Defining Your Go-to-market Sales Strategy: Sales Planning

Picture of Matt Blanchard
General Manager, EMEA

If you’re part of the sales sector, before reading any further, ask yourself this: when was the last time your business launched a product or cleared an inroad into new territory with a go-to-market (GTM) strategy? We’d guess there would be little pause for thought as not much gets done without a strategy, right? Here’s an add-on to that first question. When you’re reviewing a strategy ahead of market launch, have you ever had cause to wonder whether the sales planning element of the GTM strategy is strong and flexible enough to support the product, sales executive, and customer along the sales pipeline journey?

This blog takes a closer look at what factors can turn a decent GTM strategy into a great one. Also, we’ll demonstrate that every stage in a GTM strategy must consider quota planning and territory management so it can be truly effective.

Why a GTM Strategy is Essential

Designing and implementing a GTM strategy can be the difference between the failure of a start-up within its first year or another solid gold brick in the building of a growing business. It can represent a level of organization, without which there would be chaos, or can be just the thing to show that this is not the right time to proceed with an idea.

Creating Your GTM Strategy with Territory Management and Quota Allocation Tactics

Let’s look at how this powerful acronym can be the backbone of your sales planning. By definition, the go-to-market strategy is an action plan designed to give the seller a competitive advantage and should cover all steps that take a product from idea to market launch. Also, a strong GTM strategy should not only outline and present the desired steps to launch, but also mitigate any issues along that journey. Even from the first step, it’s important that everyone involved is thinking and acting like a sales professional. With that in mind, we’ve split GTM strategy into the following five steps:

1. Market definition: Which market/industry/sector is the product or service aimed at? This should identify the people or market that would have an authentic interest and monetary wherewithal to purchase the product or service. This is one of the first of many junctures where you need to be thinking about sales territory management and quota allocations, as the marketing decisions directly dovetail with key sales planning decisions. We’d advise you to use specific territory management software, such as the solution offered by Varicent to provide this predictive and value-rich insight.

2. Identifying a target audience: Who are your customers? At this second stage, you should be utilizing all the analytics and information from the first phase to determine your customer base for the product. The findings of this may reveal you have a solid base of existing customers and leads who would be interested in your new product, or conversely, an entirely fresh set of prospects has been identified. Again, we can see that sales planning plays a significant part in this process and that this can only be achieved with that same territory management software. This product can help you plan “what if” scenarios, and assist you in building customer segmentation and personas, so you’re GTM strategy is more “furnished” on completion.

3. Distribution model: By which method will the product be sold and delivered? This third stage takes all the insight, metrics, and information from the second part to define where your product will be sold and how it will get to the customer. For some products and businesses, that distribution model may be from an online retail platform, which distorts the traditional territory model as the “selling spot” isn’t geographical. However, the considerations are how, logistically, the product will get to the customer? Another factor is, for example, whether you’re selling sneakers to a store, or the rubber for the soles to the manufacturers. While the former is more likely to involve assigning a physical sales executive or team to the sneaker shops in that district, the latter is about managing raw resources and long journeys to them to the factory. Let’s reiterate, strategic GTM decisions around distribution will be flimsy without applying sales planning rigor to the structure. And when we say sales planning, yes, you’ve guessed it, that’s putting territory and quota management front and center.

4. Messaging, branding, and positioning of product: What are the unique selling point (USP), differentiators, and advantages of this product/service in comparison to others on the market? While one may be more at the actual marketing end of the GTM strategy, sales planning to support launch can’t move forward without sales teams being involved, aware and on board with messaging and positioning. No matter how powerful your advertising/social media/retail presence is, sales executives are your front-line communicators and influencers when it comes to getting that product where it needs to be. At the core of any messaging are the value proposition and the messaging matrix that supports it.

There is another part of this to think about. If this launch looks like being a more difficult sell or you’re entering new territory, you require experienced, persuasive people to be doing the pushing, so they need to know the matrix and value proposition from every angle. If you’re trying to break into a market where there may be certain cultural rules and conventions that need to be navigated with care, then it’s those with diplomacy skills that would be a better fit for the territory.

5. Price: When it comes to the bottom line, how much are we charging? The best-laid plans and GTM strategies may get stuck in the weeds without a robust pricing process. There are of course a ton of factors that account for that final decision, but your sales team are the ones that really know whether longstanding, loyal customers will be accepting of the price tag and if they can justify the price to new prospects when canvassing for fresh business. Not only is this relevant to territory management, but pricing can play its part in quota allocations. Quota setting is never just a case of how many customers, it’s also how much an account is potentially worth over a given financial period and how much product that customer is likely to buy.

Territory Management and Quota Allocation in Sales Planning

Within these GTM strategy tiers are further factors, including audience research, product trials, competitor analysis, feasibility studies, message testing, and trial runs for specific customers or areas. All of these can be road-tested and flexed by integrating sales planning methodologies and by using sales templates. It’s also worth noting that every element of sales planning and metrics touch on the importance of territory management and quota allocation.

Whether you’re placing your GTM strategy emphasis on customer need, competition, or the product’s ability to solve a problem; where you sell, how you resource that area, and who you engage with as a lead is down to territories and quotas.

When you fully embrace this planning solution and understand Territory Management and Quota Allocation’s role in the wider GTM strategy through the implementation of a software solution, you automatically increase your chances of a well-targeted and successful product launch.

Discover how to better galvanize your go-to-market strategy by booking a demo with Varicent today.

Tags: Territory and Quota Planning

Picture of Matt Blanchard
General Manager, EMEA

You may also like