What are the key elements of a successful go-to-market strategy?

Dave Katona / November, 2017


Dave Katona, Director of Market Enablement at SAP Startup Focus explains the key success components to a successful go-to-market strategy.

Video Transcript

What are the key elements of a successful go-to-market strategy?

I’ve had experience on both sides of the stream. Both at a number of startups, some of which have been highly successful. Others have been colossal failures. At SAP, I’ve had experience working with a number of startups of a number of different sizes, and it comes down to really have the basics across the board in common, which are really in three key areas, but it comes down to one lowest common denominator, which is clarity.

You got to have clarity fundamentally around your messaging to the market, to customers, and to everyone you meet, including the people you sell to, the people you sell with, and most importantly, the fundamental value to the marketplace in general. I meet a lot of founders, CTOs, Chief Revenue Officers, that love their technology they have developed and will articulate the value of their technology, their platform, and their great tools all day long, and forget the fact that people part with money to purchase technology because they have a problem.

A business problem to be solved. One thing that I’ve learned both on the startups that I’ve worked with and the ones that I have worked for. I’ve seen this problem a lot where people will get up in front of others and do a demo for an hour and show you all the great fields, features, and functions, and ‘look how great my technology is’, and forget that the whole reason for why the people are in the room are because their cost for manufacturing is too high, or it takes them too long to look up a document across a million different documents in their company, that they actually have a business problem to be solved, and that is one of the fundamental mistakes that I have seen startups make.

The second is clarity around the sales and go-to-market motion, that really comes down to how do you price and sell to the market?
What are the appropriate channels?
How do you price them in the right way?
How do I actually sell to these people?
What are my target markets?
What are my target buyers?
How do I truly get in there?
How do I hire the right people to get in there?
How do I leverage those people and those connections to get in there?

The third thing that I have always relied on both at startups and really pushed my partners at SAP to do is to think outside of your own company. Leverage a partner. Leverage your ecosystem. There are others in the same domain or industry that you are that were probably there ten years before you founded your company. They probably own the customer that you are trying to sell to. Find them. Find that system integration partner.

Find someone that have been servicing that customer. Maybe in a completely different industry than you. Build that relationship in a partner ecosystem. Like at SAP Startup Focus, one thing that we really do, and that is why we are working with startups, is to mentor them and really trying to drive them towards thinking outside of that box. Giving that focus on how to do the sales motion, and getting clarity around their message – that’s really what I have learned over the years both outside of SAP working at startups and also working with these startups.



  • Dave Katona, SAP Startup Focus
  • November, 2017
  • 4:04
  • Marketing & Sales, Sales

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