saas go-to-market strategy

SaaS Go-To-Market Strategy: The Crucial Role of Research

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Authored byRaeann Bilow

As a B2B marketer, you understand the significance a comprehensive go-to-market (GTM) strategy plays in the successful launch of any new SaaS solution. This strategy should incorporate essential elements such as detailed buyer personas, a well-defined pricing model, compelling messaging, and more.

Yet, the crucial component that often gets overlooked is research. Go-to-market research isn’t just another aspect of a GTM strategy; it serves as the bedrock that shapes all the strategic decisions a SaaS company makes when introducing its solution to the market.

Effective research involves addressing the tough questions necessary for informing your GTM strategy. Is there a solid space for your offering in the market? Are you precisely targeting the right audience? Does your messaging resonate with the pain points and essential tasks of your potential customers? Most importantly, how can you ensure not only immediate adoption but also a trajectory of sustained, long-term success?

The answers to these questions will ultimately inform an effective GTM strategy built on certainty – not guesswork.

Know Before You Go (To Market): What SaaS GTM Research Reveals

Research reveals the crucial insights that you need to form an effective GTM strategy, including:

Accurate and Detailed Buyer Personas

The foundational step for any successful go-to-market strategy involves identifying the primary personas that your SaaS solution aims to target. GTM research plays a crucial role in analyzing the market and pinpointing the specific personas that sales and marketing should focus on.

Once these personas are identified, the research should delve into their motivators, challenges, pain points, and jobs-to-be-done. It should also explore the broader ecosystem of the buying process, understanding where these key personas fit within that journey. For instance, how does the solution need to integrate with existing infrastructure? What pricing information do customers expect at different stages of the buyer’s journey?

At Cascade Insights, here are some questions we typically ask key personas during go-to-market research projects to help glean these insights:

  • What are your top technical and business priorities for the year?
  • How do you interact with different roles when completing your jobs-to-be-done?
  • How do you identify potential solutions?
  • How do you educate yourself on offerings that might meet your business or technical needs?
  • Where do you seek information on how to purchase [product/service]?
  • What evaluation steps precede your contact with a vendor?
  • Which vendors do leaders, buyers, and influencers consider? Which are perceived as being behind?
  • Is a “proof of concept” necessary for your decision-making?
  • How do you narrow down a long list to a shortlist?
  • What kind of support do you expect from a vendor in making your decision?

The answers to these questions give SaaS companies the information they need to tailor their GTM strategy to the specific needs and challenges of their potential customers.

A Clear View of the Competitor Landscape

Go-to-market research provides SaaS companies with a comprehensive analysis of the competitive landscape. This analysis delves into the features, pricing, and positioning of competing solutions, offering a deeper understanding. By identifying gaps in the market or areas where competitors fall short, SaaS companies can capitalize on opportunities for differentiation.

Moreover, go-to-market research helps illuminate potential partnerships that could be beneficial for companies to establish. Collaboration with strategic partners in the SaaS ecosystem can add immense value to go-to-market strategies.

For instance, we recently had a client who aimed to expand from offering a benefits management SaaS product to a complementary financial management product. This same client had established a strong connection with their customers as a trusted advisor and solution provider. Our client assumed that this strong relationship and market position would allow them to easily position the new offering as something current clients should quickly adopt.

However, research revealed a lack of trust in this non-financial entity’s ability to handle the promised day-to-day administration of their new solution. In response, the SaaS company decided to partner with a reputable financial institution, mitigating potential trust issues. This strategic move, informed by customer feedback, prevented a critical misstep that could have occurred without engaging with their customer base.

Scalable Pricing Models

A SaaS go-to-market strategy needs to include a scalable pricing model that aligns with the value offered to customers. A well-structured pricing strategy is fundamental to attracting and retaining diverse customer segments with varying needs. This often involves incorporating flexible pricing options, such as tiered pricing or usage-based pricing.

Tiered pricing allows customers to choose a plan that best suits their requirements and budget, while usage-based pricing aligns costs with actual usage, providing a more tailored approach. Additionally, offering trial periods or freemium models can play a pivotal role in building trust and enticing potential customers to transition into paying users.

However, determining the most effective pricing and packaging model requires a thorough understanding of the market dynamics and customer preferences. GTM research helps to reveal that information by showing which pricing and packaging model will work best for your solution. This ensures that your SaaS offering not only reflects its true value but also resonates with your target audience, increasing the likelihood of conversion from potential users to paying customers.

Compelling Messaging and Positioning

One of the most significant outcomes of a GTM research project is the insights needed to craft an effective messaging and positioning strategy. Through research, businesses can identify what sets their product apart and communicate this effectively to their target audience. This differentiation is not only crucial for acquiring customers but also for retaining them in a highly competitive environment.

For example, we recently worked with a client who was poised to launch an innovative cybersecurity tool. Despite having confidence in the product’s capabilities and its ability to address a significant industry concern, the initial response in focus groups was not as expected. Customers were not receptive, raising the question of why.

The research revealed that while customers appreciated the product, the product’s messaging was the stumbling block. Had our client not conducted this research prior to launching their solution, they would have gone to market with messaging that limited the solution’s growth potential.

Capitalize on Opportunity with SaaS Go-To-Market Research

​​”Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser

A go-to-market launch requires a ton of preparation, creativity, and tenacity if that launch is going to be successful. But that combination of effort and skill won’t lead to a good outcome if you don’t understand the needs of your buyers, the competitive landscape, and market perceptions.

Fill that gap by working with a market research agency that fully understands go-to-market research and how to apply that knowledge to the unique needs of SaaS companies. With more than 15 years of conducting market research for B2B tech companies, we’ll be sure your new launch is poised for success.

Cascade Insights, a market research & marketing firm, helps companies seize opportunities in the B2B technology sector. Check out our custom go-to-market research services.

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