Newsletter #3: Deep Dive Into Sales-Led GTM

Newsletter #3: Deep Dive Into Sales-Led GTM

Yes, I know—a plot twist. I said I would write about outbound sales in this newsletter, but the plan was updated due to the influx of ideas and the writing flow.

This time, we take a deep dive into sales-led GTM.

As we focus more on sales-led GTM, it made sense that a more thorough topic presentation would be in order. After all, the mission statement for the GTM Club newsletter is to help you accelerate your sales-led go-to-market. Don't worry; outbound has not been forgotten. It will come sooner or later. Like SDRs in the previous newsletter, it's near and dear to me.

What Is Sales-Led GTM?

A go-to-market strategy defines how you sell your products or services to your customers. A sales-led GTM sets the sales function as the growth and revenue engine. Sales efforts are the key component to customer acquisition and business growth.

A sales-led go-to-market strategy emphasises sales efforts to facilitate customer acquisition and business growth.

A sales-led go-to-market strategy empowers sales teams to act autonomously. The sales function needs to map out its unique selling points and ideal customer profiles to focus on and have the rest of the company support them, especially marketing (for inbound leads and sales collateral), product (for features creating wow effect), and HR (sales-led GTM requires access skilled sales reps).

The alternative to a sales-led strategy would be product-led growth. Sales-led GTM is an approach where the sales team interacts with customers before they get hands-on with the product. In contrast, in a product-led approach, the purchase, including testing the product, can be made entirely without interacting with sales representatives.

Accelerating B2B Sales and Growth
Sales-led GTM highlights sales actions in growing revenue.

GTM Club has a blog introducing sales-led GTM in detail.

Who Is the Sales-Led GTM for?

Sales-led GTM is commonly adopted by B2B technology companies offering complex or high-value items. Think of companies like Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Vainu. Making a sale usually entails a consultative sales process concentrating on developing relationships, comprehending customers' requirements, and suggesting a suitable solution. The company’s sales approach might lean towards outbound or inbound, as both are within the scope of sales-led GTM.

The exact numbers vary based on company and industry—the original model by Christoph Janz. ARPA is measured annually.

It would be recommended to have a sales team when revenue per account starts approaching a few thousand annually and, even then, with a soft touch. Ideally, marketing heavily supports deer hunting, but fully grown deer hunting already justifies an outbound sales motion with a proactive SDR team joining in. Bigger targets, such as elephants and whales, are within the dedicated enterprise sales team's reach.

For sales-led GTM to yield results, three boxes must be ticked.

Having a sales team must make sense economically:
It is a bit business-dependent, but having a sales team hunting mice generally makes no financial sense. Having the emphasis on the sales team starts to make sense from a deer and up. The average deal size and resulting margins must be high enough to justify multiple discussions with prospects before they buy.

Having the emphasis on the sales team starts to make sense from a deer and up.

The prospect can't successfully buy the product and onboard themselves:
In sales-led GTM, the product is traditionally complex and requires customisation or a complex setup. We can use CRM as an example, as Salesforce is one of the companies famously utilising sales-led GTM.

Having a sales team must add value to sales dialogue:
A sales team needs to add value to justify its existence. And it must do so meaningfully for the prospects' experience and the company itself. When the sold product is complex, prospects need support understanding how to use it best to solve their problem. Buying does not happen without sales helping customers to make educated decisions.

Each of these is further dissected in our blog about who the sales-led GTM is for.

Who can accelerate sales with sales-led GTM?
For sales-led GTM to work, three things must apply.

Read more about what kind of companies benefit from sales-led GTM the most.

Sales-led GTM is a tremendous growth strategy when the company meets the criteria above and can enjoy the pros of the selected plan. However, this is a moment of honesty for all companies selecting their strategy: Do you really need a sales team to grow? If you do not, you should not have one and instead invest in the enabling growth pillars of product-led GTM.

Sales team is not a fix to a non-working self-service model.
Don't use the sales team to fix a broken model!

Benefits of Sales-Led Go-To-Market

If sales-led GTM is the way for you and your company, you are in for a treat. Yes, you might be looking at higher personnel costs and longer sales cycles, but you get all the benefits.

And as a plus, it’s fun!
  1. High Average Deal Size: Sales-led companies can effectively target larger businesses and enterprises that require comprehensive support and guidance during their decision-making process.
  2. Enhanced Customer Engagement and Relationships: Sales-led strategies enable direct interactions with customers, facilitating a deep understanding of their needs and allowing companies to tailor offerings accordingly.
  3. Control Over the Sales Process: The sales-led approach lets companies quickly fine-tune their sales tactics and strategies in response to customer feedback, product updates, and market changes.
  4. Targeted Sales Activities: Using a sales-led approach, the sales team selects potential customers for which to spend time and effort. The sales team builds a well-informed customer base through product demos, sales materials, and product sheets.
  5. Personalised Onboarding and Customer Support: Sales-led companies often assign a dedicated representative to guide new customers. This approach, with personal support, helps new users understand the product better, addresses any immediate questions, and personalises the onboarding experience.
5 Pros & 3 Cons of Sales-Led GTM | GTM Club
A sales-led GTM offers numerous pros and cons to consider.

A more detailed listing of sales-led GTM's pros and cons is available on the website.

Why All This Is Important?

Meeting growth targets is continuously important on both business and individual levels. For example, if a start-up slips behind its growth goals, it will lose venture capital's interest, and investment access will become more limited. On a more personal level, missing targets makes top management's position shaky. Reaching company goals is an imperative!

Sales-led GMT is vital as it enables you to pay salaries, increase revenue, and grow the company.

Not sure if sales-led GTM is the right strategy for you? Then, you should check the cheat sheet we have created to help you evaluate that. As a subscriber and GTM Club member, you can access it here:

Introducing the Sales-Led GTM Checklist - GTM Club
GTM Club’s checklist includes 18 questions to evaluate companies’ readiness and fit for a sales-led GTM journey.

Access the sales-led GTM checklist.

Who Am I to Talk About Sales-Led GTM?

I, Ilkka, have primarily worked in sales-led growth companies as an individual contributor and then as the head of sales. I have been in situations where the product and our sales-led strategy are a match and in the opposite situations. The former was way more fun, while the latter was a more educational experience.

Do I enjoy sales-led GTM? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Yes, sir!

In my career, I have mainly hunted for deer and baby elephants. I have caught plenty of rabbits and helped bag a whale or two.

Your Invitation to Engage:

I have a question for you.

Is your company following the sales-led growth path?

If so, let me know what works for you and if you struggle with something. You never know, maybe next GTM Club Newsletter can help you out.

Here's to success,

GTM Club