Market maturity can make or break the B2B go-to-market strategy for SaaS companies. Learn how to create the right GTM strategy for your market.
As a SaaS start-up, you typically have one goal in mind: to grow. Luckily, with a solid go-to-market (GTM) strategy, you can achieve T2D3 growth.
Learn how to create the best GTM strategy for your B2B SaaS start-up with an in-depth look into the six channels we personally utilize as our ‘go-to’ whenever we start a new engagement. Of course, take this all with a grain of salt. Not every strategy is going to apply 100% –it must be contextual based on the needs of the company, the reality of the market, and other factors.
- What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?
- How do I create a GTM strategy for my start-up?
- Steps to building a GTM strategy for B2B SaaS start-ups
- Organic channels – Where do I start?
- Paid media – How do I best leverage paid channels?
- Paid Search
- Paid Social
- Organic social – What should I post?
- Outbound marketing – Does it actually work?
- Content strategy – How do I add value?
- Partnerships & Channel Marketing – Do I need a partner strategy?
- Bonus: Third-Party Review Sites
- Summary: GTM Strategies for B2B SaaS Start-Ups
What is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy?
A GTM strategy is an action plan to reach your target audience. As a B2B SaaS start-up, how do you decide where to go-to-market? More importantly, how do you do it successfully?
When considering your GTM strategy, there are virtually infinite channels you can enter –each with its own pros and cons. Do you focus on social channels or building your website's SEO authority? What should your first paid search campaign be? What do you need when creating your first outbound campaign? The list goes on. You have questions. And we have answers.
How do I create a GTM strategy for my start-up?
You're not ready to invest in marketing and build a GTM strategy unless you get to product-market fit (PMF). You need to know and understand what your product-market fit is, and what a good customer looks like before you can execute a solid GTM strategy to go after more.
Here’s how you can create a GTM strategy for your start-up.
9 Steps to building a GTM strategy for B2B SaaS start-ups
- Product-market fit –Creating a solid GTM strategy for your start-up requires a clear understanding of your target market. That means, before doing anything you need to understand your company’s TAM (Total Addressable Market) to SAM (Specific Addressable Market).
- Competitive landscape –Complete your competitive research and utilize a Best, Better, Only framework to solidify your company’s best attributes to see how they compare to your competition. How do you stand out?
- Identify your ICP and personas –If you don’t nail your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and personas, you won’t know who to target, or how.
- Understand your buyer's journey –Understanding your buyer’s journey will allow you to build a solid GTM strategy so you can attract and develop relationships with prospects that ultimately become paying customers. Know your road map so you can nurture your prospects every step of the way.
- Define and build positioning and messaging –Fully understand the job to be done, why change, why you, and why now?
- Test your messaging –Leverage campaigns like ABM to test your messaging so you know what resonates and what doesn’t.
- Create your marketing plan –ensuring that the entire team is aligned towards the right goals, KPIs, OKRs, etc.
- Optimize your channels –After deploying your strategy on multiple channels, it’s important to always measure success so you can improve your strategy.
- Align with sales –Your marketing means nothing unless you align with sales.
B2B marketing is broken down into several channels. At least for the first couple of campaigns as you get ramped up and test to see what works, and what doesn’t.
Think about your inbound channels –organic, your paid search, your social –both paid and organic, content, and PR. And also your outbound channel for account-based marketing. What do they look like? These channels are immediate items you should be tackling in order to kick off your demand generation and start your marketing strategy off right.
Now that you are in the right mindset, it’s time to dive into creating a balanced go-to-market strategy for startups and what your opportunities in those channels look like.
Organic channels –Where do I start?
Organic is really about making sure that people are coming and visiting your website by just doing some sort of Google search, those SEM, SEO, etc. A lot of that has to do with how good is your messaging on the website? Are you targeting the right keywords? Does the look and feel of your brand resonate with the lead you are targeting?
Let’s dive into some strategies you can try when considering elevating your organic channels in the SaaS space.
More often than not, a lot of webpages are not optimized for keywords because there typically isn’t a long-term strategy behind it. Start by building out an effective keyword plan.
Think about what your prospects will be searching for and check for the volume, competitive density, and keyword difficulty. From there, prioritize the keywords you feel have a healthy balance of all three –of course with the right terms you want to be found for too.
Consider building out topic clusters to help force a link between multiple article groups to ultimately help increase your SERP rankings across your entire site. Learn more on topic clusters and how to build them here.
Without a topic cluster or SEO strategy, or the proper research –you’re essentially shooting blanks. Properly planning out your topic clusters, target keywords and seeking for competitive gaps will effectively supercharge your efforts. Learn more on SEO optimizations here.
Equally so, it's important to be answering a question that people are actually searching for in their own words. Find ways to work the keywords into the page itself. Volume and other factors, personally, come secondary. It works as a point of validation that people are interested, but it should always begin with adding value to your prospect.
Technical SEO, from its name, is the practice of on-page optimizations, but from a technical perspective. Think page load times, image compressions, meta titles, alt text, etc.
Search engines today are not only looking for the right content to deliver, but also considers the browsing experience for the user viewing the content. They also leverage this information to help determine what is the right content to serve, when to serve it, and who to serve it to.
So when you make Google-Gods happy, they will bless your content with traffic –and maybe leads.
For more on both on-page and technical SEO optimizations and best practices, I often love to draw from this article for inspiration –and of course utilize it as my checklist.
Website and online presence
I often hear from CEOs and founders during the beginning of my engagement with them, “Nothing ever converts on our website, so don’t put your energy into it. No one ever sees it anyways. It brings us no leads”
In 2022, for modern SaaS companies, your website acts as the single-source-of-truth for information, and brand perception. Some call it “the law”. Meaning, if it’s not on the website it does not exist.
It dictates how customers view you. What they understand about your business. And in the ever-growing competitive landscape of SaaS companies, standing out with the right messaging and brand is incredibly important to gain market share.
Imagine if you were putting $50,000 of your hard-earned money into a car. Which dealership would you go with? The one that has a nice website that shares all the right details you’re looking for? or the one that just gives and about us, their address, and contact information. (You would be surprised how many companies actually only do this!!).
Ask yourself when was the last time your website messaging was truly, and whole-heartedly overhauled? Are you talking about the right jobs-to-be-done and pain points? Does your existing brand speak to the current target market? Do you have the correct navigation structure that makes browsing a breeze? Do you have the right conversion elements that make prospects share their information with you?
Oftentimes, refreshing your web and online presence can lead to tremendous results. It’s not just a pretty face –it’s fundamentally redeveloping your company’s character and personality. It's your opportunity to speak to a specific ICP that maybe didn’t resonate before because of the previous site.
Consider staying laser focused on a subsect of the market, and create a brand + messaging that speaks and appeals directly to them.
Pro tip: Never talk about yourself on your website. I see this way too often. Companies often say “Company X does this so you can do Y”, when in reality it could have been positioned as “Gain Y with Company X”. A simple switch can often lead to drastic results. No one ever wants to hear about someone else, they want to know “what’s in it for me.”
Here's a sneak peek; if you want to learn more about the following then download our guide:
- Outbound marketing –Does it actually work?
- Content strategy –How do I add value?
- Partnerships & Channel Marketing –Do I need a partner strategy?
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At Kalungi, Alex works with companies to help them discover their marketing potential. Through high-level strategy and day-to-day management, Alex helps B2B SaaS companies scale their marketing departments the right way, enabling them to acquire the highest value customers, minimize churn, and drive ARR.