Business development professionals always have to be aware of the market’s latest trends and developments. The market ebbs and flows, but shows off specific trends. Business development professionals can leverage these trends to create an effective go-to market strategy.
The key is ensuring that this strategy is adaptable and able to pivot at a moment’s notice. With the volatility of individual markets, locking yourself into one rigid, inflexible approach can have dire consequences. A business needs to have a go-to system that works, but can take new information into account and adjust accordingly.
To help, 13 experts from Forbes Business Development Council offer their insight into the key steps someone in the business development industry should take when creating a go-to-market strategy.
1. Prioritize The Needs Of The Buyer
Any go-to-market strategy should prioritize the needs of the buyer. Today’s buyers expect near-instant responsiveness. As a result, remove friction to ensure immediate and contextual responses to your buyer’s needs. Meeting expectations early and often builds trust and is the foundation of any successful partnership. – Howard Brown, RingDNA | Inside sales & enterprise sales acceleration software
2. Thoroughly Understand The Market
A key step business development professionals must take when developing a go-to-market strategy is thoroughly understanding the market they plan on selling to. The more deeply you understand your customers, the more successful you will ultimately be. Consume all forms of research you can, including primary research. There is no substitute for talking to people. – Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group.
3. Have A Thoughtful And Measurable Plan
The key is to have a, thoughtful, measurable and well-laid-out plan that accounts for challenges along the way and how to always get back on course if any do arise. A disciplined approach to rolling out your plan will be critical as undoubtedly there will be hurdles along the way. Clearly list out your value proposition, area of specialization and differentiators from your competition. – Charina Amunategui, MUFG Investor Services
4. Get Honest Feedback And Act On It
Get honest feedback from potential customers and weave it into your planning and fine-tuning. In the education space, for instance, service and product providers can save themselves a lot of trouble—and gain brilliant ideas—by presenting offerings that are still being developed to public school superintendents and technology officers and asking for their no-holds-barred advice. – Joseph Wise, Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI)
5. Start By Building Brand Equity
Building brand equity is what I’d say is the most important step in creating that trust and loyalty between your target audience. Brand equity is a combination of audience perception and brand values. When your marketing efforts are bridging that gap with building brand equity, you have a great go-to-market strategy. – Yogesh Shah, iResearch Services
6. Identify Your Brand Standards
When developing a go-to market strategy it is extremely important to have your brand standards identified. This includes everything from your mission statement, messaging, goals and even down to your font standards. – Karolina Hobson, Radd Interactive
7. Aim For The Path Of Least Resistance
Go for the path of least resistance. Look for product markets that address the mission-critical needs of the customer and impact their pain points in a positive way. This might mean you need to collaborate with your product and service teams to tweak your offer. Sharpen your ax before you get your wood by knowing what your ideal customers need to save time on to increase efficiency. – Christian Valiulis, Automatic Payroll Systems
8. Identify Target Buyer Personas
As a company brings new products and services to market, the go-to-market strategy typically includes a business plan, marketing plan and sales strategy. A key step for business development professionals is to work in tandem with the marketing team to identify target buyer personas, their objectives and their issues and problems. For each persona, map out how you can create and deliver value. – Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates
9. Align On Markets And Buyer Profiles
Go-to-market strategies can involve multiple teams and many moving parts. One of the most critical steps in developing an effective strategy is spending time aligning on well-defined target markets and buyer profiles. Buyers aren’t looking for generalists; defining your markets clearly allows teams to focus on content creation that will resonate with your target audience and improve close rates. – Suhaib Zaheer, Bluehost
10. Identify All Possible Entry Points
One big aspect of a go-to-market strategy is identifying all of the possible entry points in different markets. Where can you be a corporate sponsor? Where is one influencer overly impactful? What brands are least resistant to the competition? Understanding and assessing all the different ways you can enter a market is a key component to successfully bringing a new product to that market. – Alexander Divinsky, RMG Media
11. Focus On Forging Authentic Connections
More than ever before, customers are looking for authentic connections and searching for companies that understand them rather than those that push for the customer to simply buy into the company’s perspectives. Business development professionals have to be certain they are taking time to go deeper than the average avatar discussion, truly understanding their customers and designing go-to market strategies around them. – Melanie Hicks, MGT of America
12. Identify Your Competitive Advantage
A key step in developing your go-to-market strategy is to clearly identify your competitive advantage and decide how to best exploit that advantage. Will you compete on cost? Will you compete on technical superiority? Where is the gap in the market that you can fill? Decide how to fill that gap and integrate that into your strategy. – Michael Fritsch, Confoe
13. Think All The Way To The End
Think all the way to the end. Too often, when people say “go-to-market,” they only think about messaging, branding and the like. Consider support, retention, upsell, long-term value and the relationship with the customer. This perspective will force you to ignore short-term ease and instead focus on the full buyer journey. Even if you have to make tactical moves to start, understand the bigger picture. – Kit Merker, Nobl9