Growth Insights for CEOs

How to Build a Go-to-Market Plan

Posted by Janet Brey


A CEO’s practical guide and marketing template for executing on growth strategies

This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Part 1 focused on the marketing plan.

The go-to-market (GTM) plan is a subset of the marketing plan and addresses how to execute on a specific growth strategy.  Every company, regardless of size, should have a marketing plan. A go-to-market plan is only needed if you are looking to expand into new markets, sell new products (services), or do both.

Not all growth strategies require you build a go-to-market plan. To get started, let’s review four growth strategy approaches:

  1. Penetrate - Sell more of your existing product/service to the existing market. This is the lowest risk approach to growth as you know your market and how your product/service delivers value. Marketing strategy and marketing plan required.
  2. Expand – Sell your existing product/service to a new market. To be successful with this strategy, you need to understand the new market. Marketing strategy, marketing plan and GTM required.
  3. Innovate – Sell a new product/service to your existing market. To be successful with this strategy, you need to understand the pains, gains and value delivered of new offer. Marketing strategy, marketing plan and GTM required.
  4. Aggressive – Sell new products/services into new markets. This is the highest risk and requires the most effort to be successful. To be successful with this strategy, you need to understand the new market and how the new offer delivers value to this market. Marketing strategy, marketing plan and GTM required.


What is a Go-To-Market Plan?

A Go-To-Market plan is a strategic action plan specifically focused on the steps needed to move in a new direction. This could be entering a new market, launching a new product, or re-launching a company after a merger or carve-out. It is similar to a marketing plan and covers some of the same areas, but is much narrower in scope. The GTM plan is about a specific product or market, whereas the marketing plan is about a specific business.

Template to Build a Go-To-Market Plan

For purposes of this document, a product refers to product, service, offering, or brand. This is a generic outline and can be adapted to any industry (there is no one size fits all). As noted with the marketing plan article, think quality over quantity when it comes to length. 

Keep in mind that it is a tool and shared across the company. It should not require so much effort that it is avoided and/or not implemented. Lastly, it should be agile and updated as feedback is received. 

  1. Discovery, data gathering and analysis
    1. Product Definition
      1. Market Problem Identification – What problem(s) are solved?
      2. Market Problem Validation – Explain and validate how the product feature set solves problem(s).
    2. Strategic Objectives – What are you hoping to achieve in 6 months? 1 year? 2 years?
    3. Market and Client Identification
      1. Market Definition – Who are the target markets? What is the size of the target markets (numbers, reachability and buying power)?
      2. Client Segmentation - What cluster or similar groups with similar behaviors exist within the target markets?
      3. Client/Market Insights – What research from market supports the objectives?

d. Market and Competitive Intelligence

1. Market Trend Identification – How will trends impact launch and product viability?

2. Competition/Competitive landscape – Who is the main competition and how will they react to your market entry or launch?

e. Distribution Options – What selling and distribution options are available?

f. Beta/Market Test - How will you test the product and gather feedback on this new venture?

2. Go-to Market Strategy

a. Business Case – Why are you doing this and what do you hope to gain?

b. Market Strategy - This is the rationale of how your company plans to engage customers, deliver value, create strong relationships and attain the strategic objectives.

1. Value Proposition – What is the value of the offering and why would someone buy from you vs. a competitor?

2. Positioning – How do you want the market to view the offering among other choices?

3. Messaging – What are the top three pains solved or gains delivered?

4. Sales and Support Model – How will you sell and support the product?

5. Buyer Journey (stages in decision process) – What are the behaviors that are undertaken by a customer pre and post purchase?

6. Buyer Personas – What are the characteristics and behaviors of users of the product?

7. Use Cases – How will the product be used?

c. Pricing – What pricing strategy should be used? Introductory discounts to encourage trial?

d. Sales and Sales Support (B2B example)

1. Tools – What types of collateral, demo and presentations are needed?

2. Client Acquisition and Channel Mix – What is the right approach? Direct sales? Value added resellers?

3. Training Support – How will the selling channel be trained and supported?

e. Service Support

1. CRM – What tool should be used for building and managing customer relationships?

2. Training Support – Will customers need training?

3. Client Engagement and Retention – How will relationships be nurtured, evaluated and strengthened?

4. Satisfaction Measurement – What tools are needed to track satisfaction and loyalty?

f. Product Roadmap

1. Development Queue Support – How will requests for improvements or added features be communicated, evaluated and tracked?

2. Market Feedback System – How will the future plans be communicated to customers?

g. External marketing programs

1. Branding – How will you create and consistently deliver on the promise of the brand?

2. Demand/Lead Generation – How will be generate demand and leads

3. Content – How do we deliver engaging, valuable content? (Blog, video, whitepaper, ebooks, articles)

4. Web site – Main site or micro-site? How will this impact current site

5. Events

h. PR and Advertising – What are the objectives and resources for external communications?

i. Internal Marketing - How will employees be kept up-to-date on the new venture?

j. Budget and Resources KPIs/Metrics - What key performance indicators will measure success? What milestones need to be met? What resources are available to support the GTM plan?

If you have other outlines, areas to include or comments, please share. What other types of resources do you find helpful to be successful?

   marketing for the savvy ceo b2b and b2c



cmo-Janet-Bray-smJanet, a New York-based CMO with Chief Outsiders, helps CEOs and their leadership teams improve performance and accelerate growth through strategically planned and executed marketing programs. Her background includes experience in the technology, financial services and healthcare sectors. Follow Janet @JWindek_Brey or contact her at 862-812-2777 or  


Topics: Successful Marketing Strategies, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Plan