Go to Market strategy is a planning strategy for entering new markets and for searching for new commercial opportunities. At Vehnta we are specialized in B2B and, after years of experience in creating contacts and in sales support we have developed our own active customer acquisition strategy that we have called the Bridge Strategy.
The Bridge Strategy is a process that uses digital tools to increase brand awareness and create engagement with the targets: it is a modular process, consisting of six steps, which can adapt to our customers’ business and commercial strategy.
The first two steps, called Branding and Reachability, are related to digital marketing and positioning; the central steps called Impact and Diving are more oriented to consulting and finding a direction for the new business activities, from which Go to Market strategy starts, while, in conclusion, Get the ball rolling and Engage are steps dedicated to commercial push.
In the following post we will then focus on the parts of the Bridge Strategy more related to sales: we will start from Impact and close with Engage.
The Go to Market strategy is part of our process, which will be defined in a specific paragraph, but it is included in the process of the Bridge Strategy.
Understanding the scenario: I as Impact
All the communication that is produced must be the result of the strategy linked to the Brand, it must be relevant and it must impact on prospects. This does not translate into the obsessive search for originality, but materializes instead into the search of what is useful for potential customers. Of themes, language and targets’ expectations.
For this reason, it is necessary to better understand the scenario and thus have an overview of the main stakeholders that make up the commercial process. At Vehnta we suggest to our customers four steps: four tools to deepen the knowledge of their reality and to understand the reference scenario.
Impact tools are:
- Analysis of Purchasing System
- Competitor Analysis
- Target Analysis
- Definition of Personas
Let’s look at them in detail now.
Analysis of Purchasing System
Marketing & Sales process in B2B can be seen as a reversed pyramid: the highest point is the field of action of marketing, while the lowest part is the sphere of action of sales. This pyramid is divided into Prospecting and Qualify, usually of competence of marketing and into Cover the Basis and Close, usually of competence of sales.
Below the definitions of every step:
Prospecting – Activity of collecting leads with the purpose of generating new business opportunities through inbound or outbound marketing strategies
Qualify – Process to determine if a specific lead has specific characteristics that qualify it as a potential customer. These characteristics can be authority, intention to purchase, economic and technical dimensions of the company that he or she represents.
Cover the Basis – Activity of collecting precise information by the people of the sales department. This information is related to potential clients. The process can start with receiving an NDA or technical specifications, with a call or with a meeting.
Close – Phase of negotiation and closing of the deal
At Vehnta we design the purchasing system of the potential customer collecting information on the net and developing strategies to create insights starting from targeted initiatives. To obtain this design, after an analytical prospecting phase where we selected a number of leads that gave feedback about their interest in an interaction, our mission is to identify the different figures that make up the purchasing system for each company among the contacts of the profiling phase.
These steps, however, in the B2B world do not involve only two people, a seller and a buyer but, on the side of purchases and therefore of the customer, the process provides a set of players who participate in all stages: it is a purchasing system.
Usually, in the B2B world, a purchasing system is composed of 3 + 1 figures. This is an indicative and non-exhaustive number. It is indeed an indication of ever-present figures, which can be concentrated in a single person or in a group of 4 or more people. The key issue, at least in theory, is that these roles are always present and an analysis of the purchasing system must necessarily take them into account. Below a brief description of the figures:
Economic Buyer (EB) – He or she makes every choice by thinking about the ROI of every activity
User Buyer (UB) – He or she uses and therefore truly knows the product or service
Technical Buyer (TB) – He or she applies the selection parameters provided by the EB
Sponsor – Out of this scheme then remains the figure of the Sponsor, able to accelerate decisions or influence in a positive way the entire agreement.
These 3 + 1 (Sponsor) figures compose the purchasing system and, depending on the purchase of the product / service in phase of negotiation, they could vary. A UB could become a TB in another situation and so on. For each purchase, indeed, the different corporate functions change their role in the system. These figures, as listed, are not only the plastic representation of roles inside a decision-making process, but they are also the dynamic representation of the decision-making process that goes from the idea, passing through the technology and finally reaching the selection parameters.
This pyramid in its highest level defines a phase of ideas and possible scenarios, which becomes the final choice with the shrinking of the funnel. Going down to the lower part we indeed move closer to the final decision, as regards time, but we have less scope for reasoning, as regards content.
