“A New Blueprint to Transform Your Go-To-Market Strategy”

Sam Wortman Avatar photo

The market of today is no longer that of yesterday’s, and it has undergone vast transformations to meet the demands of contemporary Software as a Service (SaaS) customers. At the same time, companies are coming to the boardroom with widely different expectations than those that came with the sales-led model that dominated earlier markets and shaped go-to-market (GTM) strategies. 

Now, more than ever before, business-to-business (B2B) buyers have become evaluation-first buyers; they expect expert support and guidance during the entire customer journey, and they’re steeped in significant amounts of information about your software well before demo. When customers make a purchase in today’s SaaS environment, they demand a guarantee that the purchase will deliver on its promise and exceed its expected value. 

The sales-led model of decades past

Most of us in the SaaS industry are aware and used to the sales-led models made popular decades ago by companies like Cisco and Intel. However, these models are no longer as effective as they once were; markets have changed and so have the buyers. We live in a digital world, and every modern business has evolved into a tech company. This yields savvier and more discerning buyers who often center their purchase decisions around “kicking the tires” of your product. 

Sales-led GTM models are notorious for driving a purchase decision through personal connections rather than a product’s proven ability to solve the buyer’s problems. Customers don’t get the chance to intimately experience the solution and are unable to interact with it in a meaningful, hands-on way prior to signing a contract and going through a lengthy integration. The teams below the decision maker “get stuck” using whatever was bought through that process. This ultimately results in dissatisfied customers, missed revenue, and squandered value. 

And therefore, it’s not surprising this has been the main driver for evolving entire GTM strategies away from the sales-led model. 

Moving towards product-led growth

For business-to-consumer (B2C) brands that have found a place in our homes—Netflix, Spotify, Disney Plus, and more—the defining characteristics of their GTM strategy is giving their buyers complete anatomy and control over the ability to start and stop usage on demand without ever interacting with the vendor. Think: quick sign ups with just a credit card number. 

These brands mentioned above are seeing the benefits of a product-led model to drive rapid user acquisition, leveraged by open source and freemium product editions to jumpstart interest and usage. 

However, product-led growth doesn’t work the same in B2B. It’s typically one of two-prongs in GTM strategies for the likes of industry leaders like Snowflake, Zoom, and even the famously Product-led company, Slack. An enterprise motion is the other half of the two-pronged equation to  ensure profit that will sustain the company for years to come. 

The future is here: buyer-led growth

Buyer-led growth is the main driving force in modern enterprise sales where the function of PreSales is indispensable. Today’s buyers are highly-educated on your solution, expect an in-depth evaluation, and often are already using the product in question due to an open-source or trial-based product-led offering. New buying experiences that are completely customer-centric must be delivered by vendors if they hope to survive the thick competition and harsh opinions and feedback. 

The bottom line? For the future of B2B companies to survive and thrive in the current climate, they must build up—what Vivun’s CEO Matt Darrow calls—their “buyer-led growth muscle.” This means increasing PreSales investments and enabling those teams to have a larger impact on and more control over the buying process. It’s the PreSales team members that have the ability to successfully sell products to buyers, showcasing what impact the product will have on the overall business, and facilitating game-changing encounters and transparent purchasing experiences. 

Which go-to-market strategy is for you?

First, not every sales model has a standard fit like a shoe size.

In Darrow’s recent Forbes article, he writes, “Product-led strategies are useful to penetrate markets, gobble up users and lay the groundwork for future monetization. Sales-led strategies continue to thrive when dealing with large, Fortune 100 companies whose political processes require an emphasis on the relationship over the product. Buyer-led strategies are where relationships turn from casual month-to-month trials into long-term contractual agreements.”

Simply put, companies must assess what approach, or combination of approaches, to take for each individual buyer as use cases and expectations vary widely. Blending and melding elements of each approach will enable you to craft a winning strategy that works well for your company and its goals in a demanding market. It’s important to consider the buyer-led growth approach; you may already be doing it in an unstructured way, and when given the appropriate attention and investment, this is your key to addressing current market trends, driving innovation, and sustaining revenue growth. 

Here’s the reality: PreSales has the necessary technical and sales acumen to communicate the value of your company’s product(s) with the buyer at an expert-level and never lose sight of what it takes to close each individual deal. These professionals are perfectly positioned to help your company get your products in hands looking to make meaningful purchases and are the driving force of this newly defined GTM strategy. Constructing a robust PreSales department based on a buyer-led growth blueprint, or hybrid one, will lead you to align buyers, products, and sales to increase and accelerate revenue.

Sam Wortman Avatar photo August 13, 2021