Why over 80% of product launches fail, and what Go-To-Market has to do with it

So here’s the thing about go-to-market strategy

It is the most vital part of any successful product launch, and here’s why-

It doesn’t matter how successful your pilots were, how incredible your technology is, or even if you’ve just received your first round of funding; if you can’t find the right people in the right market at the right time to buy your product – then you’re a few steps closer to those infamous 80% of failed product launches.

Why do most products fail to reach their market successfully?

The intuitive answer to that question may be that the products themselves just aren’t good enough, right? Or that the market wasn’t ready for that product (this one is often heard by failed innovative start-ups). But the reality is that failing product launches more often than not result from the lack of a smart, solid go-to-market strategy right at those early stages after finishing the first funding rounds.

When Professor Clayton Christensen first introduced these dramatic statistics (80% failure rate), he wasn’t addressing the hi-tech industry in particular. But he might as well have, since this is even more of a problem when it comes to technology start-ups, surrounded by product and IT personnel that have very little knowledge of market needs, target audience, or selling methodologies. In other words, it’s only when they have finished their first funding rounds and reached the sales threshold, that they realize how little they know what to do next.

The most common mistakes without a go-to-market strategy

To give a sense of just how easily this can happen to so many start-ups with great potential and innovative products, let’s go over a few painfully common mistakes:

  • Failure to conduct a thorough, independent, unbiased market research.
  • Failure to specify the right target audience and deeply understand their goals and needs.
  • Failure to identify the right market and marketing platforms.

And as a consequence –

  • Failure to orchestrate and combine the holy grail of product, sales, and marketing.

The biggest start-ups misconception

These mistakes often stem from one fundamental misconception: young start-ups are used to thinking in product and technology terms. But when you’re looking to storm the market with a new product, you have to start thinking from the customer’s perspective.

Let’s play it out from the beginning –

So you’ve had a few successful pilots. Now all you need to do is sell, right?

And, of course, create a sustainable revenue stream, further develop your initial product to enrich your offering, repay your investors, get your first salary, and we’re just getting started here –

What about organizing your sales according to region, market, or industry? Or building your value proposition? Will you offer your product in a bundle, or separately? Will your sales team be needing technical support? How should you choose the right platform for your marketing efforts? Oh, and what do you actually say when you get there?

The first step to a successful go-to-market strategy

Right before jumping through hoops trying to figure out what to do first and how – you need to reorganize your priorities: Rather than spending your time on what your company needs, you should be spending it on defining your market, your ideal customers, what their pain points are, and how your solution is solving them.

In other words, the very first step, before doing anything else, is aligning your ideal buyer profile and synchronizing all of your product, sales, and marketing efforts around it.

If you fail to do that before you start putting together campaigns and sales teams, it will almost certainly cause you to miss the market entirely, and fail to see growth.

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