Setting the right Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy for your business is not an easy task. The invisible problem keeping great strategy from showing business impact is this: the GTM strategy is divorced from the tactics that must support it. After working with hundreds of companies on setting their GTM strategies, we’ve developed a strategy workshop built specifically with a bias for action that creates a GTM approach as strategically sound as it is straight-forward to implement.
Here’s how to conduct this type of workshop for best results.
Preparing for Your Workshop
There are four essential prerequisites to consider before you host your company’s GTM strategy session.
Strategy workshop prerequisites—ask yourself:
- Are you familiar with your Total Addressable Market (TAM)?
- Have you created Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)?
- Have you completed market research?
- Have you conducted competitive research?
If you can answer all these questions with a resounding YES, congratulations! You have the necessary inputs and context to effectively conduct your workshop. If not (which is more often the case), take the time needed to address each of these areas fully, they’re crucial to building a winning GTM strategy.
Once you’ve confident about the above fundamentals, it’s time to make sure everyone’s on the same page. In particular, before you check your TAM and ICP off the list, ensure that a clear, explicit definition of each is well-established throughout your organization.
Pre-workshop discovery meetings
When bringing a GTM strategy group together, it can be daunting to make sure that everyone is heard, stays on task, and understands what the team is trying to accomplish. We’ve found the best way to accomplish this is to host discovery sessions with each workshop member ahead of time.
In these sessions, team members will have the opportunity to share their perspectives free from the distraction the larger meeting presents. It’s also a great time to make sure they understand what is expected of them at the workshop and are looped in on the overarching organizational goals.
Deciding who should attend the workshop
When you’re ready to start planning the meeting, you’ll first need to consider who should receive an invitation. The right stakeholders for your GTM strategy workshop will differ based on the structure of your organization, but here are some general guidelines:
You’ll need executive input. The strategy workshop—and your GTM strategy—are tethered to your organization’s larger objectives. Make sure your CEO is involved, especially at the beginning of the workshop, to clarify and reiterate organizational objectives.
- Your head of sales, whether that’s a CRO or VP of Sales
- Someone from your second line of sales management (depending on the size of your company)
- Sales reps (for certain parts of the workshop)
You’ll want to include salespeople in some strategy workshop sessions for a couple of reasons. First, hearing the perspective of the individuals in the field is an important component of your GTM assessment. What’s more, making these team members feel like they’ve contributed will go a long way in furthering their adoption of your forthcoming strategy.
You’ll want to include:
- Your CMO
- Departmental head(s)
- Practitioners (for certain parts of the workshop)
Why invite marketing practitioners? For the same reasons mentioned above regarding sales reps. Including non-leadership positions from marketing will ensure you have a 360-degree view of what’s really going on in the department.
Have a highly involved product team? Consider including your chief product officer or department head in the workshop. These individuals usually have keen insights into the market that can be very useful when planning your GTM strategy.
If your customer success or customer service teams aren’t part of your sales team, be sure to include some representatives from those departments as well.
Invite at least one person who wears an operational hat to this workshop. You need to ensure the GTM strategy is realistic and can be sustainably put into practice.
You don’t have to bring someone with a financial purview into this meeting, but you’ll need to share the GTM strategy with them afterward so they understand how it may impact revenue. If possible, have your chief financial officer give an overview of the organization’s financial workings and revenue process during the first part of the workshop. They can duck out when the tactical sessions begin.
Who should facilitate the workshop?
While it might be tempting to host the workshop yourself (or have another internal leader facilitate), remember that your company’s future organizational objectives will be built around this; it’s enormously important. So if you don’t have true GTM and strategy experts in-house (and few companies do), it’s a best practice to partner with an external firm to conduct the session.
Even if you do have people on staff with a decent understanding of GTM strategy, working with a third-party provider to hold your workshop is still optimal. Here’s why:
- When you work with an external expert to conduct a GTM strategy workshop, they’re already well-versed in procedural best practices.
- A third-party organization can help you demonstrate the importance of the workshop to invited attendees.
