Let’s not beat around the bush: launches are awesome. LaunchING itself sucks.
You have to constantly jump between teams, tools, and switch contexts. Your tools don’t always work together. Your plan is fragmented across dozens of versions and apps. Then you have to make sure every stakeholder — from marketing and sales to the C-suite — understands the strategy, their role in it, and are pulling in the same direction. With all the different voices and departments involved, it’s a wonder that any products are launched at all.
Right about here is where a go-to-market planning platform comes into play.
A go-to-market planning platform is a SaaS tool that centralizes almost every aspect of GTM planning into one application. It takes the parts of a product launch that PMMs struggle with most and centralizes them into one platform, unifying an ordinarily disparate tool stack into one single source of truth, creating more stakeholder alignment, reducing chaotic versioning issues with launch plans, and helping PMMs overcome limitations due to bandwidth or skill gaps, by helping them actually execute important work like competitive and customer research. Let’s look at how a go-to-market planning platform makes your job suck less.
Go-to-market planning platforms create a single source of truth for your team and tools
The problem: marketing, sales, executives, and even members of the product launch team don’t always know where to go for the right launch-related info. PMMs are no strangers to multiple departments pinging them throughout the day to ask, “So where does the launch plan live again?”
Go-to-market planning platforms create that all-important single source of truth for all things launch related. Everyone, cross-functionally, can hop into your product launch tool and navigate to where the launch plan is, locate launch-related plans, timelines, assets, OKRs, and everything else that goes into sending a product out the door. And they can access that info at the appropriate altitude for their role (rather than sifting through a single, static, gargantuan doc).
It also centralizes your tools, which is sorely needed. Looking at the Product Marketing Alliance’s tools of choice, there are 15 different categories for tools commonly used by PMMs; you’re probably working with at least 10 on any given launch. That’s too many. Another problem: all the work you do with those 10 to 15 tools happens in different places, leading to fragmented data and context switching hell, which can eat up to 20 minutes per task.
Go-to-market planning platforms bring all the different tools a PMM works with “under one roof.” So yes, you can think of a product launch software as a home for your apps, but it’s also a place where you do the real work of planning. You can instantly gather (and monitor continuously) crucial competitive intelligence, or use rapid survey tools to conduct research among your existing audience to identify optimal pricing, packaging, or messaging. You can document and share plans, house assets, track approvals and tasks. And, all of these things are interconnected, so you can easily repurpose personas launch to launch. By marrying the places the work happens, and the places the work is communicated, you cut down on miscommunication and data silos.
A go-to-market planning platform simplifies your launch timeline and improves your processes
What happens when a task essential to your launch gets delayed? It causes an avalanche of issues. Dates have to shift, subtasks and launch plans need to be updated with the new timeline, and some poor PMM is pounding their fourth cup of coffee to get it all done in time.
“Who cares when we launch, so long as we launch!” is what that the CEO might be saying. Or maybe they’re saying “just ship it, don’t worry about a launch!” But every PMM knows both are just plain wrong. You should be aiming to launch more effectively, but doing so requires that you get faster at executing your launch process.
Launching quickly allows you to better time your launches so you can go live with a product or update when customer interest is at its peak. This also helps you stay competitive in your space. If your competitor is able to capitalize on customer interest in a timely fashion, and you’re still bogged down in the weeds with process issues, you’re going to be late to the proverbial punch. Suddenly you’re no longer releasing an innovative product, the first of its kind; instead, now you’re playing catch-up. Product launches — big or small — also generate interest in your company, which you can build off of to supercharge your next launch. And hey, the bump in revenue doesn’t hurt either.
Fast launches are important to success, but that doesn’t mean your launches should be reckless in the name of speed. go-to-market planning platforms help you launch faster, but they also give you the tools you need to create a more consistent and repeatable launch process that results in better outcomes.
Not only does a successful launch pattern prompt the need for a dedicated launch process — one multiple teams can rally behind, have visibility into, and that sets the pace for future launches — but also a go-to-market planning platform that accounts for changes to that launch process.
go-to-market planning platforms can dynamically build launch plans themselves for every type and tier of launch. These dynamic launch plans make recommendations for things like asset plans based on communication channels and then cascade out dates for launches, associated tasks, and those tasks’ associated subtasks. These dates aren’t static either, meaning you can change a timeline on a task and have everything associated with it shift in response. The days of busy PMMs updating cells in a spreadsheet with new dates and links to collateral are over. Welcome to a simpler launch timeline.
