Market Research

22 Metrics to Discover Your Top Go-to-Market Priorities

May 4, 2015

There are no lack of things on your plate. Deciding on the right things to focus on in your go-to-market strategy is crucial to actually moving the needle (vs. wasting time and resources on unnecessary distractions). So how do you narrow your focus? It all comes down to effective prioritization, and as I laid out in my previous post, a big part of that is being able to say no to projects and initiatives that aren’t clearly aligned with core objectives. We all know how difficult saying no can be, but having a transparent prioritization process in place can make it much easier.

The most difficult part of establishing this type of prioritization process in your organization is coming up with the system of measurement. How do you measure “impact” when it’s such a loaded term and needs to be clearly defined?

The way we think about impact here at OpenView is by determining how an initiative or project will help a company come closer to realizing its objectives and achieving its corporate goals. Impact is the incremental progress towards or away from one or more of these goals or objectives.

Effective Prioritization in Practice

Let’s say your company has 3-5 corporate objectives this year. Each are tied to a given metric that measures performance in regard to that goal.

There are any number of initiatives you can spend your time and resources against this quarter, but to determine priorities you should always establish measures of impact that tie directly back to those larger strategic goals.

This ensures your company is focused on things that truly matter for success (assuming the board has chosen the proper strategy and direction).

At the highest level, these goals will typically fall into one of the following eight themes:

goal categories

Thus, the prioritization metrics that you come up with to gauge impact of initiatives should align up to the goals. In doing so, you will also create better alignment across the organization.

That’s Great, But Where Do I Start?

I recently interviewed 10 go-to-market experts about how to think about measuring impact for go-to-market and product-related projects:

  • Grant Wilson, Managing Partner at Force Management
  • April Dunford, Founder, Rocket Launch Marketing
  • Stephanie Tilton, B2B Marketing Consultant at Ten Ton Marketing
  • Matt Bertuzzi, Head of Sales & Marketing Operations Consultant at The Bridge Group
  • Heather Margolis, Founder & CEO at Channel Maven
  • Laz Gonzales, Group Service Director, Channel Strategies at Sirius Decisions
  • Scott Maxwell, Managing Director at OpenView Venture Partners
  • Blake Harris, Growth Strategist at OpenView Venture Partners
  • CeCe Bazar, Sales Strategist at OpenView Venture Partners
  • Tien Anh Nguyen, Director of Market Insights at OpenView Venture Partners

I have synthesized what I have learned from these conversations and put together a list of potential metrics to consider for the most common go-to-market research projects startup and expansion-stage B2B software companies tend to focus on. My hope is seeing how we think about these measurements will help you understand how you can apply a similar methodology to your own organization.

Below are the metrics we typically consider as potential impact measurements, along with an explanation on what we use each to measure.

Note: The metrics in blue are leading metrics and those in beige are lagging metrics.

Segmentation Metrics

Types of initiatives: These metrics can be used to gauge the impact of the following types of research projects:

Alignment with key corporate objectives:­ The goal of these projects is to improve capital efficiency by boosting the effectiveness and efficiency of GTM processes.

segmentation project metrics

Buyer Insights Metrics

Types of initiatives:

Alignment with key corporate objectives:­ The goal of these projects is to make processes repeatable and scalable, improving efficiency and effectiveness of GTM processes.

buyer insights research metrics

Ecosystem Metrics

Types of initiatives:

  • Ecosystem partner research (sales, product, implementation, etc.)
  • Market landscaping (for acquisitions, exits, partnership opportunities, etc.)

­Alignment with key corporate objectives:­ Market share growth, market penetration, new market development, market coverage, lower CAC, etc.

ecosystem research metrics

Marketing Channel Metrics

Types of initiatives:

Alignment with key corporate objectives:­  Operation improvement, capital efficiency, market coverage

marketing channel metrics

Product Metrics

Types of initiatives:

  • Product positioning and/or planning
  • Buy vs. build vs. partner decisions
  • Product roadmap

­Alignment with key corporate objectives:­ Market share growth, market penetration, new market development, market coverage, etc.

product research metrics

I also recommend reading through the two case studies on how we measured impact for a recent segmentation and buyer insights project that I provided in my previous post. This will help you understand how a metric can be applied to a specific project or initiative.

The key to using this approach is that you need to translate the measurements into potential impact, and you need to balance accuracy vs. time to estimate. The last thing you want to do is slow down the organization.

We are still in the process of figuring this out at OpenView, but early signs indicate that it will make a big difference in the quality of our project prioritization. Taking this approach thus far has been a great exercise for making sure initiatives are truly top priorities and not just projects for the sake of doing projects.

How Do You Prioritize Go-to-Market Projects?

I would love to hear about how you are using similar processes to guide prioritization in your organizations. Please share your stories in the comments below.

Photo by judylcrook

Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy

<strong>Brandon Hickie</strong> is Marketing Manager, Pricing Strategy at <a href="">LinkedIn</a>. He previously worked at OpenView as Marketing Insights Manager. Prior to OpenView Brandon was an Associate in the competition practice at Charles River Associates where he focused on merger strategy, merger regulatory review, and antitrust litigation.