When most people think of what makes tech companies successful, they think of new technical innovations like powerful new mobile apps, or new AI capabilities or cloud-based applications. Its true that technical innovations like these have spawned billion dollar industries, but it took much more than just cool technology to make that happen.
After 25 years as a technology executive at many successful tech companies, I have come to conclude that its not the technology that makes tech companies successful, but it’s the go-to-market (GTM) approach that brings this technology to market that ultimately determines success from failure. And I have decided to start a new business called Rocket Scale that will help tech companies master GTM and scale like a rocket to new heights.
GTM is the process of efficiently delivering a needed solution to its target market.
Most people think of it as the Sales and Marketing strategy since it involves distribution. But the “needed solution” part of the definition brings product into the center of a GTM strategy. If you have the wrong product for the market you are attacking, i.e., its not a “needed solution” then even a world class GTM team won’t be able to scale it into a large revenue stream. This is news to most product leaders, who like to view product as a more independent entity that works with sales and marketing where needed but largely focuses on the technical aspects of product development, releases and maintenance.
SaaS companies in particular have highlighted the importance of product within GTM plans because customer acquisition is just the beginning — most SaaS companies make the bulk of their revenues on upsells and renewals. And customers that are unhappy with the product they purchased from a successful GTM acquisition plan will not renew or purchase upsells. So the product needs to fit the market requirement in order to scale. This is often called product-market fit, and is an essential part of a GTM plan (more on that in future blog posts).
This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many smart people in Silicon Valley forget this, and think new innovative technology can “sell itself.” It doesn’t happen.
If You are Not Growing, You are Dying
In the tech world, its all about rapid growth. If you are not growing fast, you are dying because another competitor is likely growing faster than you and will ultimately wipe you out. There is no such thing as an exciting slow-growth technology company. Fast growth is the proof that your technology is truly earth-shattering. GTM is the vehicle that delivers that growth.