Scaling up lesson
Go-to-Market +
Business Development

dinsdag 31 oktober 2017

The scale up challenge

From a scale-up point of view, the real challenge is how to sell your products and create a sustainable revenue stream, so that you can further develop your offerings, build your infrastructure, own money for employees, investors and yourself.

This free lesson is part of a series.


Go-to-market or go-to-market strategy is the plan of a scale-up company where both your own sales force accompanied by resellers, partners or distributors bring their unique value proposition to customers and achieve competitive advantage. Business development meant in this blog is meant as the sales activity done to achieve new business revenue. The final goal of both is to offer clients customer experience, giving them a good deal and build a long lasting relation.

Unfortunately, many startups get stuck in this growth process figuring out a scalable way to go to market. It is a common issue for startups when looking at next stage growth strategy to only look at scaling up from a technology point of view. While going to market, the challenge is to look at it from a customer perspective. At least if you want to have more success than revenue coming from pilots, test case customers and other trials accounts only. That said, it all starts with buying customers and giving them a great experience.

Looking at it from even further distance there is another question we should look at; why and what do they buy? The generic answer is a balanced mix of valuable product attributes, presented by a caring salesforce direct (as indirect) telling them it will solve issues and problems plus it will offer a great experience in daily life in return for a reasonable price (the augmented product value). Before you know it, we have addressed all kind of marketing and product management fundamentals necessary to build a successful go-to-market-plan.

To name just a few, I will come back to these issues in another blog:

  • Well defined target market
  • Excellent group profiling of target customer
  • Proper brand positioning to build a public profile
  • A thought out channel sales strategy
  • Clear and transparent service proposition
  • Development of an appropriate messaging and marketing strategy
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Scale-ups, building a machine

Obviously, this means that the ‘people’ aspect plays a bigger role than ever in scale-up success. Management of scale-ups have to patiently coach and guide traditional not only sales teams to understand the benefits of using social marketing as well as sales automation to improve sales results. In fact guidance from management must lead to organizational transformation since startups differ from a scale up from a ‘machine’ point of view.

If you want to scale you first of all have to think big, like building a enormous production machine to deliver your products and services at the best standard in the business. Why? Your operation at a sudden point in time must be able to handle multiple deals, change request, customer deliveries so why not designing a service and delivery process with that in mind in the first place. So my advice surround yourself with the right team, mentors and business partners; build strategies to reach your ‘big thoughts’ and tell your team either they are in to grow or free to go. Growth means adding resources and business process optimizations at the same rate that you’re adding revenue.

Nowadays the ability to be productive is driven by the ability to stay connected. That is why more and more companies focus on having “Enterprise Social Networks” which offer easy ways of collaborating and communicating with colleagues and customers. In other words, collaboration is key if you want to change and grow your business. For instance, someone might be confident about his idea, however, when a team mate runs with it, it becomes a game changer. When an idea takes a life of its own, you know it is something special. When businesses connect people, ideas can become plans and eventually drive to successes. Some pretty, good software is developed with this process in mind. I can show you.

Scaling-up, working with partners

Using a direct go-to-market approach means that all headcount and resources needed for tracking, allocating, earning and paying happy customers are on your P&L. The great advantage is you can manage and change whatever is needed to achieve targets. The disadvantage is large investment in money and time to build an organization and get the job done. Next to attracting customers you still have to build that machine in order to deliver on big scale remember.

While an indirect go-to-market approach offers you resources and market access by companies already in the market of choice. They will track, allocate, keep and grow happy customers for you. If not scaling up under franchise these independent companies operate in their own name, at their own expense and at their full own risk. A big plus is the enormous sales and marketing potential available for scale. The downside of it is the fact that your company must understand the role complexity of managing partners, resellers, system integrators in relation to your customers as well as the time it takes to recruit and develop partners before we you can expect significant revenue. Partners have their own go-to-market, their own territory, their own proposition and you have to earn and arrange yours in theirs.

Growing your company

I have addressed just a few items regarding Go-to-Market & Business Development. This short lesson was about understanding the change of organizational roles when scaling up, the resources needed for building a machine and the opportunity of working with partners. All these subjects require specialist attention and commitment which I love to give. I can imagine you some have first questions or want to share thoughts.

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