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It’s go time! Your product is set to launch, and you are eager to get it into the hands of consumers. This takeoff point can make or break a brand; Having a go-to-market strategy makes all the difference.
Whether launching a new product or taking an existing product into a new market, strategic planning, and effective execution isn’t an option. CPG is a competitive arena where brands hope to steal away market share from existing brands. Getting in the door is easy, but the GTM strategy solidifies your placement on store shelves.
Here’s what you will learn in this article:
- A clear definition of what a go-to-market strategy is and isn’t.
- Why CPG & FMCG brands must have a GTM strategy.
- What comes before a GTM strategy.
- How to create your GTM strategy.
- Monitoring and reporting on your GTM strategy.
When you finish this article, you will understand the what, why, and how of go-to-market strategies.
What is a Go To Market Strategy
A GTM strategy refers to a business’s approach to bringing its products to market. In the DTC model, a GTM strategy fully prepares customers to purchase on a website. In a retail model, the GTM strategy focuses on making the product easily accessible to the customer.
Retail go-to-market strategies are more complicated and involve identifying the right retail partners, establishing effective distribution channels, and optimizing inventory management to ensure the product is always in stock.
Most brands will need an omnichannel go-to-market strategy demanding that you consider DTC and retail, ensuring they work well together.
The GTM strategy should prioritize providing customers with a seamless and engaging shopping experience for aspects within your control.
Why Brands Must Have a Go-To-Market Strategy
Products don’t just sell themselves, so brands must have a go-to-market strategy. A GTM strategy is critical to the success of any product launch or market expansion effort. Without a well-defined GTM strategy, even the best products can fail to gain traction in the market.
A GTM strategy increases the likelihood that brands will differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace, build brand awareness, and generate customer loyalty.
By investing in a GTM strategy, brands support their marketing plan to lower customer acquisition costs, position themselves for success, and maximize their market share.
What You Need Before A Go To Market Strategy
It’s easy to blame a failed brand strategy on the go-to-market strategy. But often, what happens in-store is a symptom of an underlying problem. Before brands create GTM strategies, they must follow a strategic brand development process which includes the steps you are about to learn, starting with understanding your ideal consumer.
A Clear Understanding Of Your Target Market
Having an “idea” about your target customer will not get the job done. You need to understand your ideal customer profile intimately. Becoming hyper-specific with your buyer persona helps you better understand how to capture potential customers with your go-to-market strategy.
Understanding your target market begins with market research.
Market research To Support Your Product Launch
CPG market research is no longer just internal data discussed by your brand. Now, in many cases, retailers will close the door on your brand; if you cannot provide data-driven reasons they should consider it.
Here’s a look at the broad market research categories:
- Market segmentation
- Category differentiation
- Competitive analysis
- Customer needs and pain points
- Cultural and social factors
Market data will help you understand your value proposition for market positioning that stands out.
Brand Marketing Strategy
The marketing strategy you present to retailers is another factor in determining whether they open the doors to your brand. Like identifying your customer persona, your marketing campaign sets the stage for your go-to-market strategy, ensuring customers have a soft-touch brand experience before their initial purchase. Choosing the right marketing channel with the right marketing message is critical to the success of your GTM strategy.
Bluntly put, brands under-invest in their packaging design. A poor-performing retail packaging design is like putting an anchor on your GTM plan. It will negatively impact every aspect of your strategy and allow challenger brands to steal away consumers through more impactful product messaging supported by the right shape and design.
You can do everything right with your GTM strategy, but it will only succeed if your product has the right pricing strategy. Your product pricing plays a pivotal role in your value proposition. Test your pricing strategy before you go to market.
How To Create a Go To Market Strategy
Now that we have covered aspects of a business strategy that directly impact your success in the market let’s cover exactly how to create a go-to-market strategy. Here, you can take your data-driven competitive advantage and leverage it to create a full-fledged attack for each of your channels.
But first, you must know who your target channel(s) are and how you can best serve them.
Define Your Target Channel(s)
The first step to omnichannel success is understanding your channel capacity. While your sales rep might have the ambition of capturing slot space in every national retailer, it’s unlikely that you will be able to serve these many retail partners.
Here are the steps you must take to determine your channel capacity.
- Create a list of the retailers where your ideal customer profile shops.
- Determine which is the top priority for your brand.
- Forecast your ability to serve them based on inventory capacity and store locations.
- Create a margin of safety in case there are supply chain issues & unforeseen opportunities.
