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.
Work Smarter, NOT Harder: The Power of Automation in GTM Planning
Sometimes Smart Shortcuts Do Exist - Adopting Technology and Automation into Your GTM Planning Can Improve Results - Learn the Steps to Adopting Automation into Your Planning.
Developing a go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a job with many moving parts. Product marketers are tasked with finding and ingesting huge amounts of information, then turning it all into a feasible strategy that multiple people across various departments will be tasked with executing on. Yet at most organizations, product marketing teams remain tiny. According to the 2020 State of Product Marketing report, over a fifth of organizations have a product marketing team that’s only one person.
Somehow, with limited manpower and only so many hours in the day, product marketers have to complete thorough market, audience, and competitive research; analyze all that data effectively; and use what you’ve learned to develop a compelling strategy for a successful product launch.
It’s a lot to handle. And chances are, your executives are pressing to have it completed, oh, yesterday. How is an understaffed product marketing department supposed to get it all done?
Sometimes Smart Shortcuts Do Exist
You may worry that nothing can be easy and good. The standard thinking in culture equates quality with hard work. But in product marketing, you can reduce your workload without sacrificing quality. You just have to use the right tools at your disposal to work smarter rather than harder.
With the right approach, you can not only cut your work down significantly, but also improve results at the same time. No, really.
When working on a GTM strategy, that can be achieved by completing four main steps.
Step 1: Recognize that you don’t have to do it all yourself.
You probably didn’t go into product marketing because you try to shirk responsibilities and look for shortcuts. Marketers are usually the types to take more onto their shoulders, rather than less. But doing more work isn’t always better—not for you, and not for the results you’ll achieve for your business.
First things first, you need to acknowledge that there are better options than trying to balance more work than your tiny team (whether it’s of one person or a few) can reasonably tackle alone. And you need to accept that you may need to take some time upfront to step back, slow down, and change how you’re working before you can start to appreciate the benefits of a better process. Temporarily slowing down can be a hard step psychologically to take when you’re feeling swamped, but it will pay off.
Step 2: Figure out which elements of your job can be performed better by tech.
Now, analyze the long to-do list in front of you. Break it down task by task. And honestly ask yourself: which of these tasks can be more effectively done by technology than humans? This isn’t just a question of efficiency (although that also comes into play here). There are some types of work that software can simply manage better than humans can.
In the context of a GTM strategy, one good example is the data collection involved in the research phase. When you’re doing competitor research, are you visiting each competitor website, going page by page, and making notes on the ways they present their products? Are you then doing the same thing all over again with their social profiles, their Google ads, their emails? That’s not only extremely time consuming, it’s also going to leave you perpetually behind as your competitors regularly update their business and marketing strategies. And you won’t reliably note the most important takeaways if you’re drowning in too much information.
This kind of data collection and analysis is a key area where tech wins. A competitive research software platform that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can automate the process of scanning all those websites and other marketing channels, and help you identify which pieces of information are the most important. A human mind will still be important for turning those insights into something actionable your team can use, but letting tech take on the more tedious parts of the work can save you significant hours per month, and lead to better knowledge.
Step 3: Research and invest in products that introduce automation to your processes.
Once you’ve identified which tasks can be better handled by technology, you need to find the products that match your particular needs. While this will require handing over some of your budget, if the products take on a lot of the work you were previously expecting humans to handle, the cost will easily offset. But finding the right products for your needs matters here.
Take some time to review your options. And remember, technology is supposed to make life easier. Make sure the products provide features that simplify the important work on your task list, rather than make it more complex. Any technology that adds complexity to the process rather than simplifying it, is just not worth it. And figure out how much learning and using the product will cost in terms of time in training. That may be inevitable in some cases, but if you can find an intuitive solution that you can pick up from day one, you’ll save even more time.
Step 4: Develop a system for using the information your tech gathers.
A common issue businesses face with tech acquisition is buying a product that sounds great, then never quite figuring out how to use it for the purposes for which it was meant. We all have those products we bought and were very excited about, but over time the value wasn’t realized and just became shelf-ware. In order for a piece of technology to do its job, you need to develop processes that match the features it offers to the set of needs you bring to the table.
- The main things you need to accomplish with this product
- Who will be tasked with doing the work, and if multiple people will be involved, who will own each part of the process
- How much time each person involved will be able to give to it
- What specific takeaways or deliverables you’ll want to produce with it
- Which product features will be most useful for the specific goals you have
There may well be things your products can do that you don’t need. Don’t get distracted by impressive bells and whistles if they won’t directly relate to your main priorities. Instead, create a system for completing the tasks that are most important to your GTM strategy, while utilizing the features the product offers that make the work faster, easier, and better.
Automation Creates Smart Shortcuts for Your GTM Strategy
Working harder does not promise better results. Creating and executing a smart strategy—no matter how you get there—does. Using automation to get more done with less time and effort is simply good business. You can improve efficiency and do better work at the same time by finding and implementing the right tech for your needs.