A go-to-market (GTM) strategy begins as something aspirational that delivers a roadmap to success. It guides the execution of how you’ll drive awareness and interest in your product or service, which results in revenue. A GTM strategy, when developed right, brings teams together from across the enterprise—marketing, sales, finance, product, and customer success—to establish a repeatable, scalable plan for acquiring and retaining customers.

Unfortunately, many GTMs fail—not due to execution
but to poor strategy and planning tied to unrealistic goals and misaligned teams.



Plan Development Without Data Is a Common Failure Point

In many scenarios, organizations develop GTM plans without the correct data. Too often, GTM strategy development starts with a growth target handed down from finance. They think they have sufficient information but often don’t have the “right” data. As a result, they establish a seemingly arbitrary goal that ignores the organization’s GTM model for acquiring, retaining, and growing customer revenue.

Avoiding this pitfall means defining specific data that offers context while considering numerous factors that can transform a GTM strategy into a plan of action that supports your revenue goals. The right data should encompass customer acquisition, retention, and growth inputs.

Reality Is Your History for Acquiring, Retaining, and Growing Customers

GTM plans that lack these customer journey points just don’t check out in the real world. The reason things collapse isn’t because you dismiss the value of data. Rather, it comes from using the standard top-down approach instead of a bottom-up one.

Top-down forecasting focuses on financial metrics, the entire market size, current available markets, market trends, and competition. Thus, it lacks any aspect of “reality” around customer acquisition. Bottom-up planning focuses on the real world by accounting for time, resources, activities, investments, and more.

Achieving a revenue target is 100% a GTM responsibility. Internal and external factors impact it, but with bottom-up planning, you can reach your destination with fewer detours. You’ll be able to map out strategy while identifying the investment and resources you need to hit your goals. The effect of this is game-changing, enabling more visibility, alignment, and certainty.

Unlock Revenue Potential with a Go- To-Market Guide Unlike All the Others

Shifting your structure to a more real-world GTM strategy that’s built from the bottom up requires transformation. Regrettably, you have to do more than just modify your framework. A cultural shift is necessary to reap the revenue possibilities, but how do you achieve that? This guide is a great place to start. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What a modern, effective go-to-market strategy looks like.
  • Innovative ways for developing a go-to-market framework.
  • How to define, create, and optimize your GTM process. Your industry’s impact on GTM strategies.
  • Requirements for composing a GTM slide pitch deck.
  • Tips for using GTM strategy templates and software.

The Advantage of Bottom-Up GTM Planning

A bottom-up goal-seek analysis starts with your goal at the bottom and moves upward to the top of your customer acquisition journey, which determines the leads and interest required to hit it. It seems obvious that this approach grounds a business in a more realistic and data-driven framework. So why do many organizations not use it?

There are many assumptions you can make. One of the most common is that top-down has always been the method, so you keep doing what you’ve been doing while hoping for different results. That won’t happen if you stay within the confines and limitations of an antiquated top-down process.

With bottom-up planning, you lean more on data related to the most vital part of a GTM strategy—how you acquire customers. The more you know about this and the customer journey, the more clarity you have about actions to take to accelerate acquisition. There’s no more guesswork when you can manipulate models with accurate data. A data-driven customer-journey- centric approach unlocks opportunities for your entire revenue team.

What is a go-to-market strategy, and how has the model changed?

A go-to-market strategy is a crucial business mechanism for planning how to generate revenue from your products and services by addressing the needs of the right buyers. Within this strategy, many moving parts must fit together in an ecosystem that provides a roadmap for generating revenue.

In most conversations regarding GTM strategy, organizations lump the model and plan together. However, they are actually two distinct components
within your strategy. The model breaks down goals and their association with
strategy, markets, ideal customer profiles (ICP), and more. Models integrate the customer journey, offering and pricing considerations, and quarterly and annual goals. Consider the GTM model as your construct.

The GTM model is where you establish your targets. They are time-phased views that focus on required quantities over time across every phase of the customer journey. These targets are used as leading indicators of success when tracked against your actual performance. In the GTM plan, you define the tactics, campaigns, and activities

you must cultivate to hit your numbers. With this expanded and data-driven viewpoint, a GTM strategy is no longer vague or mired in inconsistencies;

it builds predictability and certainty instead.

So if the majority of companies develop and deploy GTM strategies, why don’t they lead to more success?

