What Is a Startup's Go-to-Market?

One of the most hated questions from seed stage investors is: “What is your Go to Market?” (GTM). So what does that mean, and how can you answer it correctly?

One way to think about it is the following: given money, how would you spend it to get customers? There are multiple options, such as:

  1. Zero-touch: online self-service using a credit card.
  2. Inbound or product-led: sign up for a trial or request a demo, then salespeople follow up.
  3. Enterprise sales: meet face-to-face with the customer, engage in a long proof-of-concept, and sign an enormous deal.

It all starts with the persona - who is your buyer? Be specific, e.g., “Cloud Architect in a 200-person company that runs on AWS”, called the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). The ICP is the person you will target in your outbound efforts or advertising, and once you nail the messaging to that ICP, you will start to see your pipeline growing.

Demand generation is the other part of your GTM: how will you get in touch with your buyers? Some approaches may be:

  1. Write blog posts to get organic traffic
  2. Set up a booth at an industry event and engage with the audience
  3. Reach out directly to prospects via email, LinkedIn, and phone

It’s almost impossible to invest heavily in all of these. If unsure, we recommend starting with the outbound approach. It gives you the most control over who you target and what you say.

Check out Leslie’s Compass: A Framework for Go-to-Market Strategy for content for a thorough overview of GTM Strategy.

Hiring Your First Salesperson Raising Your Seed - Part 2: The Fundraising Process
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