- Determine your need for distribution partnerships.
Refrain from taking GTM product management lightly, as it is critical to long-term success.
Brands need to place a significant amount of focus on their channel strategy (what is sold, where, and at what price point), and then constantly monitor and analyze their strategy to ensure it is optimized for peak performance. – Christy Lebor, Partner & Director of Strategy at SmashBrand
Creating Your Go-To-Market Sales Strategy
Here is where things get juicy. The meat (or meat substitute) of a GTM strategy is in the sales process.
Define your Sales Process
Clarity is power. A well-defined sales process that outlines the steps your sales team will take enables accountability and makes reporting on wins or losses a streamlined process. Your defined sales process is a framework for how your salespeople will convert leads into retail partners and consumers into customers.
For CPG brands selling into retail stores hoping to convert consumers into customers, it’s crucial to have a well-defined sales process.
Forecasting your revenues isn’t to be like Babe Ruth, where you call your shot. It gives you direction for budgeting, production planning, and inventory management. CPG brands can use forecasting methods, such as:
- Trends analysis
- Regression analysis
- Qualitative methods
These will get your brand closer to the target, but your company should allow for a margin of error, as forecasting is not a guarantee.
One means of appropriate sales forecasting is to use the Delphi method, which is a way to predict future sales based on historical data, market trends, and other factors through the consensus of various CPG subject matter experts.
Determine Your Sales Goals
There is a clear distinction between sales forecasting and sales goals. Forecasting might determine the total quantity of products sold and how much revenue you hope to generate, but sales goals get into the specifics.
Following the SMART goal-setting principle, CPG brands should create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals as a part of their GTM strategy. To do this, you must consider the current market conditions, category data, historical sales data (for a rebrand), and changing trends.
Identify Your Sales Metrics
Sales metrics are more than knowing your per-store revenues. CPG brands must understand aspects of product revenues, such as conversion rate, average deal size, win rate, and sales cycle length. With these metrics in hand, you can make data-driven decisions about areas for improvement and how to maximize your strengths.
Develop A Sales Training Program
Sales training is a two-pronged approach for CPG brands. It’s relatively obvious how your brand or product manager must educate their sales teams about product knowledge, sales techniques, and how to handle objections. But what about those closer to your target customer?
Investing in sales training means product education for the merchandiser, distribution sales rep, and retail store associate. Many brands leave this stone unturned, limiting the GTM strategy’s success.
Monitoring Your Go-To-Market Strategy
Indeed, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. But equally important is reporting on and making sense of what you measure. And this is how we begin a GTM review.
Understanding Your Reports
Monitoring your GTM strategy involves analyzing metrics such as per-slot revenues, in-store marketing campaigns, and product revenues compared to category revenues. Comprehensive reports can be challenging; many brands receive this data but struggle with paralysis from analysis.
Implement Your Go-To-Market Strategy
The first step to monitoring your GTM strategy is to review retailer compliance and determine if retailers have implemented every part of your go-to-market strategy. Retailer compliance is a continuous struggle for CPG brands. Often it leads them to work with retail compliance agencies who audit your retailers to determine if they are sticking to the agreement.
Monitoring And Tracking Results
Now is the time to monitor and track the success of your GTM strategy. How frequently you perform this activity will depend on the number of channels you operate in, the partnerships you have in place, the SKUs you offer, and more. The Key is that you consistently track and monitor results.
Reviewing your reports, you may notice changes in customer behavior, market trends, and newcomers entering your competitive landscape. Create a checklist to ensure you check every report and consider every aspect of your campaign.
Let’s Recap What We’ve Learned.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy refers to a business’s approach to bringing its products to market. It is critical to the success of any product launch or market expansion effort. This strategy involves creating a seamless and engaging customer shopping experience through a data-driven competitive advantage.
Before creating a GTM strategy, brands must
- Understand their target market
- Identify their product’s unique value proposition
- Conduct market research
- Invest in product pricing, packaging design, and brand marketing strategies.
To create a successful GTM strategy, brands need to:
- Define their target channels.
- Create a systematic sales process.
- Invest in monitoring and reporting on their GTM strategy.
Our Go-To-Market Guarantee.
Want a best-selling brand? Whether it’s a new product launch, rebrand, or entering a new market, we help FMCG and CPG brands create a successful GTM strategy. Our data-first process guarantees you will have a brand strategy and packaging design that wins on-shelf.
Book a time to discuss your project with our team.