GTM Strategies Fuel Success When Based on the Customer Journey

If you’re going to bring a product to market and make money, you have to have a GTM strategy that accounts for as much as possible. It takes more than a great product, service, or idea. Well-orchestrated GTM strategies, models, and plans become a unifying force for your organization. They align teams across the business while putting your customer at the center of every decision made.

So, how do you know if you have a credible GTM strategy? Adopt a bottom-up GTM planning approach where you can exercise more control over going to market by focusing on metrics that matter:





Question to ask

What is the rate and speed of conversion?

How much do we need to produce?

How much are things worth, and how much do they cost?

Things to track

  • Time to generate awareness

  • Time to qualified lead

  • Time to high intent


  • Time to win

  • Conversions by stage

  • Click through rates

  • Website/page


  • Content conversion

• Impressions
• Website visits
• Categorized and

qualified leads (high

vs. low intent)
• Opportunity count • Activity measures/

activities per stage: touches, calls, meetings, demos

• Wins and losses

  • Average opportunity value

  • Average contract value

  • Renewal and churn values

  • Cost per lead

  • Cost by channel, geo, market, and

    customer segment

  • Cost per opportunity

Plan Target metrics

  • Aggregate stage to close conversion rates

  • Lead timeline
    by stage (dates leads need to produced and target conversion time)

  • Leads per day/ month/quarter by stage

  • Required sales pipeline by stage

  • Number of leads per win by stage

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)


  • CAC payback

  • Monthly recurring

    revenue (MRR)

  • Net revenue


Looking at velocity, volume, and value by market, customer segment, geography, and team sets expectations aligning teams to a common goal and the target values required to ensure success. You get a more reliable plan when you consider these data points, but you’ll also need to think about all the factors disrupting the GTM ecosystem.

Factors Disrupting the GTM Ecosystem

Your GTM strategy has to be flexible enough to work in the real world—and the real world is volatile and hard to predict. In lieu of using a crystal ball, your GTM strategy must be agile to remain relevant. Here are a few trending factors to have on your radar.

Consumer behavior shifts continue to change markets.

In a post-COVID world, consumers have to rethink everything about their buying decisions. Online shopping was already gaining traction, but the pandemic forced everyone to become an online shopper for just about everything. Consider the rise of grocery e-commerce, for example.

More consumer shifts influence what people are buying. Price still matters, but many people also want to buy from brands they believe share their values or provide more sustainable products. Brand loyalty is also something that was tested during the pandemic. The preferred brand often wasn’t available, so consumers had to choose others. They may have reverted back or discovered the new product was better.

Then there are shifts around what people buy. Many people spent more time at home in 2020 and 2021, so their purchases reflected this. Now things have stabilized, and people are again spending money on travel and experiences, but they also have new habits and lifestyles.

Many workers will remain remote and thus no longer have a need for office attire. People created home gyms, so they no longer pay for a gym membership. Many started to cook at home more, rather than eating out. Those changes are now habits, and they are just a few examples of how different the consumer is in the first quarter of the 21st century.

Competition for consumer dollars remains challenging.

Consumers are still confidently spending, even in the face of inflation and economic uncertainty. There’s still plenty of competition, with new businesses popping up to take advantage of consumer shifts. No matter your industry, your GTM planning must look at the entire competitive landscape to discern where you fit in the picture.

Can you play at the top because of your brand awareness and credibility in the space? Or are you still an emerging company? Finding your niche and differentiator will be critical to how you construct your GTM strategy.

Keep in mind that you may also have indirect competitors. They may not make the product you do, but they fulfill the need you’re solving, so they have the ability to capture market share. Competition will never cease, and it’s something you have to stay up-to-date on, as new entrants or growth from existing companies can impact your GTM planning.

An omnichannel world altered GTM strategies and continues to do so.

In some ways, an omnichannel market is a good thing. It means you have more opportunities to engage, attract, and convert customers. It also makes planning more complicated when you need to allocate funds to these channels. You’ll need to understand the pros and cons of each and—more importantly—if they align with where your customers are most likely to be.

Investing in every channel may seem like the best approach, but that can cause a lot of waste. Instead, GTM planning must consider how each tactic will propel marketing and sales and impact the customer journey. You also have to view historical data on what channels have provided the best returns. There are many different models of how using specific tactics can support hitting your goals, and the ability to do this during planning is imperative.

Building a Sustainable Go-To-Market Framework

What does it mean for your GTM framework to be sustainable? In short, sustainability means predictability and more certainty. It’s about removing as much volatility as possible to ensure the GTM plan continues to meet the needs of your company and the market.

