SaaS Marketing

What is a Go-to-Market Strategy for SaaS?

Toni Koraza
December 20, 2023
What is a Go-to-Market Strategy for SaaS?

Bringing your product to market without a go-to-market strategy can result in disastrous outcomes. 

It can lead to pouring resources into the wrong strategies, failing to garner leads and conversions, or facing stiff competition in a market you now realize you shouldn’t have entered. 

That’s where the go-to-market plan comes in. It guides the teams in your business on how to reach the target market and demonstrate your product’s value in the shortest time. 

As a SaaS SEO agency, we work with SaaS companies on strategy. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create a go-to-market strategy for your SaaS business. 

What We'll Cover:

What is a Go-to-Market Strategy for SaaS? 

The go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a comprehensive plan outlining how to bring your product or service to the market and attract potential customers. 

It covers all or most of these elements: 

  • Who is your potential target market?
  • Where are they most active?
  • What will be our value proposition?
  • Which will be the right marketing channels to target them?
  • What kind of marketing strategies will we use?

This plan isn’t only for new entrants. Many SaaS companies use a GTM strategy to enter a new market with an existing product or to test new additions to the existing products. 

Why is Go-to-Market Strategy Important for SaaS? 

An effective GTM plan gives everyone, from the sales and marketing teams to the product teams, the direction they need to create strategies that deliver the target goals. 

Here are seven reasons to create this plan for your business. 

#1 Rapid Market Expansion 

The most important thing a GTM strategy does is help allocate resources. 

For example, your company could invest in 10 different marketing strategies. But when you’re entering a market, you might not have the resources to target every channel. With the research that goes into a GTM plan, you can find the right strategies and campaigns for your business that will generate results quickly. 

This minimizes the risk of failure and expedites market entry and growth. It’s also beneficial to target new markets with existing products. 

#2 Targeted Customer Engagement 

SaaS solutions often cater to specific industries and niches. A GTM strategy helps identify and engage the right target audience for your product, saving resources and ensuring a higher conversion rate. 

Targeted customer engagement maximizes the efficiency of your marketing efforts and leads to higher-quality leads and conversions. For example, instead of sending your email campaigns to a general, non-specific audience, targeting a specific buyer persona and creating relevant content that resonates with them can increase email responses. 

By creating targeted landing pages for Good Annotations, MADX helped them rank for 5500 keywords, bringing them 365,000 page views in the first six months. 

sample report of organic traffic and organic keywords

Image source 

#3 Revenue Growth and Sustainability 

SaaS businesses rely on consistent revenue streams. A well-crafted GTM strategy ensures an initial influx of customers and lays the foundation for sustainable, recurring revenue. 

By aligning product positioning with market needs, companies can fuel revenue growth. This involves;

  • Optimizing resource allocation for maximum impact
  • Establishing a strong brand presence
  • Tailoring offerings to customer demands through targeted market research

A GTM strategy makes your business sustainable by finding out where your product is lacking and the fronts where your competitors are strong. You can then utilize the gaps to position your product in a strong light. 

#4 Competitive Advantage 

A GTM plan involves assessing the competitive landscape. Through this research, you discover a lot about the existing players in the market. Many SaaS companies also cover indirect competitors to make their findings as precise as possible. 

This data provides a significant advantage. You can use it to differentiate your brand, highlight your USP, and stay ahead of competitors. For example, you can promote your SaaS tool's unique features and define yourself as a game-changer in your niche, giving you a competitive edge.

#5 Customer Retention and Expansion 

A GTM strategy can help you drive new leads that are primed to convert. But many don’t know it’s equally powerful for customer retention and expansion.  

By delivering value and maintaining customer relationships, you can secure recurring business. For example, during GTM target market research, if you discover a particular customer segment likes getting valuable content over emails or videos, you can send them your top-ranking, helpful articles. This can help build and strengthen customer relationships. 

You can then upsell your premium plans to these customers, get more revenue, and expand your business. 

#6 Adaptation to Market Changes 

Market conditions and customer expectations can change rapidly. A GTM strategy allows your SaaS business to be agile and responsive, adapting to shifts in the industry. For example, when ChatGPT took the world by storm, many companies started adopting AI features in their SaaS tools. 

GTM strategy keeps you updated on the changing market trends and customer expectations, which lets you optimize your product and marketing strategies. This ability to adapt ensures that your product remains relevant and in demand even as the market evolves. 

#7 Investor Confidence 

A GTM strategy enhances investor confidence through several key mechanisms: 

  1. A well-defined GTM strategy demonstrates a thorough understanding of the target market and market intelligence. This clarity inspires confidence in investors regarding the company's ability to navigate market dynamics. 
  2. A sound GTM strategy includes a realistic competitive landscape assessment, highlighting how the company plans to differentiate itself. This differentiation contributes to perceived market viability and resilience, which appeal to investors seeking long-term growth potential. 
  3. A GTM strategy emphasizing sustainability and scalability can particularly appeal to investors. Demonstrating a plan for entering a market and establishing a lasting presence contributes to a positive perception of the company's long-term potential. 

Types of SaaS Go-To-Market Strategy 

When choosing a GTM strategy, you have three options:

  • Product-led
  • Sales-led
  • A hybrid version

When choosing, you don't need to go on your gut or decide based on what you’re familiar with or what’s more popular. 