Without a go-to-market planning platform, you repeat yourself to stakeholders over and over and over
Different departments consume your launch plan in different ways. Take Sales for instance — beyond the fact that they may just misunderstand marketing lingo like “Positioning”, good 90% of what’s in a launch plan isn’t relevant to them, so if you send them the full plan their eyes will just glaze over. And this goes for other departments, marketing, product, and management included. go-to-market planning platforms surface relevant information and then route that information to the correct stakeholder, effectively de-siloing your launch plan and making sure it gets consumed properly.
Suddenly management is no longer rooting through assets you’ve created or the different tasks you need to finish to get your product launched; they’re looking at a dashboard with high-level strategy, OKRs, and KPIs. Marketing gets to see where approvals stand and where different marketing-related tasks are. Sales can see pricing information, assets available to them, and talking points.
So just to be clear: all of this is coming from the same launch plan — your go-to-market planning platform is simply showing the right stakeholders the right information, keeping everyone abreast of what’s happening with the launch. This also means that everyone has the same strategy documents and knows what KPIs you’re targeting. Your go-to-market planning platform becomes your single source of truth.
Many PMMs find themselves repeating their launch plan to different stakeholders. They make different versions of what is essentially the same plan so that it makes sense to different departments. It’s an exhaustive, time-wasting task that eats up valuable time and confuses stakeholders.
It turns bandwidth limitations into leverage
PMMs are expected to be the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to their roles. They need to be the content writer and the project manager, the researcher and the strategist, and the mind and the machine of each launch. But here’s the issue: PMMs are only human. No single person, aside from the most senior PMMs, has the knowledge and expertise to execute on every aspect of a launch perfectly.
Remember that list of 10-15 tasks and tools we talked about earlier? Each one of those tasks has an immeasurable depth of skill attached to it. From pricing, packaging, and positioning to the copywriting and the project management that goes into a single launch, when it comes to the skill ceiling, the sky’s the limit. Throw in multiple launches and timelines, and you’re looking at some serious bandwidth limitations.
A go-to-market planning platform helps PMMs overcome those bandwidth limitations by packaging everything into a single tech stack that helps you accomplish everything on that launch checklist. It makes it easier to close the skills gap for tasks like:
- Pricing and packaging, which is already a highly specialized skill. go-to-market planning platforms help you do pricing research with best-in-practice surveys for critical pricing and packaging research to help you identify acceptable price ranges appropriate packaging.
- Project management, which many junior PMMs might not have experience in just yet. go-to-market planning platforms have similar, high-level management functions but are specifically geared toward launching products.
- Copywriting, which might appeal to many writing-savvy PMMs but requires training and specialization to get really good at. Robust go-to-market planning platforms have AI-driven copy-generation tools.
- Positioning, which requires junior and senior PMMs alike to understand key differentiators that set their product apart in their market space.
- Competitive intel, which requires you to not only analyze a competitor’s website from a product perspective but keep tabs on your competitors well into the future.
- Customer comms, which require a PMM to excel in writing and publishing changelogs or release notes in the product itself, or on their website.
Everything that goes into the tasks above lives in your go-to-market planning platform. So, instead of pasting Google Doc links into project management tools or sending them back and forth across Slack or Teams, you can automatically generate that copy inside your go-to-market planning platform, store it in the platform, and then notify other team members that it’s ready for review in — you guessed it — a go-to-market planning platform.
The same goes for other tasks like pricing and positioning documents or research, meaning you can move fast and not get bogged down in the weeds by an individual task that you don’t have in your wheelhouse (yet).
Product launches don’t have to suck
Product launches have too many tools involved already. Ironically, it’s the addition of one more tool that makes the rest of these tools largely irrelevant. Ignition is that one tool — the linchpin in your launch plan that centralizes everything launch-related into one easy-to-use interface. If you’re looking to manage a single launch or multiple launches and then want to build a framework for every launch moving forward, you’ve found the right tool. Try it free today.