- Leveraging experts who understand strategy from all possible angles will broaden your group’s perspective.
- Meetings with as much at stake as GTM workshops can sometimes get a little divisive. Allowing a neutral, third-party firm to walk you through the process helps cut through any rough spots and allows the team to see things objectively so they can ultimately extract the right insights.
Managing the Workshop
How to structure a strategy workshop
Once you’ve set yourself up for success via pre-workshop discovery, decided who should attend, and settled on an expert facilitator, it’s time to determine the structure of your workshop. Your session will need to be segmented into key sections. Below is an overview of what those are and how much time you can expect to spend on each. (Keep in mind that this example uses a one-day workshop approach. In some cases, your workshop could run to two full days.)
Development of objectives & KPIs
The first hour to 90 minutes of your workshop should be spent talking about corporate objectives through the lens of a waterfall approach. Your corporate objectives are at the top, and your departmental objectives will flow from them accordingly.
Once you break these down, you can then further assess each departments’ objectives to ensure they’re contributing in a meaningful way. When you’re done, you should have a grid of your corporate and departmental objectives to use as a baseline.
- Alignment around prerequisites
Next up? An alignment exercise around your TAM, ICPs, market research, and competitive research. Discussion around these subjects will likely take you two-plus hours. You’ll consider how the business is doing in terms of penetration, and whether you need to expand your GTM strategy or focus more on customer acquisition.
Most importantly, in this phase you should be intentional about aligning around your buyers. Who are they, and how do they buy? Where do they find their information? Review your buyer journey and consider how all of these factors may impact your GTM strategy.
Deciding how you’ll Go to Market and next steps
The final phase of your agenda should take up the remaining four or so hours you have left. Based on the discoveries you’ve already made, you’ll spend the time chunking the market into segments, then figure out how you should go to market.
At this juncture you should consider the resources needed to accomplish your strategy, and review your wins, losses, and challenges from past strategy attempts. You’ll want to use those insights to make informed changes and improve in the future.
Then, with all of this information in hand, begin developing your GTM plan accordingly.
How to keep your workshop productive
Worried about scope creep? That’s another good reason to have your GTM workshop agenda orchestrated by a third-party: They’ll help you stay on task. An impartial expert from an external agency can act as the voice of reason (and the proverbial “bad cop”) when people need to be reined in, and will help keep the session moving along.
When building your workshop agenda, it’s also important to make sure you have the right people in the right sessions. The individuals attending each session should play vital roles. Otherwise, they’ll be less engaged—and potentially distract others or deflate the process.
Finally, be deliberate about identifying items that are on-topic and useful, while still capturing other matters that come up in conversation. Consider creating a “parking lot,” where you jot down ideas or issues brought up by attendees that aren’t exactly pertinent—and make a plan to revisit them the next day. This helps everyone feel like their ideas are valued without derailing the entire workshop.
What Happens Post-Workshop
The GTM planning process is undoubtedly a heavy lift, one that doesn’t just end once your workshop is over. After all, if you call it a day after the last session closes, your GTM strategy will disappear into the ether without your organization ever seeing the benefits of your hard work. That’s why it’s critical to be intentional about timely follow-through.
Facilitating the Implementation Phase
In order to keep the ball rolling, set up another meeting for a few days after the workshop. This should be a review session, in which you present your finalized plans to the same group that attended the workshop. Keep the setting collaborative, but instructive.
We like to call this an activation meeting. It’s the appropriate time to (1) delegate and (2) put accountability measures in place to be sure the GTM strategy is properly implemented and embraced. Your activation meeting will also set the tone for the challenging work you’ve got ahead of you, so it’s crucial it’s conducted in a timely and thoughtful manner.
And there you have it: A blueprint for how to prepare and manage a GTM strategy workshop that leverages data, collaboration, and innovative insights from across your organization. Putting these best-practices to work will help you craft a solid and sustainable GTM planning process, so your business can put its best foot forward into the marketplace for years to come.