A recurring theme in Go-to-Market is the concept of working closely with diverse teams.
What exactly does a cross-functional GTM team bring to the table?
Well, if your strategies don’t involve the expertise of every key team member, you’re missing an opportunity to reform and refine your launch plans for maximum impact.
And a collaborative effort from your central teams (marketing, product, sales, etc.) means you’ve got a unique perspective on and view of every stage of your GTM. This is vital for your launches to go smoothly from start to finish.
But who do you need on your GTM team, and how can you ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined?
Read on and discover how to put together a winning GTM team.
Building your GTM team
Getting the right people involved in your launch plans can seem daunting, to say the least.
Knowing who will deliver on team-wide goals and which teams can help your strategy adapt to market changes can feel tricky, as there are so many moving parts.
But, at the time of deciding who’ll be on your team, it’s always good to define what you value most. Is it adaptability or creativity? Do you want to focus on a customer-centric approach or go for a sales-led motion? This can inform who will form an integral part of your GTM team.
Of course, understanding your product, target market, and customer base is as important as getting the ideal team together. Once you’ve mastered your product positioning and messaging, you can better communicate the broader business goals to your teams. Understanding how and what you’re trying to relate to the world will create a strong sense of purpose amongst your peers.
And let’s not forget that trust applies as much internally as it does externally. You’re likelier to succeed if you’re able to foster a truly collaborative, cooperative, and engaging environment.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at who makes up your GTM team and some of the ways you can really bring these teams together.
Who’s in your GTM team?
After you’ve decided on your product launch strategy, let’s get those key internal members on your side.
You’ll want to consider bringing along someone from each of the following teams:
- Customer Success
Let’s briefly break down what each team does:
- Your product team is essentially responsible for bringing your product to life. This team should equip your wider GTM team with the product knowledge and market context needed for your launch.
- Marketing is the bridge between your product and your audience, the go-to team for generating interest in your product and attracting the right customers. They’ll know exactly how to ‘sell’ your product concept and tell its story to your target audience.
- Your sales team can support your marketing efforts and rack in revenue by identifying the right prospects and nurturing promising leads. This team ideally communicates your product vision and brand message to the world. So, make sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned if you want to pitch your product vision clearly!
- What better way to know your product ticks all the boxes than by looking at what your customers think? The team in charge of shining a light on your customers: (surprise, surprise!) customer success. This team can spot your customers’ pain points and needs, address any major concerns, and keep track of progress by managing customer relationships and collecting feedback.
Each of those teams is central to securing a reliable GTM foundation from which to work. But, to facilitate team-wide communication, set clear responsibilities and establish who’ll ‘own’ each team. What this means is that within each team, you’ll have to designate a clear leader.
Who should lead these teams?
At the very top, you’ll have your go-to-market manager. Someone with this level of know-how and expertise is best prepared to lead the rest of your GTM team through any product launch or feature.
Beyond simply overseeing the whole of your GTM process, this team leader should:
- Establish your product launch tier, determine how or where to allocate resources, delegate tasks, select the most relevant stakeholders, etc.
- Have a deep understanding of your target market and customers.
- Propose a clear strategy and, alongside the PMMs or PMs, devise a cohesive roadmap based on customer and market research.
- Collaborate closely with all members of your cross-functional team.
- Leveraging competitive intelligence, determine where your product or service falls compared to your direct competitors and how best to strategize based on this. This, in turn, informs your product messaging and helps keep your launch at the very top.
- Have a deep knowledge of market trends, ensuring adaptability across the board.
Your GTM manager’s understanding of all the nuances and complexities inherent to GTM means they’ll ensure seamless collaboration throughout and communicate expectations from the very start.
Product marketing manager
Beyond knowing how to market your product, a PMM is aware of your target market and audience, your product or brand’s messaging, and can precisely drive your product launch vision.
This individual’s knowledge of what your product does and who it’s for gives your GTM plan the competitive edge it needs. Think of this team player as the voice of your product, the one who can clearly define how your product can make an impact.
So, the moment you’ve been waiting for: what does a product marketer do?
- For starters, this individual will conduct the relevant research to craft a product strategy or create a product story accurately.
- Your PMM will determine how to generate enough buzz around your product through the right marketing channels. There’s no better way to do this than with a clear marketing strategy in place.
- PMMs grant you access to your target audience, which is a must if you intend to sell your product or service effectively.
