Once your team has built a viable product, one of the most important drivers for rapid growth and success is a talented and tenacious go-to-market (GTM) team.
A robust GTM team is made up of key roles that directly impact revenue. While there are standard GTM team set-ups, the precise structure depends on several key factors, the most important being your strategy.
Without an established strategy with milestones and goals, anyone you hire will lack the clear direction they need to make your product a success. Essentially, your GTM strategy centres around what you want to achieve, whether that’s generating revenue, winning new customers, retaining current customers, or all of the above. It also lets you draw up a realistic timeline that aligns with your resources and budget. Of course, not all GTM strategies are the same and depend on the industry, vertical and stage of the business.
Without an in-depth understanding of the customer journey, you may opt for the wrong approach and fail to deliver a seamless experience. Start by drawing a timeline that depicts each touchpoint in the customer journey, from marketing message to sales process to aftercare, and ask yourself what you want them to feel at each stage.
Equipped with this information, you will better understand how your GTM team should be structured and the roles you require. According to Arnie Gullov-Singh, founder of The Revenue Architect, an online platform that helps start-up leaders realise revenue growth, there are three stages to building out a GTM team:
Founder-led Sales. Where the founding team relies on personal networks and word-of-mouth to acquire and onboard the first batch of customers and identify the core use cases and pain points that its customers share.
Sales-as-Distribution. Adding a sales team to prospect for more customers with the core use case and pain points to retain existing customers and create a basic sales process.
Marketing-Amplifies-Sales. Adding a marketing team to generate a flow of leads for sales, remove friction for buyers and improve overall revenue predictability.
Depending on the stage your business is at influences the key hires you need to make. For example, the first hires in the Sales-as-Distribution phase would be Account Executives (responsible for prospecting and acquiring customers) and Account Managers (responsible for onboarding, retaining and growing customers). In contrast, the Marketing-Amplifies-Sales stage begins with hiring a Head of Product Marketing to remove friction from the buying process and enhance productivity.
CORE TEAM FUNCTIONS
Whichever stage you’re at, your GTM team can be broken down into three distinct functions - lead generation, sales and customer success. Let’s explore each of these:
1. LEAD GENERATION / MARKETING
Situated at the start of the sales process, this function is responsible for generating customer demand and developing inbound traction. Building a lead generation function from the outset helps create a constant stream of leads and grow a healthy pipeline for your sales team to manage and close. Typical roles include:
- Head of Marketing
- Head of Lead Generation
- Head of Communications
- Head of Product Marketing
- Head of Retention Marketing
- Head of Enablement
- Content Marketing
- Head of Content
- Head of Social Media
- Social Media Manager
- Events Manager
- Email Marketer.
An excellent sales team will not just accelerate your company’s growth; they will enrich your company’s culture and help you build better products and services in the long term. Key responsibilities within the sales function are split across various specialised role types, such as:
Business Development (BD). Focused on inbound leads, BD professionals are aligned with the marketing side of the sales process, qualifying inbound leads and passing them to AE’s.
Sales Development (SD). Concentrating on outbound sales and generating new leads, whether that’s by targeting different verticals, demographics or geographical areas. Once a new lead is generated, this is then passed to AE’s.
Account Executive (AE). A specialised role that concentrates on closing net new logo deals.
Solutions Engineer / Sales Engineer (SE). A specialised, technical sales role which is heavily involved in the sales cycle, responsible for technical demonstrations with potential, and existing customers and there to alleviate technical fear during the sales cycle.
Account Management (AM). A specialised role that works on established accounts, grows relationships and closes active sales pipelines.
Channel Sales. Professionals who work with potential and existing channel partners to drive sales.
3. CUSTOMER SUCCESS
Software businesses are geared around delivering lifetime value for customers, which makes the customer success function integral to any growing start-up or scale-up. Typical roles in this function include:
Onboarding/Implementation Manager. Ensuring customers are onboarded seamlessly. Smaller companies will often amalgamate onboarding and implementation into one role, whereas larger businesses would have dedicated professionals or teams for each area.
Customer Success Manager. Focused on making sure customers are happy and getting the most value out of the product. This responsibility can sometimes fall to account managers to ensure the customer has a single point of contact.
SUPPORT IN BUILDING YOUR GTM TEAM
At Strive, we source top tier sales talent for hyper-growth tech companies. To learn more about how Strive can help your business scale, contact our team on 0203 983 0770 or email email@example.com.