Ok so you have a great product, you’ve got more than an MVP based on sound research and you’re ready to go to market. Great, now all we need to do is go to market. Well, whose job is that ?
Who is in the fellowship of the ring ? Who’s leading the effort ? The composition and leadership of the GTM effort can change based on whether the company is a startup or market leader, has a few people running everything or specialized ninjas in every department, is bootstrapping or has deep pockets.
A footballing analogy
So here’s one way to think about it — Just as football teams use formations based on their squad’s strengths, opponents weaknesses and adopt ‘parking the bus’ defence or a relentless gegenpressing attacks, businesses that have a better sense of their go to market goals, gaps and gameplans are in a better place to select their team. Here are 6 broad objectives you could consider when orchestrating your play: Winning deals, Creating opportunities, Orchestrating Strategy & story, Building Experience & roadmap, Protecting product & brand experience and Protecting the business.
The Dream 11
Now players may share or be custodians of multiple objectives. However just as on a football pitch they may occasionally be pulled in to play out of position, wear multiple hats and don several roles and this is especially true for product marketers. Here’s who I would have on my dream 11 at a company that already has paying customers and is looking for the next stage of growth.
(Footballers, please let me know in the comments if I can I still call this formation a 442 ? )
- Challenger Sales & Solution Consultant as strike partners. Hunting in packs and selling on value, they aren’t afraid to take risks and challenge a customer’s stated needs to elevate the discussion by recognizing and addressing the wider opportunity and value for the customer.
- Digital Marketer & Marcoms to provide assists (qualified leads) by being in the right place at the right time (channel management, SEM, SEO) relentlessly (campaign automation) and generating healthy relationships among press, analysts and community.
- Product Marketer & Content Strategist at the creative engine in midfield orchestrating story and strategy. Working with product management they extract value proposition, positioning and benefits based on empathetic research of the buyer journey and bring it to life by crafting a messaging framework, go to market plan and sales guides that orchestrate marketing efforts and sales approaches to serve target personas.
- Product Management — Championing the users experience and directing engineering efforts with roadmaps that address current peeves, future needs and technological horizons. They are also vital in ensuring that the commercial team taking the product to market do not over promise, undersell or generally misinterpret product capabilities.
- Customer Service & Brand guardian to protect the users’ experience of the product, manage and curate promises, support users and oftentimes clean up the messes the rest of team may have made. While a beta release, product launch or upgrade can put the Customer service team on beast mode, brand guardians have to keep the team on brand and support marcoms support reputational crises on social media or elsewhere.
- Account Management — Because if a relationship isn’t growing, it wont be long before it ends. When new features, releases or products are launched, account managers will need to personalize the approach to paying customers, minimize disruptions and protect the buyer and user experience together often with customer service and the wider team to ensure that we not only retain but grow the business and relationship.
- Finance & legal — Whether its signing off on procurement, channel spend, GDPR and compliance and QHSE, we’ll need someone having our back in terms of keeping our financial goals and legal bases covered.
Captaining & bench strength
My captain for the GTM efforts would be the product marketer. However if you’re bootstrapping at an early stage startup looking to get an MVP out, perhaps you’re better off captaining the Product Manager, using a sales engineer as lone striker or benching a marketer to make room for a researcher in midfield. By ‘benching’ I mean using them on demand and outsourced — so your bench strength could include a PR wing, freelance content writers, affiliate marketers, external researchers etc. However if its growth you’re after, then replacing the brand guardian with a growth marketer for better acquisition might be the way to go.
Get your game face on
Wherever you are in your journey as a company, entrepreneur, marketer or product leader, strategies, tactics and cross functional relationships start making more sense when looking at your roles as part of a common mission, having each others back while getting your game on.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments how you think about GTM strategy, what tactics or team formations have helped or hurt you in the past or what you’d do differently.