Labcast: Developing the Story at the Core of Your Go To Market Strategy

In this week’s Labcast, Jim Logan, Founder of Saleskick sits down with OpenView to discuss the keys behind developing a successful go to market strategy.

go to market strategy

Hear Jim’s insights into how to create a go to market strategy.

Kevin: Hello and welcome to Labcast. I’m Kevin Cain and today I’m joined by Jim Logan to talk about go-to-market strategies. Jim is the founder of a company called Saleskick and leads its sales coaching consulting projects. His specialty is taking complex business products and services and making them easier to understand.

His professional background includes selling and leading teams that have sold tens of millions of dollars worth of high-tech products and services to Fortune 100 clients and regional business alike. Jim, thanks so much for joining us today. How’s it going?

Jim: It’s going great. Thank you very much for having me. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Kevin: As I mentioned in my introduction, what we really want to do today is talk about go-to-market strategies. Can we start off by getting your definition of what you think go-to-market is?

Jim: To me, go-to-market is just all the things that we have to do as a business sales and marketing organization to take our products and services out into defined market spaces. I’ve always looked at it from the perspective of what is that plan, who are we going to target, how are we going to target them, how are we going to communicate the value of the products and services that we have to offer, and how are we going to integrate that in an entire sales and marketing effort?

Kevin: Right. My understanding has been that there has always been a certain amount of divide between sales and marketing. How do you see go-to-market transcending that?

Jim: I would agree with you. I think there often is a divide. I think a lot of it is where there becomes this common understanding of what we’re trying to achieve. I think a lot of the divisions that happen between sales and marketing is where the marketing organization is out doing one thing and trying to produce a lead or communicate a story or trying to create an opportunity within a market space. Then there’s this vague hand-off now of what is loosely defined as a lead kicked over the fence to the sales organization, and there really just isn’t that continuity between the two groups.

I think from a go-to-market strategy perspective, it’s the sales and marketing organization really being on that same script where there is this common understanding of who the target audience is. There’s a good understanding not just of the things we do, but the things we do for our target audience. As the marketing organization is promoting the story, the sales organization is in synch with that to continue that dialogue as they now engage with qualified leads and sales opportunities.

Kevin: Right. It sounds to me like there are definitely some synergies that could be derived there. What I’m wondering is how does it help a company stay focused if they’ve got a go-to-market strategy?

Jim: I think the focus is really just in that plan. It’s a thoughtful event. It’s looking beyond the internal view of the products and services that we offer, and really, from an organizational perspective, looking at it more from the outside in.

To give an example, a lot of companies take this internal view of their speeds, feeds, features and functionality, as I often like to say, and they go out and try to promote those things within a market space. Where I think when you look at it from my perspective of a go-to-market strategy we really look at it in the reverse view, from the target audience back into our company and say what do these speeds, feeds, features, and functionality actually do for me? That then becomes our story that we’re taking to market, and that’s the story that the sales organization is picking up on.

Kevin: That’s really interesting. If we kind of take it a step further, let’s assume I’ve bought into this idea of working out a go-to-market strategy because it makes a lot of sense, how would I actually go about doing it? I imagine there are some real challenges in putting it together.

Jim: I think some of the challenges are really around developing what I refer to as a core story. That certainly is by no means a term that I’ve coined. There’s a lot of talk about core stories or unique selling propositions or relatively close to that. It’s where a company looks at who they are really targeting and what the real things are that they do for the clients that they have and separating that from the things that they do.

Through that, what they do is find a way to communicate with people at a level where their features and functionality really are demonstrable proof that benefits can now exist. If I’m talking to you, if you’re a target audience and if I have the product or service that I believe you can consume, instead of me talking to you about the product or service, I should really be talking to you about the things that you can do with it to achieve something meaningful within your business.

Then I introduce these all these speeds, feeds, features and functionality as things that enable advantages and that benefit to exist. It’s just changing my conversation a little bit. Within a go-to-market strategy, I think that that becomes really important because it just brings focus to what are we really trying to achieve in the marketplace and what really is that value that we’re trying to bring to our target audience.

Kevin: Right. Are there any other specific tips that you could offer our listeners who are trying to put together their go-to-market strategy?

Jim: I think it’s along the same vein. It’s to really think through the things you offer and really try to identify how people use them, and then become well-versed in talking about those things.

Let me give you a real quick example that hopefully will make it a little more tangible. In my professional history as a sales manager and sales executive, I used to have lots of sales training organizations contact me to try to train my staff. A very common way that I was always approached is with the features and functionality of a training program. Our training program has X number of days, we’ve taught Y number of organizations, we have a patented 12-step type process to training, we give this type of follow on support, our instructors have this type of background, etc. That’s really telling me all about the program but it’s not telling me about what I want to get out of it.

The world view I have is not to train my staff, although I value training and their professionalism, but I have a worldview that’s based more around the length of my sales cycle, my close ratio. The average transaction value is in quota attainment.

I really think what would be more appropriate in this example would be for training companies to approach me that way. It’s not about their training program; it’s about how that training program could shave maybe 30 days off of an average 180 sales cycle or how clients that have used their training program have increased their average transaction values by 15%. What happens is that since that world view is a world view I live in, they need to map their training program into that world view and then use their 12-step program or their knowledge base or their follow on support as proof that I can achieve these things that I’m concerned about.

My tip to companies is to really try to become well-versed in the way people use your products and services to achieve something meaningful in their business, and then become well-versed in talking about that. Then introduce your product and services and speeds, feeds, features and functionality as demonstrable proof that you can deliver that meaningful thing.

Kevin: That makes a lot of sense, absolutely. Jim, I really want to thank you for being with us today. Before I let you go, I just want to ask you how our listeners can get in touch with you if they’re interested.

Jim: Thank you very much for having me. I really enjoyed the opportunity. For all your listeners, you can find me and Saleskick at saleskick.me. That’s one word. You can also find us on Twitter at @Saleskick.

Kevin: Great. Jim, thanks again. Good talking to you.

Jim: Thank you.

photo by: Dano

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