There are plenty of opportunities for your go-to-market strategy to go wrong.

That’s because go-to-market planning relies on many different teams and stakeholders working in alignment. However, every team that contributes to GTM faces its own struggles.

If you’re thinking, ‘well, sure - makes sense. But, what exactly are the top challenges in developing a go-to-market strategy?’ 

If we’re going to address that question properly, then there’s lots to consider. In this article, we’ll look at the following to help you find solutions to any potential launch roadblocks:

We’ll also include insights from individuals who have seen these struggles firsthand and what they believe would improve the go-to-market process.

So, with that out of the way, how about we jump right in?

Understanding the value of a definable go-to-market strategy

As much as it’d be great to just come up with a product idea, dive in, and get it all done in a jiff - that’s not how go-to-market works. 

Without a clear, repeatable, and adaptable strategy or process, you’re essentially starting from scratch every time you launch. This means you’ll have no way of knowing what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past. Worse than this, you'll waste a lot of time and resources if you have to start over with each launch cycle. 

So, what do product marketers want from their go-to-market strategy?

“More formalization of process. This is a new thing for us, so we are working up the learning curve.” Dennis Duckworth, Director of Product Marketing at Coming Soon
“Think of go-to-market as a solution or industry. Individual product launches will not maintain exponential company growth nor position confidently in competitive markets.” Jamie Claeys, Director of Broker Segment Strategy at DAT Freight & Analytics
“I’d close the loop and ensure that once activities are completed, the team is informed of how it went/whether we should do it again.” Amanda Chagoya, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Polygence
“A more reliable product roadmap so that GTM planning can be done more thoroughly.” Aimen Chouchane, Head of Content at Uptick

Some important points have been brought up here, so let’s dive deeper into what this all means.

As we’ve seen, you need a defined, repeatable process to progress and measure your success. As our respondents suggested above, launches need a strategized process in place; otherwise, they won’t contribute to company growth.

This is a big oversight because launches that support brand storytelling and a succinct product narrative that adds value to the customer journey can be one of your leading sources of growth and revenue.

Getting the resources you need for a successful launch

In our 2023 State of Go-to-Market Report, we asked our respondents to share whether or not they had a GTM process in place or felt GTM received the right attention and investment at their company.

59% of respondents said their company underinvests in both time and resources.

Now, that’s quite a large number of respondents claiming GTM isn’t a priority when it comes to budgeting. 

But why exactly are companies underinvesting? 

Well, some of our contributors said the following regarding GTM resources for product launches: 

“Small launches are harder to communicate because we don’t devote any PMM resources to help illustrate the value…I’d like to see a bit more resources devoted to launching.” Steve Bozic, Senior Launch Readiness Manager at Seismic
“At the enterprise level, it may seem like GTM resources abound…But aligning auxiliary resources on timing, budget, and core messaging can be tricky when there are so many different initiatives in flight.” Lauren Moon, Co-founder at Trestle Marketing
"Fewer people are aware of smaller launches, so we’re provided with fewer resources.” Alyssa Lieberman, Senior Product Marketing Manager at ShootProof

As you can see, most express a need for more resources to support their go-to-market strategies. And we’ve already seen it’s not uncommon for go-to-market to lack sufficient investment, especially regarding budget and resources for launches. This is partly because launches can be expensive, and senior leadership doesn’t always see the link between GTM and revenue.

However, product launches are one of your best tools for bringing in new customers and growing your company.

Supporting the customer journey

The customer journey is one of the most important aspects of go-to-market. It turns your leads into wins and your products into successes.

Unfortunately, the customer journey can be a bit of an elusive creature: 

“From experience, I think that in B2C businesses, measurements are extremely easy to set and you generate immediate learnings on setting up targets and see what the outcome is…On the other hand, in B2B (e.g. when you’re organizing events) and want to measure revenue or direct product adoption metrics or scale these to different markets, that can be very tricky.” Bettina Jakobsen, Senior Marketing Lead at Google

However, prioritizing customers should be a must in GTM:

“For effective GTM, my number one tip is to understand your customer’s pain points so well it feels like you’re having those same frustrations [as well]. It’s the perfect way to ensure you’re crafting the right messaging.” Lauren Moon, Co-founder at Trestle Marketing

If you’re thinking why that’s the case, most revenue comes from your existing customer base. 

Your guide to customer activation
Understanding the value of your customer lifecycle is crucial to getting your go-to-market strategy right. As with most things inherent to GTM, your customers’ journeys will look different case by case. Read on to learn about customer activation, best practices, and mistakes to avoid.

However, the launches that benefit existing customers the most aren't fully resourced because they make less of a splash and don’t have the same obvious link to growth. 

But it’s really important to value your smaller launches and take them seriously, even if they feel less important to stakeholders.

Many companies are still establishing their go-to-market strategies and post-launch metrics. Developing a customer feedback loop and focusing on customer data will enable product marketers to add value to the user journey through targeted and better-defined post-launch strategies.

Enabling product marketers to spend more time on the customer journey and take the data they derive from it back to product and engineering will only serve to better your company’s growth.

Working cross-functionally

Cross-functional working is hard but crucial to a successful go-to-market strategy. For our product marketers, problems range from not having cross-functional teams invested in smaller launches to struggling to keep everyone aligned on larger products.

“More transparency is needed on product readiness.” Michele Bové, Product Marketing Manager at Coursera
“For large launches, I’ve got the buy-in from everyone. Everybody’s [excitement] is reflected in how the CSMs and Sales Reps communicate the release to the users. More budget is allocated and more marketing campaigns are executed. Additionally, there are also more resources created. On the other hand, with small launches, not many people are interested in equipping themselves with the nuts and bolts of the feature.” Pavithra Sudhakar, Product Marketing Manager at Rocket.Chat 
“For large launches, more groups need to be involved. This complicates the process. Small launches are easier as there aren’t as many people to factor into the process.”Jamie Claeys, Director of Broker Segment Strategy at DAT Freight & Analytics

For go-to-market to work, every team and stakeholder needs to be on the same page. This means understanding the product, having a clear timeline, and having unified messaging and communications.

Cross-functional alignment is essential, but with so many people involved, it has to come from senior leadership.

Want to connect with other GTM pros?

If anything you find has worked for you and your teams while developing your go-to-market strategy, why not share it with our Slack community? This is a great opportunity to meet, connect, and chat with GTM pros worldwide.

Or, if you're aiming to upskill, our Insider Membership or GTM Blueprint can offer you the skills and learnings necessary to really up your GTM game.

And if you want to contribute to our community, get in touch with anyone from our lovely team! We'd love to hear from you.