Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies have proven to be a bona fide means for tech startups to grow from zero to billions of US dollars.

Executing the right types of Go-to-Market strategies could even be considered a do-or-die for early-stage tech startups and companies desperate for growth.

Most "schools of thought" put GTM strategies into two main types, product-led and sales-led.

Yet, you can identify other types, depending on each company's perspective of what a Go-to-Market strategy should do.

Speaking of what a Go-to-Market strategy should do, let’s begin with a definition.

So, how do you define a Go-to-Market strategy?

It’s a business tool that takes the form of a strategic plan, supposed to help companies reach and serve customers of a given market.

Pay special attention to the word, “supposed” because not all Go-to-Market strategies are successful.

GTM is a strategy that enables companies to:

  • Get to the right customer in the right market.
  • Offer the right products and value proposition to the right customer.
  • Use the right channels to reach the right customer in the right market.
  • Answer the different questions companies need to succeed in a market.

But, there are some prerequisites to think about before creating a Go-to-Market strategy. The most important is product-market fit.

No one can hack the growth of anything without product-market fit.

This gives more weight to the question:

What types of Go-to-Market strategies hack growth?

So, let’s discover the different types of Go-to-Market strategies I present in this article.

  1. Product-led
  2. Sales-led
  3. Inbound
  4. Demand generation

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Sales-led Go-to-Market strategy

As the name indicates, sales drives this strategy. At the core, at the heart of this GTM approach, is salespeople.

Sales start and close with this type of Go-to-Market strategy. And that means you need skillful sales people.

This is because it consists of using persuasive positioning to lead clients through the entire customer pipeline. The product is still present, but as a tool for sales discussions mainly at the beginning of the strategy.

This type of Go-to-Market strategy demands numerous resources. So, when companies use this method, they focus on making fewer sales at greater margins.

Who is a sales-led Go-to-Market strategy for?

  • Well-funded companies, focusing on hyper-growth (growth hacking and/or growth marketing).
  • Companies aiming to create 1-on-1 relationships with target accounts, as a strategy to increase the average customer lifespan and retention rates.
  • Companies that introduce a product in a very competitive market.
  • Companies that are creating inventive, complex, and/or expensive products.
  • A market where customers find the perfect solutions to their problems with ease.
  • For a lengthy sales cycle with many parties in the decision-making process.

Product-led Go-to-Market strategy

Let me quote OpenView Venture Partners to tell you what Product-led Go-to-Market is:

Product-led Go-to-Market (PLG) is a Go-to-Market strategy (GTM) that relies on product usage as the primary driver of customer acquisition, conversion, and expansion.
-OpenView Venture Partners (2018)

The entire focus of this GTM strategy depends on the product. It consists of collecting in-product customer behavior, feedback, product usage, and analytics.

The results are used to drive customer acquisition, retention, and growth.

This is a self-serve sales model, with few salespeople involved.

The strategy works to completely empower the product to sell itself; it contains all the information potential buyers may need, including product features and technical specifications, pricing alternatives, and contract conditions.

The product is the key to ensuring success in this GTM strategy. The strength of this type of Go-to-Market strategy is its effective product-growth strategies.

Who is a product-led Go-to-Market strategy for?

  • Early-stage tech startups entering a completely new market or trying to invent one.
  • Tech startups launching a new product with a freemium pricing model.
  • Companies that want to personalize the onboarding experience.
  • Data-driven companies collecting insights into what features drive the most customer value.
  • Companies that need their products to scale fast at a low customer acquisition cost.
  • Companies that want to be flexible. That is, allowing change payment methods, upgrading subscription plans, purchasing add-ons, etc.

Inbound Go-to-Market strategy

The internet, with its powerful means to connect customers/users, has created a huge shift in marketing. No need to hunt or chase for customers.

There’s now a great option to attract and pull them to your business. That's what inbound marketing does.

Content marketing, SEO, and social media are the three main inbound marketing methods.

Tools like content writing, graphic designs, video making, keyword optimization, link building, and online events (webinars, contests, press releases, interviews) are all tools of inbound marketing.

Who is an inbound Go-to-Market strategy for?

  • Companies who want to build a strong, credible brand.
  • Companies that can afford to bear costs in the short-term, while expecting to win big in the long-term.
  • Companies who want to give precise answers to what a market/customer is looking for at a specific time.

Demand generation Go-to-Market strategy

Let me borrow “The Content Marketing Institute” to define demand generation:

Demand generation marketing is “the practice of creating demand for an organization’s product or services through marketing.”

The term speaks for itself. Demand generation creates demand, demand for qualified leads. But demand generation is much more than that.

Considering demand generation as a type of Go-to-Market strategy involves other related marketing terms. It involves lead generation, demand capture, and pipeline acceleration.

At its core, demand generation uses any inbound and outbound marketing activities. So, why do I consider this a distinct type of Go-to-Market strategy?

Because to use this strategy, one major prerequisite must be present. THE NEED.

For any company that wants to use demand generation, it must pinpoint the right need of its buyer persona or target market.

This is what results in acquiring good qualified marketing and sales leads, which is one of the main benefits of demand generation.

What can you achieve with revenue marketing?
‘But what do you actually do for a living?’ If you’re in marketing, that’s probably a question you’re familiar with. It’s a broad discipline, and explaining what we actually do on a daily basis can be hard. In no small part because ‘marketing’ isn’t really the job, we all have our specialism.

Who is a demand generation Go-to-Market strategy for?

  • Companies that need to generate high-converting qualified leads.
  • Companies during the growth phase, and are searching to identify sales opportunities.
  • Companies that need to reduce the cost of converting leads into customers (drop CAC) and retaining them (increase CLV).
  • Companies working to create awareness and consideration for their products and services.
  • Companies that need to strengthen their users and prospect relationships.

To succeed in growth hacking, you will need to weigh your options. To do so, I recommend you find the type of GTM strategy that works for your business.

Ready to have your say on Go-to-Market salaries?

Go-to-Market is the backbone of so many businesses, but Go-to-Market job titles are still new on the scene.

That’s why we’ve set out to find out what the GTM job market looks like, how much you can expect to be paid and what it actually means to work in Go-to-Market.

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