These figures are all involved, with the exception of the Sponsor, with the exception of the Sponsor who can speed up the process, in a time flow that leads to the final choice: A flow that starts from a deep motivation, goes through a technological choice and arrives at the actual selection of the supplier according to the parameters that have been defined by the previous levels. Each figure is therefore involved in a different decision-making phase and can thus be influenced by different information and contents.
The aim of the analysis of purchasing system in Vehnta is to outline the structure of the schema, to identify people who compose it, to define their intention to purchase and to develop an action plan in order to start the engagement phase and to make relationships with targets more profound. This service is a fundamental part of a B2B business development strategy oriented to lead generation and customer acquisition.
Competitor Analysis therefore means the set of useful actions in order to define a context thanks to the collection of information. This information may be the most diverse, but all of it will serve as a trace to outline a situation: a certain moment in the market. Following are the main tools for gathering information defined as a series of questions:
- Who are my competitor?
- How is it possible to describe my competitors in financial terms?
- How many employees do my competitors have?
- What are they prices?
- How does the sales force of my competitors act?
- What is their offer?
- What advantage do their potential customers target?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What drives customers to my competitors?
- What their products are?
- What is their customer acquisition strategy?
- How do they communicate?
- What is their digital strategy?
The tools listed above are just some of those that can be put in place for a in-depth Competitor Analysis, they are guide lines that will then be applied and tailor made reworked for each industry. We at Vehnta are well aware that, especially for B2B, it is necessary to analyze every case, company and market in detail.
In terms of Competitor Analysis, we can hence say that it is certainly necessary to draw and study the context, trying to reason in particular for each individual company, so as to obtain useful information to develop a new strategy, to identify new potential target, to improve one’s space within the reference market and to better plan investments, both in strategic and active customer acquisition terms.
By Target Analysis here in Vehnta we therefore mean a process that will result in an ideal customer profile, in B2B terms intended as a company with, to follow as output, a list of the company that could become customers. The process for drawing up this list can be summarized in the following steps:
- Define the offer for a specific industry
- Define the competitive advantage
- Define the potential customer needs
- Analyze the problems of the potential customer the company is able to solve
- Draw the potential customer portrait
- Map the market looking for potential customers similar to the portrait of the potential customer
- List these potential customers by tracing the specific characteristics for each
- Develop a specific offer for each company on this list
As for every list it is a series of steps that have to be personalized accordingly to the company and the reference market. The previous points are therefore just an example of the work that has to be done in the Target Analysis phase to define a list of potential customers.
The expected result from Target Analysis is certainly the material representation of the scenario: the draw of the playground with a focus on the various elements that make up the chessboard of a market. The output of the process will therefore be the analysis of the companies that make up a certain sector.
Definition of personas
Once defined the output of the previous point, then the list of target companies with the analysis of the same, it will be necessary to go deeper and, as previously mentioned, move to the definition of the people who make up the purchasing system. To proceed with the identification of the people part of the purchasing system, however, it is necessary to draw a portrait of all the actors involved: what in jargon is called definition of the personas.
In order to carry out a Definition of Personas that can really help to draw plans and strategies with a decisive impact on commercial results, it is first of all necessary to have real, deep information derived from the experience of those in the company who are in constant contact with customers and potential customers. In fact, it is only through qualified information and insights that is possible to define archetypes of people that are part of the purchasing system. For the collection of this information a decisive corporate effort, which can be considered as the coordinated work between marketing, business developers, sales men, project managers and customer care, will therefore be needed. The outlined profiles must take into account information that, for an absolutely indicative and non-exhaustive list, can be clustered in personal information, character profile and professional profile. Among the useful personal information, we find some that are reported by more traditional marketing, such as age, gender, geographical origin, level of instruction and, if possible, also information on the family unit. On the other hand, regarding character profile, it would be important to draw a psychographic analysis to define personality, attitudes, mental patterns and value system: thus defining what guides personal choices. By professional profile, in this case, here at Vehnta we mean the relationship between the person and its company in terms of role, business goals, limits, needs and priorities. This last part is fundamental to understand the decision criteria as a company representative and the role, with the related responsibilities, in the purchasing system.
Once the Personas Definition activity has been carried out and the profiles of a purchasing system have been differentiated it will be possible to try to apply the frame to target companies. Obviously, every case will differ from one another, especially in some B2B industries, but the definition of the buyer personas will always be of some help in defining the interlocutors and in choosing the most useful approach to achieve the goal.
