Go to Market for Geeks: 2nd edition


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Four years ago, Orrick asked me to present to an audience of mostly-technical entrepreneurs on how to build a go-to-market strategy.

While the presentation h

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Go to Market for Geeks: 2nd edition

  1. 1. Go-To-Market for Geeks Second Edition! October 2, 2012
  2. 2. What is Go-To-Market?• Strategies and tactics• Users and revenues
  3. 3. Why is it important?• The only way to raise a Series A is to demonstrate traction• “Praying” is not an attractive go-to-market strategy – VCs know that 1-word answers are praying! • Appstore • Freemium • Viral
  4. 4. Where do I begin?• Identify your target market• If you can’t do this, get a new business.
  5. 5. What is a target market?• A sufficiently large…• …Group of similar users or buyers…• …Who have the same set of… – Needs – Buying behaviors – Influencers – Channels• “To mine for gold, find a vein.”
  6. 6. The only goal worth pursuing• Users and revenues* – * These can be future revenues• That’s how you measure success – TechCrunch/Mashable/etc. stories are useless unless they also drive users and revenues within your target market – They can attract VC attention, but without traction, you won’t close a Series A
  7. 7. Strategies and Tactics Know your goal and how to get there! •Sales •Marketing •Pricing
  8. 8. Don’t Be Afraid To Sell
  9. 9. You Can’t Avoid Sales• Distribution Catch-22 – The channel only sells what’s already selling• The World of Warcraft Fallacy – Salesmen can’t tell you what to sell • (and they can’t sell what they can’t understand)• Talking To Customers Is A Good Thing – Sale/No Sale doesn’t provide enough info – Customer contact is too valuable to abdicate
  10. 10. Founders Must Learn To Sell• Talk to real potential customers• Understand their need *before* you try to solve it – “What problem are you trying to solve?” – “What are you doing about it right now?” – “What would you like to happen?”• Demonstrate the product and listen to their feedback (instead of arguing)• Ask for the order!
  11. 11. The Four Types of Sales• Field Sales (“The Bag Man”) – 6-figure deals, 6-month sales cycles – In-person wining & dining – On-site pilots & sales engineers• Outbound Telesales (“The Boiler Room”) – 4- or 5-figure deals, 0-3 month sales cycles – Web demos & pilot programs• Inbound Telesales (“The Order Taker”) – The human touch to help freemium hand-raisers• Direct Marketing
  12. 12. Growth Hacking• Direct marketing is a numbers game• Your goal is to prove the math works – End-to-end transaction funnel – Scalable front end – The one metric to watch: • LTV / CPA• You don’t need to hire a specialist—this is the one part of GTM that is up your alley
  13. 13. Marketing:TechCrunch is Not a Strategy
  14. 14. Money Is Not The Answer• If you tell a VC, “We need the money for marketing,” you won’t get the money. – Exception: 1999• You have to generate traction before you ask for money – Exception: Andreesen, Zuckerberg, Williams
  15. 15. Marketing On A Budget• The old way: – $15K/month for a PR firm – Brief analysts, brief press, wire release – It’s all about relationships & unwritten rules• The new way: – Do your own PR – Friend/Retweet influencers, speak at conferences, content marketing – It’s all about relationships & unwritten rules
  16. 16. Turn Weakness Into Strength• You’re unknown – Give folks the chance to “discover” you and take credit (e.g. “Show HN”)• You’re playing David & Goliath – Use “retail politics” to reinforce the friendly, accessible nature of your company • Blogs, Twitter, Facebook are your friends• You don’t know what you’re doing – Ask for advice and get people to buy in – Write compelling content about your space
  17. 17. Price: Necessary, Not Sufficient• Pricing can hurt the business, but rarely helps (at least for startups) – Price based on value, not cost – Price based on how the market likes to buy • License vs. Subscription • Unit pricing vs. Flat rate • Up front vs. In product – It’s always easier to reduce prices – For self-service products, always test • eBay, Craigslist, AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn...
  18. 18. Shortcut: Know The Playbook
  19. 19. Plays that worked• Cheezburger Network (Media) – Inherent virality + PR blitz• Dropbox (B2C) – Simple, must-have product + Freemium + Viral marketing• Marketo (B2B) – Clear target market (VP Marketing) + Field sales + Aggressive advertising
  20. 20. Last Thoughts• Don’t strategize, iterate!• There is no magic formula and every business is different.• Product alone isn’t enough• You can do more of this than you think…• …But don’t get too cocky—the market is smarter than all of us.
  21. 21. How To Reach Chris• Chris Yeh – chris.yeh@pbworks.com – http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com – http://www.asktheharvardmba.com – http://twitter.com/chrisyeh