Every day it seems we find ourselves in conversations with new business builders and leaders in larger companies who want to take a promising new product or service to market.
This go-to-market stage is among the most challenging. Many stumble or fail at this point. Those who navigate it successfully increase the chances of future revenue growth significantly.
Based on our experience, these are five common mistakes we see repeatedly.
#1. Trying a little bit of everything
Excitement can easily translate into an unrealistic go-to-market strategy. A sales forecast rooted in fantasy often follows.
Whether driven by eagerness to bring in sales or justify their existence, companies then pounce on every lead they get, even if the requirements exceed an ability to deliver.
Market focus should be the first step. By focus we mean territory, industry, type of solution to offer, and key performance indicators. This is the only way to create a repeatable sales process. If it falls short, then try another.
Failure is virtually guaranteed if you try too many different approaches all at the same time.
#2. Listening to product development more than your customers
While product development may have ruled the roost when the company depended solely on its ability to build a working product, customers became paramount in the go-to-market stage.
Not sure much else needs to be said here.
#3. The abracadabra sales manager
Some young companies, and larger ones taking a new product to market, believe a sales leader can perform magic just because they crushed quota repeatedly in a large corporate environment.
Hard to find? Definitely. But now you know what you need.
#4. More sales reps means more sales
This might be true in an established corporation already operating at scale, but it’s not for a company – big or small – launching a new product.
Stop hiring past your first salesperson until you have a well-defined sales process that you can duplicate.
#5. Failure to measure marketing by results
Some startups do not allocate any budget for marketing. If they do, they usually don’t stick to it and spend less. Others pour gobs of money into marketing without any effective measurements.
Focus your marketing measurements on high-quality leads and actual sales. At this stage, everything else is white noise.
Other dangers lurk in the shadows
Less critical are other bumps in the road, like failure to adopt a CRM system, no support ticketing system, and lack of high-quality documentation. But these examples are less important than avoiding the five potholes mentioned above.
Help with market validation
We see this situation so often that we created a packaged service to help. Called Market Validation, this service helps entrepreneurs and business leaders get the go-to-market strategy right early using a proven, iterative process.
The step-by-step approach begins with buyer personas and messaging, and ends with verifying the selling motion. Tasks in between include creating the sales aids, tools, and infrastructure necessary to engage prospects.