Advice from a Go To Market Consultant: What You Need to Know

Highlights

  • The Go-to-Market Plan is an essential asset for high-performance sales organizations. It brings specificity and measurability to the actions that deliver revenue results.
  • The Plan shows how the company will achieve its revenue goal. It assembles actions, tactics and resources into a dynamic blueprint that lowers management’s administrative burden, brings real-time visibility to progress, and quickly responds to market changes or performance variances.
  • Go To Market consultant specialists have years of experience in creating Plans that achieve predicted results. This post shares their top insights so others can replicate their successes.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

According to a 2024 advisory by the Sales Management Association, "Most sales organizations go-to-market planning efforts are not effective." The research report found that only 40% of sales organizations self-assess their overall go-to-market planning as effective.

That's why getting expert advice is helpful.

A Go To Market consultant can spend his or her career designing, implementing and improving the plans and execution that drive company revenue growth. And for most companies that growth starts with a Go-To-Market Sales Plan (aka the Plan.)

We wanted to know exactly how to make the best Plan. So, we gathered lessons and best practices from several Johnny Grow sales operations consultants.

They provided clear evidence that the Plans which achieved their forecasted results shared 3 success factors.

So, before you draft your next go-to-market sales plan, consider the below advice from the experts.

1

Follow The Best-in-Class Leaders

Good business planning starts with data-driven insights.

Research performed for the Sales Excellence Report found that only about one-third (32 percent) of companies consistently created Sales Go-to-Market Plans at least annually. However, the results were skewed by performance archetype.

Fewer than one-quarter of Laggards and Medians performed this exercise. That was in stark contrast to an overwhelming majority (86 percent) of the Best-in-Class cohort. That's a significant difference that should not go unnoticed.

Go to Market Sales Plan Research

The research is clear in showing that companies with these Plans outperform companies without.

2

A Prescriptive Plan

A prescriptive but agile plan is needed to shift from arbitrary to intentional execution that achieves forecasted results.

However, a challenge is that there is no consensus definition of what should be included. Fortunately, the Go To Market consultant experts have found that the best plans include the following four components:

  1. Start with SMART goals. The top goal will likely be the annual revenue target. Additional goals may include things like the volume of planned customer acquisitions and increase in existing customer share or customer lifetime value. Each goal must be time-phased and measurable.
  2. Define the customers to be acquired. The Plan must identify what types of customers will be acquired in the year ahead. This will begin with a clear definition of the company's total addressable market (TAM). It will then parse that market into segments, such as industries, geographies or the most profitable customer markets. The best customer segments are based on both firmographics and behaviors.

It will also include the Ideal Customer Profile across segments, or within each target market. Don't forget to also define or segment your existing customers that will be pursued for up-sell and cross-sell.

  1. Define the products to be sold. Aligning products or services to target audiences will increase fit and selling conversions. It also serves those companies that use offerings or sales plays.
  2. Allocate resources. With the prior three items defined, you can determine how to best allocate your resources. This often includes allocating the company's revenue target, including forecasted customers and products, into salesforce quotas.

But it goes further to create or modify supporting assets, such as your sales strategy, organizational structure, enterprise territory management, headcount, compensation and performance management, or territory-based quota assignments. The key point here is that the prior three items must be defined before you can best optimize limited resources.

Finally, ensure your Plan is dynamic, meaning it can be easily modified to react to the inevitable changes that will incur. Changes to assumptions or updates to the Plan should automatically roll forward so managers can quickly adjust the actions needed to achieve planned results.

3

Performance Analytics

A data-driven Plan shifts revenue planning from a one-and-done episodic event to a frequently measured and continuously updated process.

The data can also be applied for predictive analytics and real-time decision support. These are powerful analytic capabilities that shift information reporting from hindsight to foresight, accelerate decision speed, improve accuracy, and create a competitive advantage.

Sales Dashboard

High performance organizations apply customer and market data to continuously optimize their spend, track key performance indicators, and surface variances for swift resolution.

So, How Long Does All of This Take?

The time required to create the Plan is based on the number of variables that impact revenue results. For example, things like the number of product SKUs, customer segments, geographical markets, sellers and channels.

The experts advise that if you have a data-driven model to support pro forma revenue forecasting based on these variables the exercise is quick. Generally, a week or two.

Ah, but they also advise many companies don't yet have that data driven model. Fortunately, they do have much of the data. But it's often fragmented in multiple systems and needs to be aggregated. For companies that are missing data sets, the consultants advise they generally apply industry benchmarks as a substitute.

For example, if a company is unsure of its sales win rate, benchmarks such as the below can be used until actual data is captured.

Sales Win Rate Benchmark

The Point is This

My father used to remind me, "Well begun is half done." I think that adage is quite relevant to sales planning.

The Plan shows how and when the company will achieve its revenue objective.

It defines the pathway to achieve targeted results in the shortest time and least cost. It designs and communicates the revenue goal, identifies the actions to achieve the goal, mobilizes resources to execute the actions and measures progress in real-time.

These actions collectively create more favorable outcomes than would occur otherwise.