Go-to-Market Plan: Necessary for a Functioning Business

Companies are constantly in an active process of new market entries (go-to-markets) or product launches. Be it when new markets are to be opened up or new products or product variants are launched on the market.

In this article, you’ll learn why a good go-to-market is critical to business success and how to approach market entries with a structured plan.

Go to Market Plan - what does that actually mean?

A Go-to-Market Plan is as concrete an action plan as possible that describes repeatable and scalable processes for initiating, winning, and growing customer relationships. 

Two milestones a company must pass on the way to a successful Go-to-Market:

Repeatability in the Go-to-Market context means that the company can easily adapt market entries with similar products or in similar markets in marketing and sales. 

Scalability in this context means that the go-to-market approach requires fewer resources for growing results as market penetration progresses.


For an overview with tips from practice for practice, see our video below.  

Go-to-Market - Challenges companies are facing

When it comes to Go-to-Market, companies often have difficulties in dealing with following issues:
  • What does the ideal customer profile look like? 
  • How do I measure the success of the Go-to-Market and how do I optimize?
  • Which sales channels reach our customers?
  • What content and messages do I need for which customer?

Challenge 1: What does the ideal customer profile look like?

Many marketing managers do think hard about the type of company they want to enter into a customer relationship with. However, the extremely important step of examining the buying center with regard to the ideal customer profile is often missing. This means understanding who within the company I will definitely have to deal with in the initiation phase. And in addition: who do I need to understand well in his/her current situation in order to provide him/her with an excellent customer experience.

 Answer the following questions to help you meet this challenge:

  • Who in this company is currently experiencing the most pain regarding our product or service? 
  • Who will use the product later, who will decide on the finances, who is an influential person in the company?
  • To what extent are the different people in this context aware that this pain point exists?
  • Which people or roles will we encounter in our sales processes or distribution processes within the company?

Challenge 2: What content and messages do I need for which customers?

Marketing and sales managers often struggle with the question of which messages are suitable and effective within a storyline, which should grab the customer as strongly as possible, during the Go-to-Market Strategy. Here it is particularly important to understand that the path is often taken to create or use a content or a message for a wide variety of customer profiles. 

Ask yourself the following questions to help you meet this challenge:

  • What value proposition have we formulated for our different customer profiles? 
  • How consistent is the overall storyline we’re trying to tell?
  • At what point do we communicate our value proposition or customer benefits in a way that is too cumbersome or too complicated?

Go to Market in action:
Customer Insights Suite

Customer Insights Suite Light dark version

Challenge 3: On which channels do I reach the target customers?

Over time, companies often assemble a patchwork of marketing channels. In doing so, they are often influenced by the complexity of competition, market and internal company factors. Especially for an effective Go-to-Market strategy, it is essential not to overload the portfolio of sales channels in order to be able to test elements quickly. 

 Ask yourself the following questions to help you meet this challenge:
  • If we had to reduce ourselves to one channel in marketing, what would it be? 
  • Which of our channels can help us achieve demonstrable new customer success quickly, which have a more medium-term effect, and which help us in the long term?
  • Which one of our channels that is currently already in the portfolio is working so that we consider it in the Go-to-Market (gtm)?

Challenge 4: How do I measure the success of the Go-to-Market and how do I become optimizable?

Go-to-Markets often pose the difficulty for companies to set up measuring points, KPIs for transparency at the right places. Here, companies get bogged down either by a multitude of key figures that are no longer easy to keep track of or by not measuring success at all. This is particularly fatal when a competitive advantage has just been established within the target market. 

Answer the following questions to help you meet this challenge:
  • What conversions represent a bottleneck in the overall Go-to-Market pipeline where things take a long time?
  • What conversion steps from an unknown/unaware person to a customer purchase decision can we measure?
  • What key metric can we use to document the success of the Go-to-Market ?

Go to Market: Market Positioning

In most cases, market entry means defining a category and positioning oneself as a business strategy in a customer segment. In doing so, it is important to understand which market segments exist, what the competitive landscape is like, and whether customer needs are not sufficiently met.

This results in sustainable product marketing within the right target segments.  

Go to Market En Kreisdiagramm
Market Positioning

Examples of good Go-to-Markets.

What we consider an extremely good example of a Go-to-Market Strategy from a very well-known (former) startup is Rand Fishkin’s company MOZ (formerly SEOMoz). In his pitch deck from 2011, Rand shows very clearly how they went about their marketing at the time (similar to our recommendations).

Go-to-Market Plan Template - Discover the Playbook

We published a playbook that shows the way tractionwise masters Go-to-Markets or product launches in customer projects. You can use this playbook like a Go-to-Market template or a Go-to-Market checklist for your own market entries and product launches. 

Use this playbook as a basis for an internal training for your product-, marketing- or sales team. This is guaranteed to give your marketing and sales strategy a boost. Successful customer experiences thrive on information sharing.

Take a look!

FAQ - Common questions about the Go-to-Market plan

The market entry strategy or the strategy for the product launch should be structured into the following elements: 

 1.  Target customer, customer development or customer development                         2.  Development of a relevant value proposition design including content storyline       3.  Define a powerful, sustainable marketing and sales portfolio                             4.  Define and optimize key performance indicators (KPI)

Read more in our Go-to-Market Playbook

The plan for a unique market entry or product launch is a replicable and at the same time scalable plan of action, which takes into account the customer orientation in order to sustainably reach the right target groups without wastage. 

A product market fit, in startup or lean startup parlance, is the milestone where both a sufficiently large target market exists into which the targeted product and business model fit.


Feel free to read more about this in our article on Product-Market-Fit

The criteria and metrics for documenting a successful product launch include:
  • Identify your target market
  • Identify your target customer
  • Determine your brand positioning
  • Define your unique value proposition
  • Identify existing marketing and sales channels

While prototypes are used internally in companies for product management and product development, the Minimal Viable Product (MVP for short) is used to gain early adopters, i.e. early users or customers in the target market. 

Read more about the Minimum Viable Product in our article.


About Me

As a founder and entrepreneur, I experience daily how important customer centricity is for companies.

Incorporate the essential perspectives of customers into your product genesis and marketing processes. That is what puts horsepower on the road and moves your projects forward.


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