Best Practices in Cloud Services: What’s in Your Go-to-Market Plan?

Last month, we talked about three key reasons for developing a go-to-market plan. In this issue, we’ll cover what goes into your go-to-market (GTM) plan–eight critical components that will help maximize your success. Whether you’re at the infancy stage of outlining a business case, elbow-deep in execution, or adding new products to your current cloud portfolio, you’ll want to be sure to cover these eight components in your GTM plan:

  • Business Summary: The business summary presents an overview of your plan. At a minimum, it should address the core business drivers behind the launch, highlight the key performance indicators you’ll use to measure your success, and identify your primary competitors and the differentiators you’ll focus on to compete against them. More mature plans may also include detailed forecasts and specifics about market behaviors.
  • Product Strategy: This section of the plan identifies the key products you will launch in your cloud portfolio, along with any bundling plans, special promotions, or other attachment strategies that will help you sell the products—including upselling and cross-selling to both new and existing customers. Any specifics you can include about differentiators between your offerings and those of your competitors will help you build your sales messaging as you progress further into the launch.
  • Channel Strategy: This is where you identify the primary channels that you’ll use—both to sell your products and to educate and support your customers—along with the resources, training, and incentives that will drive channel performance. In complex channel organizations, products and offers may differ from one channel to the next, playing on the unique advantages of specific channels, such as direct sales teams or online portals.
  • Marketing Strategy: This section summarizes the activities you’ll use to drive awareness and generate leads, both in your identified markets and within your existing customer base. In large organizations, the marketing strategy may also include activities for generating internal awareness. Such internally oriented activities are particularly important in situations where many groups will “touch” customers as they progress from purchase to activation to support.
  • Customer Experience: This section documents the anticipated customer journey–either at a high level or in detail. Starting with how customers first hear about a product, it progresses through their purchase, activation, renewal, and possible cancellation. Exploring this journey helps to identify any “fall-off” points that may reduce conversion rates, or drive churn, while also helping to ensure that you’ll have the right people and systems in place to support the new products.
  • Technical Requirements: This section documents the technical requirements needed to support the new products. These requirements, which may be affected by decisions made in the previous sections of the plan, may include branding your customer-facing portals, and integrating sales and provisioning systems with third-party resources you’ve employed. Parallels can help you identify the technical requirements needed to launch your products.
  • Evaluation: This is where you spell out and prioritize the factors you’ll use to measure your success—for example, reaching a certain volume of sales in specific channels, or reducing churn of an existing product by attaching a cloud service. Try to be as specific and detailed as possible in outlining your goals and evaluation tactics—it will keep your team aligned and help to optimize activities through your launch.
  • Timeline and Execution: Finally, your plan needs to identify the timeline for execution, including next steps, the critical path for decisions, key milestones, and plans for reviewing and fine-tuning the GTM plan. This last point should not be overlooked, as good GTM plans are not static, but evolve with the project. As your plans progress, you can add details to increase the plan’s accuracy.

Do you have questions about how these plan elements apply to your cloud services business? Ask our market development team via Parallels PartnerNet. PartnerNet registration is free for all Parallels partners. If you are not a Parallels partner you can sign up for free at the member level.

Log in to Parallels PartnerNet for additional information and insights, and keep an eye out for future articles about best practices in cloud services. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover, email us at

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