There are several key elements in building a go-to-market plan. Let’s look at each of these more closely.

Identify your target market and market size.

Clearly define your ICPs and all the things that make them the right audience, including demographics, location, characteristics, behaviors, motivations, and challenges. In outlining the market, you also need to be able to quantify how large it is.

Define product market fit.

Product development starts with answering a need for the target audience. It can be a solution to meet several requirements. It can be complex or simple. Whatever it is, document it in a way that’s easy to understand for all.

In addition, you need to decide how the product fits the current market and competitive landscape. Does it have a unique niche or some differentiator that will enable market share growth? Does it have a better price point or allow a different payment option such as a subscription?

Determine market positioning.

Market positioning flows from the first steps of defining who the product is for and why it fulfills their need. You want to highlight and focus on the benefits of the product to the user and what its unique selling proposition (USP) is.

It can also be valuable to leverage an Ansoff growth matrix, or product market expansion grid, a four-by-four matrix that assesses new and existing markets, new and existing products, and the risks those relationships pose. For example, existing products and existing markets are lower risk, while new products and new markets are higher risk.

Set the channel mix and offering along with pricing.

Next comes big decisions around the channel mix. As discussed earlier, you’ve got more channels than ever to consider, but you don’t have to be in all of them. It depends on your audience, industry, market, positioning, and more. At this point, you also have to put a price on the product.

Align sales and marketing to shared goals.

This step is one of the most challenging because sales and marketing all too often have a misalignment. They are both integral to GTM plan success, and one of the key reasons they can falter is that they don’t have shared goals.

Shared goals ensure accountability and eliminate confusion about who isresponsible for what. Get all parties involved and on the same page to avoid failure.

Outline the KPIs that will be valuable to monitor if you’re on the plan.

Measuring against the plan is crucial to its success, and that starts with defining your key performance indicators (KPIs). These are specific, measurable, and time-bound goals to track progress.

These leading indicators need to be trackable during the execution of the plan. If you can achieve leading indicator targets by specific dates, you’ll cultivate more confidence in achieving your goals. We outlined the elements to track and the supporting metrics to ensure you understand velocity, volume, and value impact on your GTM strategy.

  • Velocity and conversion: Timing is everything for subscription, SaaS, and professional services businesses. The revenue from a lost week or month is gone forever. Accurate projections are critical, and velocity becomes a true leading indicator of success. Benchmarking and tracking conversion rates highlight opportunities for optimization. Ultimately it tells you the effectiveness of your GTM strategy in advancing buyers through their journey to paying customers.
  • Volume: Conversion rates directly impact lead and activity volume.
    Lower conversion rates drive required lead volume up, meaning you
    must produce more leads to achieve your goal. Conversely, optimized
    conversion rates create efficiency in the buyer journey and ultimately save your organization time and money.
  • Value: Understand what type of return you can expect for your efforts. These are outcome-oriented metrics, but setting expectations before you generate your first lead will ensure that we are investing appropriately. Different GTM motions carry varied costs, and aligning that cost to the expected value in return helps determine if we are over or under-investing.
Calculate a GTM timeline for the plan.

Every GTM plan needs a GTM timeline, which will require much consideration based on when you have everything ready to launch for the product and its marketing. Timelines can change for many different reasons, so it’s another area where flexibility is crucial.

Decide on your budget.

Next, you’ll need to determine what you can spend to bring your product to market, which includes lots of different costs regarding marketing and sales activities. Funding your tactics must align directly with those central goals of what you need your customer pipeline to be in order to hit revenue numbers.

All these components become the pillars of your GTM plan. What’s also important in this step is to differentiate between GTM and revenue planning.

Why Go-To-Market Planning and Revenue Planning Aren’t the Same

GTM planning is a strategy that details how a company will sell its products. It’s a roadmap for a company or product to move from creation to customer. This planning involves many components, including:

  • Identifying the target market.
  • Defining the value proposition.
  • Setting sales and pricing strategies.
  • Developing the marketing strategy.

Revenue planning has a different objective. It’s the financial process that a business uses to forecast its future sales revenue. It is often the foundation for the company budget, estimating the expected income over a given period. Revenue planning includes:

  • Sales forecasting: Estimating the amount of product or service the company expects to sell.
  • Pricing strategy: Establishing how much the company will charge for its products or services.
  • Revenue recognition: Defining when and how the company will recognize revenue in its financial statements.
  • Revenue management: Managing and optimizing the company’s revenue, often through pricing strategies, customer demand management, and selling
    of perishable inventory.

