6 Steps to Improve Your Go-To-Market Maturity

Joe Andrews

What defines a mature go-to-market model in B2B companies? Is it having a growth strategy focused on new market segments? Does it depend on scalable operational processes and systems? Or having clear alignment between teams responsible for strategic planning and execution? Does it include a focus on account-based marketing (ABM), a topic with a lot of buzz today?

InsideView just published a study of over 500 B2B sales and marketing professionals with new insight on go-to-market (GTM) maturity, a topic of growing interest for many business leaders.

Why does your go-to-market maturity matter?

There’s a strong correlation between beating revenue targets and GTM maturity. In fact, the companies that exceeded their revenue goals last year were 5.3 times more likely to be at the top two stages of maturity (“orchestrated” or “dominant”). On the other hand, among laggards who fell short of their revenue goals, 74 percent say they’re at the two least mature stages (“fragmented” or “automated”). That’s a striking difference.

I’ve had many conversations with customers during the past few years about the capabilities that are important to them and where they’ve invested to be more effective in marketing and sales – e.g. initiatives around strategic planning, operational processes, and their use of data to make decisions. These conversations led us to develop the GTM maturity model as a way of having more consultative conversations. We noticed a couple things – first, it was a really popular conversation starter. Everyone we spoke with about it in B2B had something to say about where they were currently on the spectrum and where they aspired to be. Second, clear patterns emerged about the attributes that comprised each of the stages. Our next step was to do a quantitative study.

Where are companies today in their go-to-market maturity?

  • In our survey, more than half of respondents (54 percent) ranked themselves low in go-to-market maturity - either at the "Fragmented" or "Automated" stages. They’re still using manual and ad hoc tactics to support dated sales and marketing approaches. Many are struggling with disconnected systems, siloed data, and limited visibility between teams.
  • Approximately one-third (31 percent) considered their company to be at the "Aligned" stage, which indicates an ability to have marketing work well with sales, focus on the right campaigns, and standardize on one set of data. This middle stage indicates a level of maturity that most companies have yet to achieve.
  • A small slice (15 percent) of companies see themselves as being advanced in their go-to-market maturity - at either ‘Orchestrated’ and ‘Dominant’ stages. These companies are leveraging account-based strategies, driving enterprise-wide alignment and use data science as a weapon.

Knowing your target market is key

You’re likely familiar with SiriusDecisions’ Demand Waterfall, a decade-old concept. In 2017, they unveiled a significant update that added “Target Demand” as the first stage of the revenue management process. This stage shows the foundational need to define a potential market before doing anything else since all of the efficient and creative demand generation in the world will be wasted if the initial targeting is off.

We advocate that marketing and sales work together on understanding their TAM as the very first step. But is anyone doing it this way? In our study, more than half (53 percent) of companies either never measured their target market or did it on an ad-hoc basis. The leading companies who exceeded their revenue goals were 3.3 times more likely to regularly review their target market.

Many companies are hampered by organizational silos, manual processes, and data gaps

What’s getting in the way of companies doing better GTM planning? There’s a large focus on data. According to a blog post by Forrester’s Laura Ramos, “B2B marketers are not yet adept at using data and insight to develop ideal customer profile(s), size the total available market for their portfolio, and orchestrate a go-to-market strategy across marketing and sales to pursue lookalike ICPs.”[1] The typical process for many companies looks like this - first, executives assemble an ICP and then a TAM. In some companies, this is done with great precision and analytical horsepower, perhaps by a corporate strategy team. In others, it’s a SWAG. Either way, it doesn’t often find its way to front-line revenue teams responsible for execution. It frequently sits on a spreadsheet that’s never shared.

These silos cause execution gaps and missed opportunities to achieve top-line growth. Sales territories may not be set up correctly or aligned with marketing campaign targets. Operations may not be able to keep the right accounts up-to-date or measure performance against plan. Revenue teams usually measure leads, opportunity pipeline and closed-won revenue, but not typically against the ICP and TAM set by the strategy and executive teams.

How to improve your GTM maturity

These are the top planned areas of investment in the next 12 months by sales and marketing leaders that could help you become more mature in your go-to-market:
Strengthen alignment between sales and marketing - tight alignment impacts everything from setting the strategy to execution. We’ve written an eBook with more suggestions on this topic.

  1. Measure progress against Total Addressable Market (TAM) as an ongoing initiative - this is definitely not a set-it and forget-it exercise. Start to do it annually and eventually more often to evolve your company strategy and align revenue teams to it.
  2. Enhance the customer experience across the entire lifecycle - many companies are focused on making the initial sale and then renewing and upselling a customer, but it’s important to look at the other stages like onboarding, training, professional services that will improve retention.
  3. Start/increase account-based sales and marketing execution - many are at the beginning stage here. There are many articles on this topic.
  4. Use data science to guide marketing and sales strategies - here’s where it helps to be more targeted in who to sell to. Consider leveraging technologies like AI and predictive modeling.
  5. Implement or improve your customer data management strategy - having a single source of truth on customers with clean and accurate data is key to defining your ICP, building your TAM and enabling sales and marketing execution.

[1] ABM: Just Another Name For Go-To-Market Planning And Execution? April 2018 Forrester Blog Post by Laura Ramos

Joe Andrews is Vice President of Product and Solution Marketing for InsideView, a company that helps B2B companies define go-to-market strategies and drive rapid market growth with its targeting intelligence platform. InsideView recently launched a new product, Apex, to help companies improve their go-to-market success.