- Similarly, this individual will have to monitor the right data closely to spot whether your customers are interested in your product at all and determine how to refine your marketing efforts.
If your PMM can tell you the what and who, your product manager can explain the why of your product.
Essentially, this individual will know exactly the problem your product is trying to solve and why you should take it to market.
Your product manager will juggle quite a handful of responsibilities:
- Similar to a GTM manager, your PM needs to effectively bring in the creativity and expertise of several diverse team members. And your PM will have to oversee the product development process (from the ideation stage to post-launch).
- As we’ve seen, your team leaders need to understand both target customer and market. Your PM - because they’ve got their hands in the product dev from the beginning - will best know how to meet customer and business needs and why your product is best for this.
- This leader will have ownership over your product strategy and roadmap, setting goals throughout launch plans.
Sales enablement manager
A central focus of your launch plans should be on long-term, steady revenue growth. Who better to lead this part of your GTM plan than a sales manager?
This person will:
- Understand the unique details of your product message, encouraging and enabling the sales team to deliver on company goals.
- Encourage cross-collaboration with members from your marketing and product teams to ensure your sales reps understand how to communicate your product value.
- What’s more, because your sales manager will be directly involved in sales processes, this person will provide invaluable insights to your PMs and marketing teams. In this way, your GTM team can reassess and adjust strategies to make sure sales efforts aren’t going to waste.
It’s this strategy know-how that makes your sales manager such a key player in your GTM function. Understanding your product is one thing, but making sure it sells effectively is another. Your SM will know how to spot the best revenue opportunities and how to get your sales team excited about your product launch.
Customer success manager
Finally and no less important, you’ll want to bring in a customer success manager.
At the heart of any long-term success is customer loyalty and satisfaction, and your GTM team’s CSM will be able to oversee the customer experience.
These leaders will put empathy at the center of their approach, essential to getting customers to vouch for your product or service. CSMs will also prioritize customer feedback when making decisions regarding your GTM plans.
Beyond being your customers’ point of contact, your CSM should do the following:
- Work closely with sales, specifically at the post-sales stage. This is especially important when monitoring customer experience and satisfaction, and your CSM will establish whether the product is actually meeting your customer needs or falling short.
- Ensure new customer onboarding is conducted properly. This part is crucial to get right, as the right training sessions and support will help your customers maximize product use and trust its purpose and value.
- Also, when it comes to improving customer retention, CSMs are responsible for ensuring customers still find value in your unique service and if there’s any chance of renewal.
How to encourage cross-collaboration
Okay, you've built out your GTM team, and now you're wondering how to bring them together and encourage effective collaboration and transparent communication.
This might seem overwhelming at first as so many different teams will have their own targets to hit and separate priorities set. But there are ways around this!
- First, lay out your team or business objectives. This involves your product roadmap, as you'll want to show your teams each step of the way before launching.
- Alongside your roadmap, establish the most essential metrics for your GTM plans. This will show your team where there's room for improvement or where things are on track.
- Do not underestimate the power of the right project management tools! When choosing a management tool, think about the ones that will help your team members communicate clearly and understand tasks, especially when they're due, what they're for, etc. Trial out a few and see which ones work best for your teams, always bearing in mind usability and accessibility. Of course, you'll want your teams to feel comfortable and confident in the tools they use daily.
- Another way you can encourage your teams to collaborate more closely is by having set communication channels. You can decide which communication platform (like Slack, for example) is best by asking your teammates directly. Have they felt they can communicate quickly and effectively with that tool in place? Or are there still some frustrations with, say, response times?
- Another option would be to set up regular team meetings. Get in touch with the relevant members so the team feels they can voice a concern or celebrate an achievement!
- Remember our point on building trust externally and internally? Team feedback is as important to the success of your launch as your customer feedback. Ask around and see if any training sessions need to take place, for example, or if there are real challenges ahead that might impact your larger team.
The strength of your GTM team lies in the expertise of all its key members, who bring fresh ideas and expert-level insights to set your product apart.
Through common goals and a shared purpose, your cross-functional team will know how to drive your product to the right market and audience. And remember just how human-first your product launches should be - in how you empathize, collaborate, and align with all parts of your GTM motion.
Ultimately, understanding the value of cross-collaboration and diversity at the time of building up your team means you’re well on your way to success.
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