Define the action plan: D as Diving
Once the scenario has been defined, it is necessary to go deeper into the commercial issues related to the market and define an action plan: the real Go to Market Strategy. This part of Vehnta we call Diving.
Within the BRIDGE Strategy Diving means to really analyze every aspect of the situation of the market, the reference target and the data collected through the actions of previous steps. it is a fundamental step, right in the central part of the strategy. Before of this point we worked on Brand, on the creation and distribution of contents, while in the following points the Push phase begins: Diving therefore becomes the moment of reflection before action.
Strategia di Go to Market: introduction
The activities that compose the Go To Market activity offered by Vehnta materialize in 4 half days. In this time we will reflect together with the client: starting from the idea until reaching the realization of an analytical document. This document can then become a business plan accompanied by an action plan.
Step 1 – Value proposition and search for “why”
The aim is at first the identification of the value proposition of the new initiative. The value proposition is a commercial definition of the idea and of its advantages for those who are going to enjoy it. Then we will work on the positioning of the company and on the identified target. The analysis will start from the ideal structuring of the target audience and from the illustration of the differentiating values of the activity. We will define to whom it is addressed and why and how it is different from other solutions already available on the market. This part will be characterized by the search of the fundamental “reason why” of the initiative and by the comparative analysis of the market, with a view to looking for new markets and new potential customers. To deepen the research of the “why” here an interesting link to the thought of Simon Sinek.
Step 2 – The different segments of potential customers
The work will continue with the quantification of the different segments of potential customers in terms of numerousness, pricing and relative services. The second step of this day will be based on the analyses that will be necessary for the definition of a plan in the third day. We will start with the analysis of threats and opportunities. Then we will define strengths and points of emphasis concerning the proposed solution and the corrective actions, finally, we will reach a structured comparative analysis of the advantages compared to other alternative solutions.
Step 3 – Operational actions
Using the work of identification of the first day and the analyses of the second day, we will start with the operational actions. The first part of the meeting will be focused on the design of the life cycle of the solution and of the alternative solutions. Continuing with the product or service strategy and with the relative marketing mix. Only at this point will then be focused on the drafting of the business plan: costs, investments, ROI margins and outline.
Step 4– Review and kick-off
The goal of the first three steps will have the aim of describing the entire work and of reflecting together on the steps to be taken in the near future. It will be an open discussion, on materials realized together in shared steps. The output of this day, so of the whole process, will be an operational plan able to generate value for the company.
The value of defining together the Go to Market Strategy
The result of the Go To Market activity is an action plan, accompanied by a business plan and resulting from a shared analytical document. These outputs lead to the creation of commercial value for the customer with a view to lead generation or customer acquisition. It is a structured and analytical process, which allows us and the customer to think about the future in strategic and commercial terms. An opportunity to study one’s own future and to plan in advance one’s own moves.
Here at Vehnta we help our customers vertically in terms of Strategic Consulting by offering them creative solutions that arise from our experience in different industries and from the different personal experiences of our team. Our goal is to establish close collaborations with our customers to help their entire organization in the phase of change: to express their potential. Change is never simple, but it is the only way to innovate: to trace the path to the future. In Vehnta we believe that change is synonymous of evolution and, to succeed in this constant transformation, we believe that continuous solutions are needed: that can follow the paths already defined or that can be in complete discontinuity with the past. Change is a source for the creation of new value: for this reason we collaborate on a daily basis with our customers.
Strategic consulting for the elaboration of a Go to Market Strategy for us in Vehnta is therefore the search for the best solutions that can, through change intended as solution, create value for our customers. It is a special activity: starting from the definition of a need, passing through the definition of a plan to satisfy this need, to the choice of the requirements that are necessary to reach the defined need. To generate new value.
Act. Act. Act. G as Get the ball rolling
Once the analysis of the Impact phase and having built a Go to Market Strategy in the diving phase is put in place you need to start playing. An Anglo-Saxon idiom gives the best idea of what we could translate as a Start.
An idiomatic expression gives the idea of what could be translated as Beginning. Not the beginning of activities or work, Get the Ball Rolling is in fact the fifth step of Bridge Strategy, but instead the beginning of the scouting of commercial opportunities: an activity that can not be separated from the completion of the previous steps. A push activity, orchestrated in an expert way using the most advanced techniques to develop the first contact with potential customers.
