Nailing go-to-market (GTM) as a startup is hard. But nailing GTM as an enterprise startup in a down market is exceptionally harder.
During the market peak of 2020–2021, startups enjoyed excess capital and a “growth at all cost” mentality, while enterprises had the financial flexibility and budgets to throw at new vendors and technologies. However, 2023 has proven to be a long and difficult road in a post-ZIRP (zero-interest-rate policy) world.
With significant macroeconomic shifts, enterprise budgets are now under intense scrutiny. Buyers are responsible for immediate ROI (return on investment) and require more stakeholder approval to push software purchases through. These constrained budgets have resulted in prolonged sales cycles and higher churn. Meanwhile, startups are confronted with not only a steep uphill battle to secure commercial sales repeatability, but also expectations of efficiency.
As an enterprise software seed investor at Work-Bench, I’ve seen companies utilize a few key GTM tactics to help them (1) close deals and (2) avoid unnecessary pitfalls that put potential deals at risk. Below are my three GTM tactics every enterprise founder (and sales team) needs to drive urgency in order to survive today’s market.
Tie all messaging back to ROI
Discovery and demo calls with prospects are often the make-it-or-break-it touchpoint that sets up the success of the rest of the sale process. However, the No. 1 trap many founders and sales reps fall into is using this limited (and precious!) time by immediately diving into a product demo and feature description. This isn’t surprising, given how much effort goes into building a product. However, it fails to demonstrate how the product will solve the prospect’s business challenges.
Implementing a new SaaS product into a company often requires a shift in workflows and behaviors, and such change can be met with resistance.
How do you best understand a prospect’s business challenges? Asking the right discovery questions is critical, to uncover the following:
- What are their challenges?
- Why are they suffering from these challenges?
- What have they tried already (if anything)? Why didn’t it work?
- What are the outcomes? (Not features/capabilities/demos.)
- Who are the decision-makers? What are the next steps? What is the timing?
- What happens if they don’t solve this problem?
- What does success look like?