When expanding your business, whether introducing a new product, stepping into a new market, or otherwise, a refined sales-led go-to-market strategy is key to ensuring a healthy sales pipeline, an aligned team, and a successful market entry. A sales-led go-to-market strategy relies on the sales team as the primary driver for revenue growth. First, marketing will work with sales to gather interest from leads, then salespeople will reach out to these leads with the goal of converting them into customers.
A sales-led go-to-market strategy is vital to B2B business success — even top corporations like Microsoft and Salesforce leverage a sales-led GTM strategy to drive revenue. Other GTM strategies use either a marketing-led approach, in which the focus is placed on appealing to what consumers want, or a product-led approach, in which the focus is placed on positive consumer experiences with the product. While both of these can be effective, neither have the same consumer growth mindset as a sales-led strategy. With a sales-led approach, the entire focus is centered around growth and acquiring new customers. This strategy helps keep the entire business aligned on building out a strong customer base. Let’s take a look at the key reasons why organizations rely on this approach.
What is a Sales-Led Go-to-Market Strategy?
In short, a sales-led go-to-market strategy means the sales team is taking the charge on growing the consumer base and company revenue. While the marketing team still works to create strong branding and gain share of voice in the market, the sales team still has a higher level of control when it comes to the overall strategy and outcome. Sales initiates communication and takes control of the customer relationship. This means that company revenue is a direct result of sales team performance.
As mentioned, other strategies include marketing- and product-led approaches. In marketing-led approaches, the marketing team dedicates time to broadly focused brand campaigns to convince mass consumers to purchase the product rather than tailoring messaging to specific buyer personas in an effort to support sales. This approach means the marketing team is working to differentiate the product from others, and can be seen in HubSpot’s strategy, for example. HubSpot leans into the branded methodology they’ve coined as “Inbound Marketing” which they derived through an effort to appeal to a very broad audience. Conversely, the product-led approach focuses on the product’s success, and often works great for companies in which positive consumer experiences are extremely common (think of companies like Slack or Netflix). Product-led works great for large-scale companies, or for self-service products, but does not have the same impact if a product lacks the vast, large-scale positive reputation of a product like Netflix.
A Sales-Led Go-to-Market-Strategy Enhances Pipeline Creation Speed and Efficiency
With a sales-led go-to-market strategy, salespeople can target specific accounts or segments of leads to find change-makers in an organization. Salespeople can then provide high-value information to best-fit potential customers much sooner, speeding up the sales process much more effectively than other GTM strategies that do not place an emphasis on sales, such as a product- or marketing-led approach.
For example, say a sales organization’s ICP includes a VP of Sales or CMO. By having a sales-led GTM strategy in place and with the right sales enablement tool, sales reps are able to filter out leads by job title or other specific criteria, quickly identify the best-fit leads, and then target these leads by providing valuable information pertinent to the lead’s pain points. Thus, instead of reaching out to a large database of leads at all levels of the business, sales reps are able to pinpoint those most likely to make a purchase, speeding up the sales pipeline and generating greater revenue at a faster rate.
Additionally, a sales-led approach quickly informs leads and prospects about the benefits and features of a product. Reaching out to best-fit potential customers and offering product demonstrations, sales decks, and other key information about the product efficiently speeds up customer onboarding by creating an informed consumer base. Empowered with the knowledge about a product or service offering during their purchase journey, new customers are better equipped and prepared to dive right into using the new product or working alongside a specific service offering.
With Sales on the Frontlines, Conversion Rates and Revenue Generation Take Center Stage
A sales-led go-to-market strategy can increase conversion rates and strengthen closing ratios. Since this approach focuses on selling to sales-qualified leads and targeting potential customers who have demonstrated interest in a product or service offering by providing contact information to marketing, downloading a case study, booking a demo or otherwise, the likelihood of a salesperson closing the deal increases. For instance, if the lead is already interested in the product, salespeople have increased leverage to make a sale by providing the most relevant and valuable information to help the lead make a purchasing decision. On average, most salespeople close deals on nearly one-third of sales qualified leads, creating a strong closing ratio of around 20%.
Consider this example. If a sales team is presented with 10 leads, and 4 of those have demonstrated interest in the product, sales can immediately prioritize selling to those top 4 leads. This saves time and money when looking at potential customers. Essentially, sales representatives are only spending time on those leads with a higher likelihood of purchasing and can enter the sales process already strongly positioned for success.
Enterprise Buyers Appreciate Hyper-Personalized Sales-Led GTM Strategies
With a sales-led go-to-market strategy, enterprise-level organizations are the most reactive. Since sales-led strategies identify and target best-fit leads with hyper-personalized or best-fit solutions that uniquely address their pain points, key decision-makers are more likely to approve of and buy-in on the product. Why? Because this process feels more unique and suited for their specific company rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. A sales-led approach prioritizes this type of tailored solution, making it a perfect approach for enterprise buyers.
The personalized sales-led approach also indicates that the sales team is willing to work one-on-one to create a one-of-a-kind solution for the company, communicating strong customer service and flexible options to fit their specific needs. Enterprise buyers value flexibility, as their size instantly denotes larger-scale pain points to address. Indicating a willingness to adapt to their specific needs — whether that means adding a new feature to a software solution or combining usual client package structures for a hybrid option — helps garner attention from key decision makers looking at your product.
Rather than waiting on large-scale clients to come to you, a sales-led approach is much more effective. It not only initiates a sales discussion, but brings high-quality, tailored solutions direct to the client. When approaching a sales-qualified enterprise lead with a unique, already personalized product, their positive view of both the product and your company is boosted, increasing the likelihood of closing the sale.
A sales-led go-to-market strategy is vital to ensuring sales success and driving revenue by:
- Building a strong customer base
- Identifying high-value, interested potential customers
- Allowing the sales team to take the lead
Want to build a sales-led go-to-market strategy? Contact us and our expert sales consulting team can help your business find the perfect solution.