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How to Successfully Launch a Product in Under 90 Days Build a solid, sustainable foundation for your SaaS or fintech business.

By Paul Sullivan Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • Use this effective framework to build a powerful go-to-market strategy.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

SaaS continues to expand at record rates, with SaaS growth at 11.7% CAGR and fintech, also mainly cloud-based, growing at a similar velocity at 11%. But most SaaS startups will fail for a variety of reasons, including poor go-to-market (GTM) strategy. I'm on a mission to change that.

Why? Because I've spent 15 years working with companies struggling to land their messaging, make an impact in the market and drive consistent expansion. In a terrifyingly titled McKinsey report, "Grow Fast or Die Slow," the authors outline that even at 20% annual growth, 92% of SaaS companies will cease existence within a few years. Fast, sustainable growth is everything. The sooner, the better.

In my experience, B2B and B2C SaaS, fintech and services teams, from startup to enterprise, often suffer the problems mentioned earlier at different scales. There's also too much noise and bad advice for early-stage and less confident founders; VCs tell them to go and sell their product, which is fundamentally the right strategy, but there's no context or value beyond that.

It should seem obvious that companies need solid foundations to enable long-term growth and stability. Still, time and again, I see founders bypass this (admittedly hard) work in the scramble to get to market — only to find themselves back at square one, needing our help reorienting the ship. So, how do you get it right?

Related: How to Build a Go-to-Market Strategy That Prevents Risk

Your GTM strategy should be based on assessment, research, ideas, strategy and execution (ARISE)

Start by assessing. Look at what you've done to date, and use that as a basis for change. For instance, analyze your website performance, your content. What's resonating? What isn't? Where are you losing your audience? Dig into your product, from retention rates to average lifetime value (ALV). Measure your onboarding effectiveness — where could you refine it? How can you measure its impact?

Next up is research, which includes competitive analysis, customer feedback and market sizing. To set a north star, you must set a user or buyer hypothesis and find people to interview even without customers. Wynter and Respondent spring to mind as platforms for this research.

Ideas — the creative element. Here, you focus on jobs to be done, your value proposition, storytelling and messaging and the service design framework. Understand the typical things your intended or current buyer/user does without your platform, and use that to understand where your solution picks up the heaviest load for that buyer. You must change their world. Use that insight as part of your external communications.

Strategy — by now, you've done a lot to organize your platform for GTM readiness, but here the work starts in earnest: goal and objective setting, content planning, personas and segmentation, keyword research, website strategy, sales enablement strategy (you don't want to wait on this one in particular), asset management, paid marketing, reporting, analytics and your CRM.

Related: How to Nail a Successful Product Launch

Your CRM is key to success (and a 360-degree view of your customer)

I'm a fan of HubSpot to enable the strategy, execution and operationalization of this approach. Not only because of the capacity of the platform but because early-stage tech companies can often achieve significant discounts via the HubSpot for startups program or their VC/angel investors. This allows business leaders to align their growth goals from go-to-market into full-blown revenue operations down the line.

Finally, you move to execution. All of the research and prep done in the previous stages come together, and now you can go live. We've seen B2B services teams closing their first deals in under two weeks, with an active pipeline in under a month. By this, we mean a mix of closed won, closed lost and open sales.

I believe growth should be programmatic in the sense that a business needs stages of development to achieve growth, clarify the chaos and work with the best business practice — that is, all teams operating on a single source of customer data.

Founders take note: Predictability is a good thing. A systemized, repeatable and scalable framework with proven results is the pinnacle for early and mid-stage tech firms.

Related: 6 Key Things to Consider When Bringing a Product to Market

The power of review — this is not a one-and-done process

The main assumption of go-to-market is that once you've done it — it's done. But as your offering matures (i.e., new features or fresh products in your tech stack), who buys from you and how you solve for those buyers may change. Therefore, you have a compelling reason to revisit positioning, messaging and personas periodically in order to keep scaling results.

We prefer the above approach, and to keep companies aligned to regular review, we set them up for success on HubSpot by building an ARISE framework into the platform. This enables founders and marketers to assign and track progress.

If you want to successfully launch a product in under 90 days, this framework has proven successful amongst the businesses that we work with. It's not for the faint of heart; it's for leaders who understand that strong positioning and messaging, combined with a robust sales strategy supported by comprehensive onboarding will allow you to retain and expand revenue from the outset. Plus, you develop a culture of testing and development. No slow deaths here.

Paul Sullivan

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder & Chief Strategist

Paul Sullivan founded Digital BIAS, a product marketing agency that works with B2B SaaS and Fintech teams across the go-to-market lifecycle. He is also the founder of Leevr, a competitive strategy platform. Paul has recently been listed as a 50 under 50 Disruptor in Tech.

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