Here’s a detailed analysis of these three options and how to select the best one for you. 

Product-Led Strategy 

Product-led GTM strategy is about putting your product in the forefront. The product attracts, engages, and onboards the customer instead of your sales or marketing team. It is a self-serve model where free trials or freemiums are quite popular, letting customers experience the product independently. 

When they like the product, they automatically subscribe to it. As a result, you see a lower CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and a shorter sales cycle with this approach. 

an illustration of key benefits of product led growth methodology

You should consider this option when: 

  • Your product is not complex, or you are appealing to a tech-savvy audience.
  • The entry price is low, and revenue scales with usage.
  • You can attract the audience with strategies like SEO and word-of-mouth marketing.

Sales-Led Strategy 

In a sales-led GTM strategy, the sales team supports the entire buying process. The prospect learns about the product through demos with the sales team. Once the potential customer is interested, a price is set, and the process moves forward with the onboarding team coming into the picture. This approach generally sees a high customer lifetime value.

This approach usually requires a large team of sales reps who are highly trained and qualified to support conversions. 

You should consider sales-led growth option when: 

  • The product is complex and requires a sales rep to guide the prospects.
  • The price point is high, and custom prices may be quoted.
  • The target audience is not that tech-savvy.
an illustration of key benefits of sales led growth methodology

Hybrid Strategy 

Hybrid Strategy combines elements of both product-led and sales-led strategies to cater to a diverse customer base. It depends on product-led growth to attract potential customers and let them try the product. Then, the sales strategy is set in motion, and a sales rep tries to move these customers to paid plans.

a comparison table of sales-led , product-led and hybrid stategies

Hybrid Strategy allows for customization in sales processes for larger or more complex deals while emphasizing user-friendly products for smaller transactions. 

You should consider this option when: 

  • You cater to a target audience with differing needs and preferences.
  • The SaaS tool appeals to a broader market but needs the support of sales and marketing teams for conversions.
  • The customers may not be fully aware of the product’s value.

Essential Elements of a Go-to-Market Strategy 

Whichever GTM strategy you choose for your business, you need to focus on certain elements to get the most out of your targeting, positioning, and marketing efforts. Let’s look at those six crucial elements. 

#1 Target Audience Identification 

The foundation of a strong GTM strategy is a deep understanding of your target audience. The better you understand your audience, the better your sales and marketing team can position your product and create content that brings leads and conversions.  

an illustration of benefits of target audience identification

To identify your target audience, you can look at your competitors and analyze who they are targeting in their marketing. Where are they advertising? What kind of market segments are they addressing in their ads? What pain points are they stressing about? 

You can then form an understanding of the demographics, pain points, needs, and preferences that overlap with your competitors. With time, you can refine these buyer personas as you onboard more customers. 

#2 Product Positioning 

The positioning of your SaaS product in the market can make or break a business. A clear product positioning explains how your SaaS tool solves a particular problem or fulfills customer needs better than competitors. 

an illustration of product product positioning process

To do this, you must identify your product’s key features and unique elements and understand why your target audience will be motivated to subscribe. 

Start with a basic idea. For example, our project management tool helps teams manage and organize projects to boost productivity and save time. Now, add your unique features and differentiation to this. 

#3 Pricing Strategy 

You need to establish a pricing strategy that aligns with the perceived value of your SaaS product. If it's too high, you’ll deter customers from signing up. If it's too low, you’ll miss out on the revenue you could have otherwise generated. 

Instead of relying on your gut decision or copying the pricing structure of your competitors, gain an understanding of the different pricing tiers, subscription models, and discounts. You can even talk to your customer-facing teams to get an idea of the perceived customer value of your product. 

Here are some pricing models you can look at: 

illustration of different saas sales pricing models

#4 Distribution Channels 

Your marketing and sales efforts can focus on two distribution channels: paid and organic.

  • Paid channels refer to PPC and advertising campaigns that help you generate results immediately. 
  • Organic channels include blogs, emails, social media, SEO, and other ways that bring long-term benefits to your business. 

One channel you should explore is customer review and rating sites like G2 and Capterra. Many SaaS customers often go to these platforms, and the reviews influence their purchasing decisions, so it’s a good platform to be on. 

#5 Metrics and Analytics 

Now that you’re clear on the basics about the market segments you would like to target and the channels you want to experiment with, it's time to define key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure your business is running on track.  

These metrics could be the number of subscribers, click-through rates, conversion rates, website traffic, engagement rates or ROI. Determining which metrics define the success of your market performance helps you make adjustments to your strategy to optimize and improve results. 

#6 Feedback Mechanisms 

To adjust your GTM strategy as needed, you need to implement feedback mechanisms that gather customer insights. This ensures your strategy remains relevant and customer-centric. 

You can schedule these feedback rounds every few months to ensure your buyer personas are updated and if you need to make any changes to your marketing channels and campaigns. 

Create a Strong Impression with a Strong GTM Strategy 

A go-to-market strategy should be your first step before launching a product. 

It ensures that you enter the market with a thorough plan that attracts more customers and drives growth for your SaaS business. A GTM strategy also eliminates the need for guesswork or assumptions and presents opportunities to optimize your product to make it even more appealing. 

If you need help with your marketing strategies, like SEO and content marketing to attract leads, you can visit our blog. Or, you can book an introductory call with our digital marketing experts.  

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