The most significant difference between GTM planning and revenue planning is the focus. GTM focuses on the outline of the path to market and how to win in it. Revenue planning concentrates on financial forecasting and management.

In practice, the two often overlap. For example, your decisions in the GTM plan around elements like the target market and pricing strategy influence revenue forecasts. Similarly, the forecasted revenue can impact the GTM strategy as it mayaffect decisions such as where to allocate marketing resources.

The next part of your GTM strategy is the process.

Defining Your GTM Process

After you have your plan pillars, it’s time to reimagine the GTM process. That has been a pain point for many enterprises with no guardrails to stay on the path of competing opinions and priorities. Follow this journey to define and confirm the process.

  • Do your market research thoroughly with an emphasis on how things look today and what they could be tomorrow: Remember that the market isn’t static. Think back to all those changes driven by consumer shifts—they’re still happening every day.
  • Define GTM goals you expect to achieve and tie them back to KPIs: You already decided on the KPIs earlier. Now, you need to bring goals and KPIs together and discern how they interact with each other.
  • Develop marketing and sales strategies that complement each other without friction: You want to keep things between teams as positive and inclusive as possible. They should both weigh in on strategy development to ensure alignment and that there is no duplication of efforts.
  • Define sales and marketing SLA: Sales and marketing alignment is vital to GTM success. A key tool for achieving alignment is a sales and marketing service
    level agreement (SLA). Sales and marketing SLAs ensure harmonious sales and marketing collaboration by clarifying who needs to do what and when they need to do it. It ensures accountability for all.
  • Check your timeline and budget for consistency to achieve specific objectives:Timelines and GTM budgets are not set in stone. You should revisit your models around timeline and budget frequently to be proactive about meeting objectives. Timelines and budgets have to be in sync.
  • Find GTM planning and reporting tools that are flexible and customizable to eliminate plan complexity: Most GTM planning and reporting tools are rigid and don’t allow for much variability in GTM models. Other solutions are too manual and ripe for errors. Review many different platforms and focus on those that use bottom-up models. Ideally, you want to use your model with time-phased quantities and leading indicators as your guide to developing strategies for customer acquisition from awareness to conversion.

How to Build Your GTM Sales Strategy for Success

The next step of a GTM strategy is developing its sales aspect. A GTM sales strategy is the area where you concentrate on the tactics and plans regarding sales activities. It defines the specific role of sales in bringing your product to market.

Within this strategy, there are many considerations, and its development requires a data-driven approach to the models where you can account for any “what if” scenarios. Here are some things to consider:

  • The tools and resources sales need to be successful in their efforts. Building agility into the model ensures you don’t waste time and resources.
  • Mapping buyer’s journey stages to sales pipeline stages provides greater clarity for sellers to keep moving prospects down the funnel.
  • Determining the sales channels and offering mix to use when bringing the product to market.
  • Creating sales plays, which are repeatable actions a salesperson takes to improve their chance of success.
  • Hiring and onboarding sales team members that align with the strategy.

These components will all be critical for your GTM plan—and there are many other areas to develop regarding the market and the product.

Focusing on the Market and Product through the Lens of the Ansoff Matrix

Earlier, the Ansoff matrix had a brief introduction as an essential component of the GTM framework. Now, let’s dive into it further. It’s a model that organizations can leverage when in growth mode. It enables them to understand risk levels within different growth strategies. On the X-axis, it features existing and new products. The Y-axis includes existing and new markets. “Market” can mean a geographic region or a target demographic.

The Four Quadrants of the Ansoff Matrix
Market Penetration
  • This box focuses on increasing sales of existing products in an existing market.
  • It’s the least risky.
  • Companies use tactics such as increasing marketing efforts, making pricing more competitive, or acquiring a competitor to deepen their market penetration.
  • An example would be a business that produces consumer goods where there is high competition. In order to capture more market share, the company may launch campaigns targeting competitors’ customers by offering them a better price point.
Market Development

This box involves selling existing products into new markets. It’s the next least risky.

Businesses playing in this box determine a new segment or demographic to market to for their existing products.

An example could be a mature SaaS company with a high-quality product that wants to expand. The expansion could be to another country or new users outside of their currently defined target market.

