How to Develop a Go-to-Market Plan That Works [+Free Template]

Even when you put great amounts of effort, time, money, and resources into developing a new product or service, a poorly-planned go-to-market strategy could cause your project to flop.

Some of the biggest brands have even experienced go-to-market failures. Take Apple, for example. In the 1980s, decades before Steve Jobs launched the game-changing iPhone, he led one of Apple’s biggest flops: the Apple Lisa computer.

Although Lisa had some of the best graphic technology of its time, only 10,000 units sold. Critics attribute the failure to Lisa’s misleading ads and high price, despite its low processing power.

Overall, many say the computer itself and the messaging around it was not valuable to Apple’s prospective customers. The release was such a disaster that it reportedly resulted in Jobs’s temporary exit from Apple.

While Apple and Steve Jobs recovered, smaller companies could have a lot more to lose when bringing a product to market with a poor plan. As you develop something new, it’s vital to also start drawing out a go-to-market strategy that’s customized to fit your budget and your buyer persona.

We’ve seen two major methods for developing a go-to-market strategy: the funnel and the flywheel. While the traditional, one-off funnel method focuses on attracting leads and nurturing them into sales, the flywheel approach uses inbound marketing and other strategies to build long-lasting customer relationships.

While the funnel is centered around the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the customer’s journey, the circular flywheel focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting prospects, leads, and customers.

When a lead becomes a customer, the flywheel continues as the company is tasked with attracting them, engaging them, and delighting them all over again with solid customer experiences, new content, and potentially new offerings.

Regardless of whether you’ve adopted the flywheel, or prefer to stick with the funnel, your planning process should include these steps.

  1. Distinguish your buyer persona(s).
  2. Fill out your persona’s value matrix.
  3. Define your content and lead-gen strategy.
  4. Adjust and iterate as you go.
  5. Retain and delight your customers.

To get more detail on the first three steps, you can find an in-depth explanation of them here.

We’ve created a basic fill-in-the-blank template to help you get started on a killer go-to-market strategy. It specifically touches on building a persona, mapping out a customer matrix, and brainstorming a go-to-market content strategy.

Feel free to copy the below template into a document and customize it to fit your product or service.

Go-To-Market Plan Template

Go-To-Market Strategy for ______________

Step 1: Distinguish your buyer persona(s).

Before you start planning your strategy, its key to do a bit of research and identify your buyer persona. You can have more than one, but make sure each is concise, clear, and different from the others.

Here is a free tool to help you develop your persona(s) and a list of questions to ask yourself while you’re creating them.

Step 2: Fill out your persona’s value matrix.

The table below includes each piece of the value matrix, as well as an example persona. Use the first example as your guide as you fill out the lower rows.

Persona Name (Come up with something fun, like Marketing Mary.)

Pain Points (Challenges and annoyances that
your persona faces.)

Product Value
(How does your product help?)

(What will you say to convey this to the customer?)
Example Eddy A process he uses costs too much time and money The service costs less time and money. This service does
____, which saves companies time and money.


Step 3: Define your content and lead-gen strategy.

Create a content and lead-generation plan based on your customer’s journey. Since some prefer flywheel and others prefer funnel, the template is split into Phase One, Two, and Three with notes on where you should be in the flywheel and funnel’s cycles.

Phase One:

Funnel Stage: Awareness

Flywheel Goal: Attract Prospects

What type of content will you create to catch the eye of potential customers in similar industries? Make a table like this one below.

Type of Content Topic Promo Strategy Lead Generation
Blog post What is sales AI? Content will be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and in
weekly newsletter.
A CTA in the post will ask readers to sign up for our next webinar.

Phase Two:

Funnel Stage: Consideration

Flywheel Goals: Attract and Engage Leads

In this phase, your audience might know of your service, or they might be researching products related to yours. What types of content do you create to move your service to the front of their minds? 

Type of Content Topic Promo Strategy Lead Generation
Webinar How Sales AI Can Increase Productivity Social and email promotion will link to the signup page. A thank you email will include a link to request a demo.

Phase Three:

Funnel Stage: Decision

Flywheel Goals: Engage and Nurture Leads / Gain and Delight Customers

Your audience is really interested in your service. How will you use content to sell them?

Type of Content Topic Promo Strategy Lead Generation
Demo or tutorial Use Our Sales AI Tool to Extract Dark Data Demo signup links will be shared in webinar follow-up emails, newsletters, and on 
the website.
Those entering demos will make contact with a direct sales/support person.

Step 4: Adjust and iterate as you go.

Return to areas of your plan that aren’t working and tweak them. Make note of the things that are working, and brainstorm ways to expand upon them.

Step 5: Retain and delight your customers.

In this phase, you will focus on maintaining your customer relationships and spreading good word-of-mouth. This is where a flywheel strategy can be much more helpful than the funnel, which ends at sales. For a detailed rundown of the delight phase and beyond, check out this ultimate guide.

Although different products might require different launch strategies, the above template and steps should help you create a solid starter plan which can be customized along the way. 

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