10 Best SaaS GTM Strategies

Examples of how great companies figured out GTM

Welcome to the Category Surfers where we break down go-to-market strategies so you can build the best SaaS growth engine.

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10 Best SaaS GTM Strategies with Examples

Great companies understand that you can’t just hire more marketers and sales reps with the expectation of growing revenue. That of course may happen but without a strategy, you’re flying blind.

I've been building GTM orgs and researching GTM strategies for this newsletter. And here are the main 10 GTM strategies:

1. Sell software for free, monetize with different product

Ramp is a great example here. You get to use Ramp for free to issue corporate cards. They make money on transaction fees. You don’t pay anything, yet they somehow grow revenues.

2. Build a compound startup (distribution arbitrage)

Rippling the “Daddy” of the compound startup movement. You build one platform and sell it to every department in the company, basically splitting sales and marketing costs across a dozen products. Ultimate arbitrage.

3. Build a strong technology moat

This is very rare. Open AI comes to mind. They’ve been building the right AI technology for a decade. Now the competition is playing catch up. So hard to executive but if you do it well you’re the next Google (or should I say Open AI?).

4. Self-serve / Product-led

A popular strategy that explains the exploding growth of companies like Slack, Figma, and Zoom. Letting users sign up easily to use and experience the product helps market and sell it. This strategy works well if competitors are not yet doing that but the product has the product-led capabilities.

5. Build a growth engine from usage

Companies often stack this strategy with product-led. The self-serve helps get users into the product and sell its features, this one helps grow the user base from existing users. Miro is an example here, almost all brainstorming software has the self-serve option but Miro figured out how to grow its users with a strong positioning.

6. Create an ecosystem

Salesforce built an ecosystem early on. They attacked the CRM predecessors by being on the Cloud and allowed users to easily connect to all other systems. Now they almost have a monopoly on CRM and every salestech or martech needs to connect to Salesforce.

7. Partner for distribution

Catching the right partner could explode your growth. It’s so hard to know which one will become global. Klaviyo partnered heavily with Shopify and won. This strategy is also responsible for the growth of HubSpot which focused on marketing agencies to drive a significant part of its revenues.

8. Go all-in on a one-vertical

Toast picked restaurants and built everything a mom-and-pop restaurant would ever need. ServiceTitan focused on all the tools a trade business will ever need.

9. Capitalize on a new trend

AI in 2022, Fintech in 2018. Scale AI and Plaid built for the next big thing. You can either be too early, too late, or just perfect. Hard to bank on that fact alone but definitely worth considering.

10. Sell “Build vs buy” products

I’m not that old to know but I can imagine it was an engineering effort to take payments online before Stripe. Same with Twilio, building an infra to send text is not easy. This strategy focuses on building software that companies often need to build themselves.

Next move

You can do everything but not everything at once. The same happens with GTM motions. Don’t start with self-serve if you haven’t figured out sales-assisted growth (or vice versa).

You need to be amazing at one and great at a few distribution tactics to build a generational software company. Pick your next move correctly and know when to adjust.

You’re a legend — thank you for reading!

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