Here’s a number to think about: $1 trillion. That’s the amount of IT spending Gartner says the shift to the cloud will disrupt by 2020. Whether you’re launching your first cloud solution or expanding an existing cloud services portfolio, it’s vital that you nail down your go-to market (GTM) strategy well before the planned rollout. A GTM plan acts as your road map for taking a (small) bite out of the huge cloud services market.
Now, there are tons of resources on how to build an effective go-to market strategy for cloud services, so we won’t be looking into that in this post. Instead, today’s entry talks about a simple 5-step process you can apply to make your GTM plan robust enough to withstand any road bumps you encounter along the way.
Step 1: Make sure you’re looking at a trend, not just a blip.
A go-to market strategy often starts by identifying relevant business drivers. Business drivers are the underlying reasons for developing and launching your new solution. These include revenue goals, customer interests, industry developments–or practically anything that answers why you’re building and selling the product.
You want business drivers that result from long-term trends, not random blips. For example, if you’re rolling out back-end SaaS solutions, the related drivers should include generating recurrent revenue based on your core business as well as sustained demand, not just because you want to keep up with your competitor. Learn from these 5 Lessons From Epic Tech Flops That Will Make You Better At B2B Sales.
Step 2: Know the best target customer for your solution.
Some sources consider a GTM plan as a subsection of a marketing plan. GTM strategies apply to specific products or services, while marketing plans apply to the entire business. It is best to identify the key decision makers for lead generation.
That’s why a good go-to market strategy for cloud services requires you to be more specific about your target users. You want to define what qualities make up the best fit for your solution. Different customer segments oftentimes have widely diverse cloud services adoption and spending rates. Sales and marketing resources should reach only the best opportunities.
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Step 3: Go beyond just keeping a close eye on the competition.
Christina DesMarais has an excellent Inc.com article on staying ahead of the competition. The main idea behind the post is that monitoring competitors form only the tip of the competitor research iceberg.
Just because a competitor launches a new solution doesn’t mean you should, too. Instead, she argues, you should proactively seek out the business value behind your competitor’s decisions. How does the new product affect your competitor’s revenues, customer base, profitability, or market share?
Step 4: Gauge your technology partner’s true capabilities.
A 2016 Innotas survey finds that cloud projects have at least a 50% chance of failure. While it’s hard to lay the blame on any single factor, one of the reasons why cloud projects fail is that the provider’s technology partner is unable to deliver the needed requirements. As one source puts it, it’s the supporting ecosystem that’s oftentimes behind why cloud projects fail and not the product itself.
The two main qualities in a technology partner that you should look for are integration and flexibility. This helps ensure that the cloud services solution you’re about to launch runs as expected.
Step 5: Leave room for instinct and gut feeling.
A good go-to market strategy sets the metrics for measuring success, but a future-proof GTM plan leaves ample room for gut instincts as well. As with marketing, not all decisions you make need to be based on data. Some situations call for falling back on your experience and intuition.
For instance, it can be difficult to find the right metrics to quantify something as abstract as the quality of user experience your cloud app delivers. You can track end-user experience with benchmarks like response times, throughput, and invocation time. But you still need to rely on your intuition to get a handle on how everything falls into place.
A future-proof go-to market strategy for cloud services can help you weather the ever-present changes in cloud computing. Don’t just plan for the future, let the future drive your plan.