The marketing automation activity proposed by us at Vehnta starts with the definition of the target in concert with the customer. The next step is the real objective of this activity: the profiling and the generation of a first connection with the defined contacts with the customer. As anticipated, in fact, this activity follows the definition of the Go to Market strategy, the definition of the purchasing system and the search for contacts.
Starting from the identification of the target together with the customer, the activity of marketing automation offered by Vehnta has the aim of profiling and generating a first connection with the contacts defined with the client. As mentioned, this activity is indeed subsequent to the definition of Go to Market strategy, to the structuring of the Purchasing System and to the search for contacts.
Once the target has been identified, in terms of companies and people, we will have to choose the tools, to create the messages to be delivered and to implement different paths conceived as touch points of the customer journey. Each activity will be shared with the customer to ensure a complete unit of attempts between the two parties.
After the campaign has been activated we will manage the contacts and the email exchange with the interested targets. In this phase, not only positive feedbacks, but also negative ones and other insights that we will collect will be fundamental for the activity. Indeed, every feedback is useful to confirm or to update the initial strategy, with a view to a cyclic optimization of the activity: certainly marketing automation but, more in detail, the entire system of presence, positioning and digital engagement.
After defining the most important data with the customer, adding the most meaningful metrics for us, the process by us in Vehnta defined special reporting can begin. The first step will be to connect all the tools used for the activities of web presence, ADV, marketing automation and management email outsourcing, comparing the data with the analyses carried out in the previous packages. In the second step, instead, the profiles of the targets contacted will be deepened punctually.
CRM data will be processed together with data from direct email exchanges. All this data, in a quick-to-understand format, will be materialized in a report.
The main goal for us at Vehnta is to collect and verify information to define whether the strategy is to be confirmed or updated. At the same time, the reading and analysis of these data can suggest useful insights to implement other activities in view of continuous lead generation and customer research.
Creating qualified commercial: E as Engagement
The last step necessary to the completion of BRIDGE Strategy, and therefore to achieve objectives of contact generation and beginning of a commercial relationship, is called Engage. At this stage, after the qualification of potential customers through the definition of messages, their distribution and a massive scouting through Marketing Automation, we move on to the personal relationship. This last step allows Vehnta to deliver to its customers Semi-finished contacts that salespeople can manage with a view to closing deals.
In Vehnta we conceive the Commercial Support activity as an aid to the sales department of our customers. Our support consists in the management and execution of various activities that our customers prefer to outsource to us. These activities range from the creation of company profiles, brochure, organization of small commercial events, such as workshops, passing through the management of larger commercial events such as conferences and fairs to the management of the leads generated through active customer acquisition activities. This last point, in particular, is an integral part of the wider commercial strategy. To manage the first contact with new leads is in fact a specialized activity, in which the team of Vehnta can bring all its skills and commercial experience. The Commercial Support given by Vehnta to its customers means actual help: a necessary activity to safeguard resources in terms of staff, time and energies to be employed on themes or aspects of negotiations that can become commercial value and thus deal.
After a first technical step connecting the accounts, the designated customer’s mail account will be used for activities related to marketing automation and all the feedback activities generated by it. The same account can be used for sending mass communications. In any case, all these activities will be agreed upon and defined with the customer who will be able to control our work to ensure the maintenance of its standards.
Outsourced email management for our customers is an activity that empowers us and creates the right climate of trust that must be the cornerstone of a collaboration aimed at achieving important results. Managing a direct customer account is in fact essential to be able to interact with the targets in a timely and immediate manner.
Vehnta and the Go to Market Strategy: in conclusion
We at Vehnta, as from our mission as an active customer search company, help to our customers vertically in terms of business advice. As mentioned above we define with them the Commercial Development Plan that, inserted in the broader strategy, allows to outline all the operations useful to generate commercial value.
This business consulting activity is for us the last piece of our active customer search activity. We at Vehnta stop at the beginning of the commercial negotiation: once delivered to our customers semi-finished contacts, who have shown interest in the service by requesting a meeting or a quote, which the commercial will be able to manage with a view to closing the deal. This is our specific choice. Helping companies to generate commercial value, without reaching the point of sale, but working to create the conditions for which the sale can be generated.
The commercial consultancy is therefore oriented to improve sales performance, to accompany our customers in the market more aware of their choices in terms of target and offer.
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