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March 27, 2024

Go-To-Market matrix: A 3-step framework to improve your product’s landing

Working on your go-to-market strategy can be complex and daunting. For the last fourteen years, we’ve developed and perfected a 3-step approach that simplifies the process and goes beyond the standard demographics and geography-based approach.

Most companies think of their offering as a single product. 

  • “We have a call center software.”
  • “We provide accounting for the SMBs.”
  • “We are freight forwarders.”
  • “We provide a ChatBot for HR.”

 In this guide, we’ll show you how thinking of the same product as multiple different products will help you break down your go-to-market process into small experiments. These small steps are faster and cheaper to execute than a traditional large-scale approach.

We’ll use our consulting services as an example to show you how the approach works, how it has helped us speed up the landing in new markets, and how it has reduced the associated risks and costs.

Disclaimer: throughout this guide, we’ll talk about products, but what we mean by it are products, services, software, content or anything that your customers are paying for.

What is a product? What can be a product?

Most companies think of a product as a physical object they sell—an SKU, a software license, a book, training, or an hour of their services.

If you focus on the definition from the go-to-market perspective, a product is something you can sell repeatedly without changing your business processes. 

You are going through the same or similar process when producing, marketing, and ultimately selling the product.

We are a consulting company. As such, we serve our clients with a combination of consulting hours, knowledge sharing, tools, and network—exact proportions vary from project to project.

Our product is a package called "Go-To-Market 12 Weeks" (GTM12W in short). 

For 12 weeks, we follow the same journey with our clients and provide the same mix of services.

  1. Workshops and know-how exchange
  2. Mapping the structure of the go-to-market experiments
  3. Executing and adjusting the sprints together or on behalf of our client.

From the traditional go-to-market perspective, this would seem like a single product. However, we realized that our clients' reasons for buying this and the problems they are looking to solve are vastly different. They even describe the only product as three or five different products.

Step 1. Use Cases

Why, but really, WHY do our clients buy such a package? What is the problem they actually solve with "Go-To-Market sprints"?

It took us some time to figure out - and then had a significant impact on how we work and market ourselves.

Speaking with our clients (and chasing new ones!) revealed there are patterns in what they perceive problems to be solved. Customer value can only be generated through those cases.

1.1. Some clients find it helpful to take the first international steps on specific markets in a guided yet real-life environment. Very first connections, discussions, and failures safely.

1.2. Others realized that their organization was not yet able to market a new product to a new audience. The value is in transforming behaviour through moving away from old methods, involving an external party’s hands-on participation outside the comfort zone.

1.3. In some cases, we focus on validating new products or a new market. The best validation always comes from actual sales attempts, and our method helps that without the need to set up a whole new organization. Market testing under the radar, a low bet for our clients.

1.4. Sometimes, finding product development focus is the real goal: experiments should reveal which product benefits & features are actually important.

1.5. Some clients only want to push forward a "stuck product that deserves more.” Typically, a visionary CxO feels that the product’s business performance is not at the vision yet but can not fully put a finger on a structured next step.

We already have at least five use cases, or, in other words, five different values, that our customers take from the exact same solution. In their own business context, they are happy to live with the use case closest to their heart but do not pay attention to the others.

We started with seeing one single solution - now it is already 5 customer products. 

Use Cases definition

Step 2: The Buyers

Our company works with businesses, so we’ll refer to buyers as decision-makers. WHO is buying the package?

Here comes the next twist.

Even in business-to-business relations, you should consider specific roles—actual individuals who tend to think and behave similarly in the same situation.

It is not enough to consider company types, as most strategies do. Even within the same organization, decision-makers in different roles may think differently. They extract different values from the same cooperation.

If you’ve been in sales long enough, you’ve mastered different expectations from different parts of your client’s organization's management team. Let’s skip the even more complex group buying and user-recommender-buyer situations for now.

In our case, the GTM12W product is bought by people in the following decision-making roles:

2.1. StartUp CEOs, North America 

2.2. StartUp CEOs, DACH region 

2.3. StartUp CEOs, CEE region

Despite popular belief, geography does NOT always play a crucial role in how decision-makers think in a particular industry. However, in the case of start-ups, it DOES make a difference—at least in our field.

2.4. StartUp Product Managers, North America

2.5. StartUp Product Managers, DACH region

Why is CEE missing, unlike in the case of CEOs? Our product manager target group practically does not exist at CEE-headquartered startups.

2.6. CEOs of Software Development Companies

2.7. Investors (that's also further segmented, but for now, we leave it as is)

All in all, there are seven target audiences, each potentially requiring different communication, lingo, approaches, values and delivery. All these groups see the same product we offer from differing perspectives, depending on where they sit in the organization and their background.

See below for the summary of target audiences.

Step 3. Go-To-Market Matrix.

It’s time to combine the two aspects and build our structured experiments.

As you might have guessed, it will be a matrix.

5 use cases x 7 target audiences = 35 potential combinations.

This means that theoretically, considering all possible viewpoints, we have 35 separate products from one single solution.

You have more products than you think, as we promised. 

That's a lot. While the founders and top salespeople are often mentally able to shift between these potential products, proactivity and delegation become challenges. We can not pursue all these opportunities. Somehow, we need to figure out and structure the approach!

Step 3.1. Past experiences and assumptions.

First, let's prioritize how strong these combinations are - which is the product we sold most, which is liked, which is the most promising, where is our faith, or what we would like to see as a next strategic direction?

We recommend to classify into a maximum of 4 categories:

✅ Best potential fits (primary propositions)

?   "Don't know, may or may not work" (not yet tried)

X   Drop, does not make sense. 

That's essentially a go-to-market road map to start with. Every viable combination is a good scaling test. It's also a great starting point for delegation and automation when traction kicks in.

3.2. Start experimenting one-by-one

In the beginning, pick one or two use case-target segment cells (marked with mustard colour), focus on these, and reach out quickly and aggressively. Make sure you have enough interactions, or the lack of, to learn fast and iterate.

At the end of every experiment, there is a decision to be made.

  1. In most cases, early sprints end in dead ends: despite great assumptions, the market responds slowly or does not even respond. Depending on the lessons learned and the exact circumstances, you must move quickly into another combination.
  2. If the response is positive, you may have found a nice spot that is worth delving into and investing processes to scale up.

Once you have success with one or more such combinations, you may also extend to test further cells. For example, in our case, the marketing of a few successful products is already supported by processes and generates revenue while we run experiments for other combinations.

This is the step-by-step breakdown of our approach, which helped almost a hundred startups and innovators find their beachhead markets or focus on the best-converting use cases.

What do you think? Do you see more opportunities in your products with this structure?

Would you like to know more about the next steps or the how? Contact us here.

Follow us on social media and let us know! We plan to publish more information on our frameworks and case studies once anyone lifts our NDAs.