Avoiding the Most Common Go-To-Market Pitfalls

Go-To-Market Planning Pitfalls

7 Steps to a Successful Go-To-Market Strategy reviewed the challenges with complicated Go-To-Market (GTM) strategic plans and processes, why it’s important for your survival to have a streamlined process in place and introduced you to a lean GTM strategic planning framework.

Now you should consider some of the common pitfalls to avoid when developing and implementing a lean GTM Strategic Plan.

Pitfall #1: Tortured Worksheets Tell You What You Want to Hear

When developing a streamlined GTM Strategic Plan (or any plan for that matter) the pressure to present wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations for the new offering can be overwhelming. 

These pressures are often driven by influences and factors well outside the jurisdiction of the plan developers / product service owners and can be difficult to overcome. 

Of course, Senior management’s primary responsibility in this process is to do all the usual things that ensure fiscal responsibility and the offering’s compatibility with the company’s vision / mission. However, your most important responsibility is to ensure you are not the one creating an environment that coerces your organization into presenting what they believe you want to hear. 

Avoid second-guessing by explaining exactly what defines success, what your expectations for the new solution look like, why you believe in it, and what is required in the justification throughout the GTM process to gain approval. 

Pitfall #2: Product Development is Not a Prison But it Does Need Guards

Another pitfall to avoid is allowing your new product or service to escape” into the market. Products are introduced prematurely because, as discussed ad nauseum, your process might be burdensome and takes more time than allotted to accomplish the thousands of tasks on your very comprehensive Product Introduction Checklist[1].

Your marketing and sales team then jumps the gun in order to achieve a quarterly sales goal, or enter a closing market opportunity window, or avoid getting reprimanded for missing a promised customer delivery date. 

Without having all the critical elements in place, the customer support team stumbles when the first customer calls for help, or the sales team won’t be able to provide accurate volume pricing to a potential customer making them wonder if your great new gizmo is real or not, etcetera.

Products also escape because the customer-engagement folks became involved in the ideation and development cycle too late to provide meaningful input or accomplish all the critical marketing and sales tasks they’ve been assigned. 

Go-to-Market planning should engage the entire organization to solve customer challenges, from a new offering’s conception to its end of life, and this is especially important when your GTM planning cycle is abbreviated.

GTM processes should rarely if ever be a one-off customized effort except maybe for new markets or new-to-market solutions. Your process for justifying, developing, and introducing new offerings should be a well-oiled machine that runs as efficiently as the assembly line producing the product. 

Rapid-fire solution introductions force you into simplifying and minimizing the launch process. But not to worry – you can still be creative and generate lots of enthusiasm every time you send out the next one with your newly implemented lean GTM Framework because the advantage of a streamlined approach is that you’ll have significantly more time to be creative, if everything else is in your “muscle memory.”

[1] A well-known European electronics manufacturer (not to be named) had a new product introduction checklist demanding no less than 5,000 marketing and sales tasks be completed to release a new product – that’s a big checklist!


Pitfall #3: If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going Any Road Will Get You There

Another important pitfall to avoid is organizational misalignment on the new offering’s Value Proposition. Everyone must understand and agree on the new solution’s promised advantages in relationship to their role and responsibility in the process of delivering that Value Proposition. If not, you run the risk of unintentionally conveying conflicting advantage messages to your intended customers. 

Even “behind-the-scenes” staff should be aware on what the company promises to deliver to its intended customers[2].

Having an organizational Unified Voice with respect to your company offerings and their promised advantages is a humongous “Force Multiplier” against your competition, but only if and when everyone is aligned.

[2] “Behind-the-Scenes” staff includes the security guards greeting visitors at the front door and cafeteria personnel serving the snacks in the meeting room – often these are the first representatives your current and potential customers encounter.


Pitfall 4: Implementation Requires Responsive Decision-Making Flexibility

There is no amount of pre-planning that management / lawyers / accountants / product owners can do to effectively identify all the potential challenges your new offering may encounter during its lifetime. 

However, market-facing and customer-engagement teams can be enabled to make in-the-field, on-the-spot domain decisions to respond to these uncertainties when they do. It is understood that this kind of delegated authority is only possible when everyone in the organization completely understands their role and agrees with the new offering’s GTM Strategic Plan. And, this shared understanding and alignment on the GTM Strategy is more easily accomplished if everyone has had a hand in the development of the GTM Strategy from the beginning[3].

[3] It doesn’t hurt to ensure compensation plans support this alignment too, but this conversation is for another time.


Avoiding costly implementation mistakes improves your probabilities of success when you take actions to avoid the potential pitfalls of implementing a lean Go-To-Market Framework.

  • Set realistic expectations, and create an environment of trust and transparency with your Go-To-Market teams,
  • Prevent your offerings from escaping into the market by simplifying your process and engaging everyone in your organization earlier in the development process,
  • Make certain the organization is aligned on the new offering’s Value Proposition and can articulate it with a Unified Voice, and
  • Embed Flexibility into your GTM plan’s implementation so the folks actually involved with new offering rollouts can make decisions and fix problems as soon as they are encountered.

About Downing Goliath

Downing Goliath is a product and services marketing strategy consulting practice formed to help enterprises [large and small] think beyond traditional ways of engaging with your customers. 

Contact us today to learn more how we can help you avoid costly implementation mistakes and improve the interactions with your current and future customers

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