First Signs of Go-To-Market Alignment Issues
These tactical tools provide important insights into operations and, with thoughtful analysis, shed light on gaps that exist in the go-to-market revenue chain.
A sure sign that go-to-market alignment issues exist is when too many forecasted opportunities don't close and when you hear excuses like:
- Sales is overselling product capabilities, or worse, products that don't yet exist
- Product Management is too busy to provide competitive positioning/knock-offs
- Product positioning is missing the target buyer and influencers
- Marketing isn't providing qualified leads
- Products don't meet customer needs or are not price competitive
How do you identify go-to-market gaps?
- Is your target market size/opportunity aligned with your revenue and customer acquisition expectations?
- Is your product/solution aligned with the customer’s need/pain?
- Is your marketing strategy aligned with the business plan?
- Is your sales approach aligned with the customer's purchasing process/preferences?
- Is your marketing plan aligned with sales requirements and sales cycle?
Only the best companies can answer these alignment questions confidently and take the required action to bridge the gaps. Unfortunately, inconsistent answers to these questions are the norm.
What is Go-To-Market Alignment?
- who the company is selling to (…target customer/market);
- what the company has to sell (…including solution differentiation);
- how the product/solution is to be sold (… point of sale, service and support).
steps to ensure on-going alignment
- Improve cross-functional communications. The foundation for good go-to-market alignment is communication. One could argue that effective cross-functional communication is the "elephant in the room". Make a commitment to share information regularly and listen intently to your go-to-market colleagues. What you learn today will likely change what you do tomorrow.
- Establish a project to analyze the go-to-market revenue chain. Assemble a team of product/service owners and use the questions above to determine gaps. Product management is best positioned to lead. Determine how to fix the issue, prioritize it, assign it and monitor changes. Repeat.
- Expand the product management role to formally address and resolve go-to-market alignment issues. Often product management assumes this responsibility, but all too often it doesn't receive the priority it deserves. It should be understood that this is not a coordination role, it's about ownership, change and accountability.
- Establish a new position (director of revenue alignment) to identify and resolve go-to-market gaps and monitor progress. This could be someone with a marketing, sales operations or product management background. In all cases this role needs to be sponsored and supported by an executive, ideally the chief revenue officer (CRO).
- Make go-to-market alignment part of your culture. Ensure everybody in the revenue supply chain is responsible for identifying gaps and seeing that action is taken to address them. Establish a program to rotate functional roles (marketing to sales for 3 months, product management to pre-sales for 3 months, etc.) to ensure there is a hands-on understanding of the challenges each role experiences when facing a prospect or customers.
- Expanding and improving the quality of the opportunity pipeline
- Improving customer acquisition and retention
- Lowering the cost of sales
- Ensuring realistic revenue attainment targets are achieved.
If so, have you taken steps to identify gaps and improve alignment? And, have they worked?