Purpose of this guide
This guide aims to help you build and scale a GTM capability.
Once product-market fit has been established, winning the market is the next big challenge for any company. Despite the importance of a strong GTM capability, most leaders tend to underestimate its importance or think about it too late; many believe they can build a cool product and then throw it over to sales to sell. Your ability to bring a product to market can't be an afterthought.
Imagine GTM as an engine
Building a GTM capability and process to take the market requires systems thinking. Imagine GTM as an engine.
The various gears in a GTM engine work together like various technical architecture microservices: they complement and reinforce one another to form a system that allows for reliable performance and rapid innovation on behalf of customers.
The spark that drives your engine is your company vision -- your dream and true north. This vision creates a shared sense of purpose throughout your company and with your customers and community. Storytelling with vivid examples of a better world imbues deep meaning into the product you build and helps shape a holistic GTM strategy.
Customers demand exceptional experiences, and organizations that shape customer interactions to create differentiated experiences win. Those that don't will inevitably die. Creating these experiences requires a company-wide commitment to building and optimizing a well-oiled GTM engine that turns customers into advocates. The main gears in a world-class B2B GTM engine include marketing, partnerships, sales, success, support, and an internal operating system.
This page provides a high-level overview of these gears. Each gear is explained in greater depth in subsequent pages. This guide is comprehensive but not exhaustive; it describes key points of leverage: the essential elements to nail, then scale. Recommendations are written with a certain level of organizational size and complexity in mind, although the same principles apply to most (B2B) companies.
Marketing is the starter gear that makes prospects aware of your company and product and initiates the GTM motion.
is essential to break through the clutter, effectively position and differentiate a company, raise brand and product awareness, and ultimately drive business value. Storytelling and clarity on company mission, brand purpose, and product value bring your brand to life and make marketing richer and more meaningful. Sustained momentum creates a sense of inevitability to category creation and leadership.
is everything required to explain and sell the product after prospects are aware of your company. Remarkable product experiences are central to every iconic brand and company; product marketing brings these experiences to life by emphasizing "why" (an anthemic raison d’être), "what" (great features and functionality), and "how" (delightfully designed, polished experiences).
attracts and delights future customers. This is a long game of building and nurturing relationships with the right audiences. To do this well, one needs a clear, nuanced, quantitative understanding of how growth happens and how cohorts engage with your product and perform over time. These two foundational elements allow for systematic and rapid experimentation by optimizing five main levers ー "the 5Ps of growth marketing."
Partnerships can turbo-charge your growth by expanding your customer value proposition and reducing time to market in three main ways:
Integrating other products or "whole product" partnerships that deliver a more comprehensive solution.
Establishing positive brand associations with relevant communities to increase brand awareness and drive qualified traffic.
Extending reach to new segments and markets through co-marketing and channel sales programs.
Sales is the power gear in the engine. Finding
involves creating a sense of urgency, picking and optimizing the right sales model, and building a repeatable sales playbook. Understanding this, along with enabling processes and modern tools, help accelerate sales velocity.
Customer Success & Support
Customer Success is the relentless focus on ensuring that your customers achieve the best possible outcome using your product or service. In this way, it's the performance gear where your product either delivers or it doesn't. It's about earning loyalty, and it's central to a "land, expand, explode" motion. Customer success teams help reduce churn by minimizing time-to-value through proper activation and product usage in the first ~45-90 days. Effective success teams also create data-driven influence "heat" maps and usage dashboards to guide expansion. Success efforts are complemented with remarkable Customer Support experiences to help customers when things don't go as planned.
Internal Operating System
An internal operating system
drives scale through internal systems that integrate data and tools into a single view of the customer and provide an objective view of your customer-facing execution. This system serves as the connective tissue that unifies cross-functional teams around the most significant problems to solve and opportunities to capture. It enables an objective view of performance so you can tune your engine over time.
A modern and effective GTM engine powers all customer interactions and propels you closer to your vision. To build a robust engine, you must understand and leverage each one of its gears. By drilling in on marketing, partnerships, sales, success, support, and your internal operating system, you can build a machine capable of winning customers and delivering exceptional experiences that drive sustainable, long-term growth.
Note: All illustrations in this guide produced by
Special thanks to several people whose perspectives, leadership and wisdom helped shape my thinking on building an effective GTM engine:
. Thanks to my teammates and fellow GTM builders and mechanics, it's been exhilarating to experiment together and build and scale some remarkable engines.