How to avoid Go-to-Market strategy oh s%*t moments when planning for the new year

The end of the year is near, but as marketers, you know that this means the planning and budgeting season is here, or at least it should be.

Waiting till the new year is a rookie mistake. This is when a vast majority of businesses are planning and setting goals. The problem is that when you’re busy reflecting on what worked and what didn’t. To increase your odds of creating or maintaining a successful business, it takes time to plan, build, and execute a winning Go-to-Market strategy. The first step is making sure you’re taking the necessary actions to set yourself up for success before it’s too late.

Why is defining and analyzing your market critical? For starters, it’s how you know that there is a market, let alone a need in the industry. As an essential element in product and marketing plans, market research is how you confirm that what you’re building is. What the customers need AND want – or what they’re missing.

We all know that 2020 has been a wild ride, and I’m sure by now a lot of people are overhearing about it. But to build a GTM strategy that can withstand the unexpected twists and turns a year will take, you have to understand what pitfalls might pop up.

 

5 ways to avoid Go-to-Market mishaps before they even happen.

 

1. Don’t wait till January to get a plan in place

Time is a resource you can’t get back or make more. Don’t spend it, avoiding what needs to be done. Often people can get caught up in executing the plan rather than looking ahead. Hey, we’ve all been there. There are only so many things one can do, and balancing competing priorities is an ongoing challenge. However, when it comes to making sure you’re on track, you have to keep your eye on the horizon.

Planning doesn’t need to take months. If you already have access to the tools or evaluate resources to get that competitive edge in your market, waiting till the year has begun could be detrimental. If you wait too long, you’ll be playing catch up, and unless your competition makes an error or slows down, you’ll realize it’s too late. Be prepared to hit the ground running in the new year.

 

2. Make sure your resources align with your plan – lock them in

If you’re ahead of the curve and have an outline or idea of what you want to do, just do it. Why wait to lock in the plan? Plans can change, and they should be flexible to accommodate unexpected events. While having a beautiful plan in place makes you feel accomplished, executing it and getting the ball rolling before everyone else will be a much bigger win.

The longer you wait to make sure you have the right tools in place to execute against your goals, the longer it will take you to reach them. With a finite amount of time, your team might be hard-pressed to hit the goals if you don’t have the necessary data to make those strategic decisions.

Make sure as you’re building your perfect plan to align your goals with the resources you want, the ones you need, the data you have, and the gaps you need to fill. Once those are in place, aligning your strategy with leadership goals will be a lot easier.

 

3. Understand that there are going to be shifts

With building a marketing strategy, it’s important to budget resources for the unexpected. The 80/20 rule comes in handy when things don’t quite go how you expected or even wanted. 80 percent of your Go-to-Market strategy should be locked in before you kick off the quarter or year. The other 20 percent is designed as a buffer to allow agile shifts in your plan. Anticipating will be necessary during the planning process, but know that somethings can’t be predicted while others can be with the right data and insights.

Starting with a flexible mindset can improve your strategy’s execution and allow for higher returns on your marketing investments. Instead of following a plan to the letter, you can capitalize on insights when they happen. Market opportunities and competitive threats don’t follow a 9-5 schedule, so having the right data when you need it to make strategic decisions could be the difference between a good strategy and a great one.

 

4. Get creative

Your GTM strategy will need to be unique to stand out in a market. Standard processes and practices product and marketing teams follow but paying attention to what your competitors are doing are table stakes. There are more than just direct and indirect competitors in your industry. Monitoring partners, customers, and industry thought leaders could propel your team into a winning quarter.

 

5. Stop making plans. Start making decisions

Building an effective Go-to-Market strategy is a worthwhile investment. As we draw closer to the end of the year, keep in mind that you’re already losing ground against other companies in the market if you start out planning in the new year. There are several different ways you can make sure you’re on track, if not ahead of the competition, and that is by taking stock of what tools and resources you have, determining your current and future goals, and identifying the gaps between the two. Leveraging competitive intelligence in developing your go-to-market strategy early in the process will ensure you have the correct data to maximize your success in the new year.

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