Last updated on July 6th, 2023

Lessons learned: Go-to-market strategy does not equal marketing strategy

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar
Lessons learned: Go-to-market strategy does not equal marketing strategy

This lessons learned series is part of our live SaaS resource list we're
building while launching a new product.

In the simplest way possible explain what go-to-market is?

When you start your first tech business you're just about figuring out how to
build the damn thing. Then you go to the next struggle which is marketing and
then the next struggle which is sales.

These things in combination become your "go-to-market" i.e. the way you
attract and convert customers for the customer problem you're fixing.

With more experience you can probably figure out the best 'go-to-market' plan
by choosing the best marketing channel and sales approach to grow at the
fastest rate.


Our current go-to-market plan is to attract customers via creating
integrations into live chat companies and create blog posts, send emails,
place ads to capture searches for those integrations and for the word
co-browsing. The people that see our marketing material then come to our site.

Our sales process involves doing a demo, assisting them through getting set up
with a trial and giving them a quote if they're looking to purchase large

However, it could just as well have been purely a marketing operation where we
don't demo or work with larger organisations and provide only live chat
support to small and medium sized companies within one particular niche.

There are a number of different positioning, marketing and sales models and
picking the right one for a target market makes a big difference to growth

What one sentence from this blog post was most important and why?

"Vuclip chose to build a brand for consumers rather than build for enterprise"

Imagine ALL your competitors are building their product targeted at enterprise
sized companies and you go it alone to build one for the individual consumer

That requires an entirely different go-to-market approach because with the
consumer product you'd need to build a strong brand over time and the sales
process would instead be replaced by a support team.

However, for Vuclip, it worked. The companies that went after the enterprise
market closed down. Vuclip survived. Building the strong brand as part of
their go-to-market was essential to their survival.

This is thinking which is way beyond our current level of experience and it's
fascinating to see a more experienced founder have conviction in their

What dumb assumptions did we make about go-to-market at the very start of

our SaaS journey?

We didn't know about it. We had heard about it but thought it just meant

While Upscope is our second project as co-founders, we had not understood the
concept so we ended up without a clear strategy for how to build up marketing
and sales as one combined strategy.

We didn't start with integrations marketing, we started with direct emails
even before we had our positioning nailed. Later we did integrations and then
wrote blog posts around those integrations and then started doing "sales"
before hiring for sales. We learned to build that go-to-market operation by
winging it.

What's the most worthwhile thing we did after this?

For the next major Upscope feature we are planning a product with built in
distribution, an initial ground-up adoption approach with minimal friction and
just basic support only later followed by sales processes to demo features.

The most useful thing we've done is be lucky in discovering the right feature
to work on and having the experience to see the different ways it could pan
out and how to adapt in the moment.

What would we advise someone to do if they were starting from scratch?

Read about SaaS company histories. Specifically how they marketed the product
and how they then sold the product.

Especially google the ground up approach to first bringing a B2B product into
a company whereby an individual employee can use it without needing the
manager's approval at every stage. Our current product needs team, IT and
security to be involved in installing it but we could have made this ground up
approach possible at an earlier stage had we known.

Listen to the SaaStr prodcasts where they discuss their sales approach and
mention go-to-market. Literally walk around the park for 2 or 3 hours a day
listening to those podcasts because you'll get exercise and 3 weeks of
listening to 200+ podcasts will save you 2 years worth of mistakes.

If we had a magic wand how would we use it to improve our go-to-market

right now?

We read that that aligning departments around your customer journey is a great
way to improve conversions so we'd:

  1. Conjure up all the data on our customer journey so we have a complete map
    of small, medium and enterprise buyer journeys including which marketing
    material brought them to our website, where they are dropping off, what's the
    key misunderstanding along that journey.

  2. Show where each team member's responsibilities align with that customer

  3. Fill the missing gaps or erase the friction points and make each person
    accountable for their section and give them a budget for managing it which
    grows as the revenue grows.

Alternatively we'd fast forward the creation of our next feature which is
currently called "Flows" and launch it with our entire marketing campaign set
up and do what we wish we did before, get ground up adoption in companies.


Founder GTM fit

This is not something you think about until way down. You might do it
instinctively but you don't have that perspective in the early days.

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.