optimize your Go-to-Market strategy?
Having a strong Go-to-Market strategy helps to elevate and align Product, Marketing, and Revenue teams to established goals, narratives, and motions related to new product offerings.
It ensures everyone understands exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, when you’re doing it, who you’re doing it to, and how you’ll do it.
That’s why it’s so important to get right. And what better way to truly optimize your GTM strategy than taking our Go-to-Market Certified: Masters course?
Led by Chief Marketing Officer at Uptime.com and GTM expert, Yoni Solomon, this course will help you:
- Grasp a proven product launch formula that’s equal parts comprehensive, repeatable, creative, and collaborative.
- Gain the expertise and know-how to build and tailor an ideal product blueprint of your own.
- Equip yourself with templates to facilitate a seamless GTM process.
So what are you waiting for?