Product Development
  • This box relates to introducing new products to an existing market. It’s often referred to as a mechanism to expand brand loyalty.
  • Organizations attempt to gain a larger share of wallets from their customer base through research and development investments to develop new products or provide a white-label product from a third party.
  • An example of this strategy would be a B2B company with a customer base that’s engaged and loyal but needs new functionality. To meet the needs of their existing market, they innovate to deliver a new solution that solves the problems and may integrate with an existing platform.

This box is the concept of entering a new market with new products.

  • It’s the highest risk.
  • There are two kinds of diversification: related and unrelated.
  • Related diversification involves synergies between existing businesses and new products or markets. For example, a company producing one type of product from a specific material could diversify to make new products from that same material.
  • Unrelated diversification doesn’t contain synergies and is an entirely new venture. This is where many startups fall. They are in new territory with a new concept that’s new to the market. Such an endeavor requires a lot of investment in brand awareness as a starting point. The GTM plan for startups must be defensible and realistic in defining how they’ll acquire customers.

With these insights, you can build a GTM strategy that best serves your organization, employees, and market. Then you have to “sell” the idea persuasively.

Developing a GTM Pitch Deck

Your GTM pitch deck is critical in getting buy-in and being able to execute. It’s an important communication tool and requires detail and proof points.

What is a GTM pitch deck?

Your GTM pitch deck is critical in getting buy-in and being able to execute. It’s an important communication tool and requires detail and proof points.

A GTM pitch deck outlines the new product launch in a visual format. It defines the GTM for all stakeholders. You’ll use it to:

  • Inform cross-functional teams about the GTM strategy.
  • Illustrate the larger business strategy and connect it to the product launch.
  • Identify the pricing, audience, market, and timing for the GTM strategy.


The deck should include:

  • The defined customer segment and why the product fulfills a need for them.

  • Validation of the timing, target audience, and market.

  • The marketing and sales channels you’ll use to engage and acquire customers.

  • The resources needed to carry out the marketing and sales strategies.

  • The numbers regarding revenue and customer acquisition goals and what methods you’ll launch to hit these.

  • The KPIs you will track to ensure the plan is moving ahead (e.g., CAC, LTV). The pricing matrix for your products.

  • The budget for all GTM efforts.

  • The product roadmap and the investments and resources required.

  • The buyer’s journey and how you’ll interact with prospective customers at each stage.

With your pitch deck in the works, you’ll need to rely on having the right tools.

Using GTM Strategy Templates and Software

Templates can be a helping hand for those new to GTM strategy. You don’t have to start from scratch with a GTM strategy template. It’s easy to be overwhelmed at this point, especially if your organization is a startup that lacks data and isn’t sure where to start. A GTM strategy template allows you to create, organize, and track your GTM strategy in real-time. It includes many benefits:

  • It breaks down your strategy into phases.
  • Alignment between teams is easier with a documented plan.
  • Anyone can view it to understand what comes next in the launch plan.
  • With a flexible, dynamic template, you can track progress, shift due dates, change budgets, and more.

A GTM strategy template is a guided process where you put in the inputs and receive the outputs. With a template, you have the ability to compare different changes
and how those things can affect the plan. In the Xply platform, templates are called
playbooks and serve as the vehicle for testing scenarios of changing variables.

Building a playbook is an easy step-by-step process that provides you with both direction and flexibility. To create a playbook, you first start with the revenue goal for the year and work backward from this.

You’ll add inputs, including when you’re likely to realize the revenue within the year, the product offering with pricing, different regions you’ll be marketing to, and what you’ll allocate to marketing and sales funnels. Out of the box, you’ll have before you a GTM plan. The platform generated it for you, but you have more options to critique and change the model and see the consequences of this.

You may decide to adjust the responsibilities of territories or sellers if you know from previous validation that one will outperform the other. In the playbook, you can also look at the split of revenue between products.

The playbook template offers very granular information relating to the customer journey and the work needed for marketing and sales to hit their number. It shows you funnel analysis within the context of your year-end target. You can also visualize the pipeline required over time that will drive you toward that goal. You can slice and dice it in many ways, with many different inputs.

Playbooks are a unique way to look at many scenarios. With Xply’s framework, you’ll have a tool that’s disrupting the standard GTM planning and reinventing it for the modern enterprise.

With the right platform, you can control the continuous refinement of your GTM strategy, reacting in real-time to internal and external impacts. It’s not something you do once; it should be a living document, and the best way to ensure your strategy is always accountable to your goals is with MultiplyGTM.