S2E15 – How to plan, predict & prove your Go To Market plan? With Mark Stouse

gtm plan with Mark Stouse

The most listened-to episode of Season 1 is still about how to go to market with Andrew Davis, and for this reason we are going to dive deeper into this same particular topic on How to plan, predict and prove your Go To Market plan. Our subject matter expert is Mark Stouse, CEO of Proof Analytics, an AI-powered platform for GTM.Mark’s has 30 years in marketing, He was CMO for 10 years, now CEO at Proof Analytics. 

Crafting a successful Go-To-Market (GTM) plan requires a strategic approach encompassing planning, prediction, and validation. Begin by meticulously planning each phase, outlining key objectives, target audience, and messaging. Leverage market research to predict trends and customer needs, ensuring your GTM plan remains adaptable to dynamic market landscapes. Implement analytics tools to measure and prove the plan’s effectiveness, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer acquisition cost, conversion rates, and revenue growth. Regularly reassess and refine your strategy based on data-driven insights to stay ahead in a competitive market. A well-structured GTM plan, grounded in foresight and substantiated by measurable results, is the cornerstone for achieving sustained market success.

Why Listen to Mark:

  • Critical thinking about Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies.
  • Emphasis on evidence-based insights and testing against business principles.
  • Marketing scientist perspective, using analytics to lead GTM operations for 20 years.

Defining Go-to-Market (GTM)

Go-to-market (GTM) encompasses everything influencing customer buying decisions and relationship renewal. It extends beyond marketing and sales to include customer success, product development, services, contracting, and more. Understanding how these elements work together in the marketplace is crucial for creating a cohesive and effective strategy.

Role of AI in GTM Strategy

Proof Analytics uses AI to expedite and simplify the modeling process. Automation and AI work together to enhance analytical capabilities, making marketing mix modeling more efficient and time-saving.

Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) Explained

  • MMM or GTM mix modeling is multivariable regression analytics.
  • Multivariable regression’s role in understanding the interplay of factors affecting outcomes.
  • Historical and forecasted insights, updating regularly to align with business decisions.

Common Mistakes in GTM Strategy

Treating GTM as solely a marketing or sales strategy is a common mistake. There is a need for a unified business strategy that is operationalized through various functions. Understanding customer perspectives and adapting strategies accordingly is crucial for success.

Building a GTM Strategy From Scratch

An outside-in approach involves understanding customer values through surveys, conversations, and focus groups. Defining the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is a crucial step for targeting the right audience. Implementing a weighting system for different business aspects based on customer needs and journey stages ensures a more tailored and effective strategy.

Orchestration Across Functions

  • Real orchestration involves coordination across functions.
  • Importance of having an “air traffic controller” system to oversee the entire GTM process.
  • Emphasizing the need for orchestration beyond individual campaigns.

Customer Conversations

  • Different tools for customer conversations: surveys, interviews, focus groups.
  • The effectiveness of extended conversations for gaining in-depth insights.
  • The critical role of correctly defined Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for focused targeting.

Go-to-Market Strategies and Challenges

Understanding the core questions for go-to-market strategies is essential. There are significant challenges in channel selection and the inside-out approach in marketing. Common obstacles in taking a product to market include market timing and achieving product-to-market fit. Valuable lessons can be learned from Proof’s early experience, where they were three years ahead of the market, highlighting the importance of timing in strategy execution.

Know when to pivot

Recognizing whether a startup is too early or needs to pivot is a significant challenge. Market responses can be unpredictable, making it crucial to be prepared for complexity. The willingness of founders to pivot and adapt based on market feedback plays a vital role in navigating these uncertainties and steering the startup towards success.

Growing from $0 to $10K Monthly Revenue

  • Advice for startups targeting $10K monthly recurring revenue.
  • Emphasizing the importance of building relationships and offering attractive early deals.
  • Stressing the need for a good product and its value proposition to early customers.

Building Trust Beyond $10K MRR

  • Beyond $10K MRR, the focus shifts to a confidence and trust game.
  • The correlation between trust and deal velocity, and the impact on deal expansion.
  • Addressing the issue of distrust in SaaS and the consequences of unmet customer expectations.

Advice for SaaS Entrepreneurs

Focusing on customers and team members rather than exit strategies is crucial for long-term success. Prioritize shareholders over customers and team members can lead to detrimental outcomes. Emphasizing the value of learning, humility, and continuous adaptation is essential in the startup journey, fostering a resilient and customer-centric business.

Lessons from the Past and Moving Forward

  • The significance of learning from past mistakes and adapting strategies.
  • Specific lessons learned, such as the value of excellent legal support and timely decision-making.
  • The inevitability of challenges in startups and the need to navigate through chaos.
  • Acknowledging the perpetual nature of startup challenges: “Every startup is either in trouble or dead. Those are your only two choices.”

Key Timecodes

  • (0:29) Show and guest intro
  • (1:14 ) Why you should listen to Mark Stouse
  • (3:28) What is Go to market? 
  • (5:19) What kind of role does AI play in a go-to-market strategy?
  • (6:44)  What is marketing mix modeling?
  • (11:02)   Common mistakes companies make while building their go-to-market strategy
  • (12:07) Mark’s process for market strategy from scratch.
  • (17:23) Things successful companies have in common in regards to to go-to-market strategies
  • (18:39) What Common challenges are faced when taking your company or product code to the market?
  • (21:18)  The right timing to pivot? 
  • (22:54) Advice on how to grow to 10K monthly recurring revenue.
  • (25:44) How to grow towards 10 million ARR
  • (30:42) What Mark wishes he knew 10yrs ago
Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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