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People-first GTM: The Go-to-Market Strategy Every Brand Should Be Using

People-first GTM: The Go-to-Market Strategy Every Brand Should Be Using

Mark Kilens 6 min

Once upon a time, brands thrived using go-to-market (GTM) strategies like Inbound Marketing or Predictable Revenue while also gating every single piece of content they could. These playbooks were reliable, driving growth and success for many businesses.

However, as the world continues to evolve, the efficacy of these strategies has begun to wane. 

The problem isn't the playbooks themselves; rather, they often focus more on the company's needs than the people they serve. Buyers' expectations and behaviors have changed, and brands must adapt to stay relevant and competitive.

The solution lies in embracing a people-first approach to go-to-market strategies. 

By putting the customer at the center of every decision and interaction, brands can foster deeper connections, build trust, and ultimately drive more sustainable growth. In this post, we'll give you a go-to-market strategy framework that’ll help transform your organization's focus to be people-first.

Key Takeaways

  • B2B buyers have changed. Shift to a people-first GTM strategy.

  • Prioritize customer needs and experiences.

  • Regularly revisit and refine your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

  • Establish guiding principles based on ICP to showcase vision, mission, and values

  • Create a holistic GTM plan that includes the full revenue team and serves the entire customer journey

The Changing Landscape of GTM Strategy

The days of spamming your total addressable market (TAM) with emails and cold calls are over.

As it should be.

Companies can no longer afford to ignore the wants and needs of their customers. Literally, in many cases. 

Not only do you run the risk of turning away more discerning buyers who prefer personalized experiences tailored to their unique preferences, but there’s a legal component as well. 

With the rise of privacy laws and increased consumer awareness, once people become unmarketable, there’s a hefty fine attached to reaching out to them again without their explicit permission.

Shifting to a people-first go to market strategy requires a fundamental change in how we approach GTM strategies, moving away from traditional, company-centric playbooks and towards a more empathetic, customer-focused approach. 

How to Build a People-First Go To Market Strategy

This go-to-market strategy framework is your compass for navigating today’s buyer landscape. It enables your brand to build lasting relationships with its customers. As the name says, it starts by putting people first. 

Here’s what that looks like.

  1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile 

You might be thinking “but I already have my ICP identified”. Our answer to that? Revisit it. Markets, technologies, and consumer preferences are constantly evolving, and what worked yesterday may not be effective today. 

Once you have your guiding principles in place, use them as a litmus test for every decision you make in your GTM strategy. From the channels you choose to the content you create, every element should align with and reinforce these principles.

Start by reassessing your ICP based on current customer problems, total addressable market, serviceable addressable market, account fit, and buyer fit. Analyze your existing customer base to identify commonalities and patterns, then use this data to inform your account segment and buyer persona definitions. 

  1. Establish your Belief System and Principles 

Based on your buyer insights, it's time to take a hard look at your own positioning and how it aligns with what you learned in step 1. This is where you need to look inward as an organization and establish a set of guiding principles.

Your guiding principles should be a reflection of your team's vision, mission, values, and unique point of view. 

They serve as a North Star, ensuring that every aspect of your GTM strategy remains consistent, authentic, and true to your brand. These principles should be used as a litmus test for every decision you make in your GTM strategy, from the channels you choose to the content you create. 

Every element should align with and reinforce these principles.

  1. Develop your Positioning and Messaging: 

With your ICP and principles in place, it’s time to start creating a brand story that’ll be both authentic and speak directly to your ideal buyers. 

Develop a strategic narrative and thought leadership category/movement that addresses their pain points, educates them on relevant topics, and showcases how your brand can help them achieve their goals. To make your messaging truly impactful, focus on value-based messaging, use cases, and customer examples that demonstrate the tangible benefits of your product or solution. 

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got some great resources within ClubPF that can help you with this step.

Remember: your positioning and messaging should be a direct reflection of your principles and the insights you've gained from your target audience.

  1. Analyze Buyer Intent Signals: 

Intent data is a powerful tool for identifying the 3-5% of your market that's actively searching for solutions like yours. 

By analyzing signals such as search queries, content consumption, and social media activity, you can pinpoint the accounts and buyers most likely to be in-market for your offerings.

However, intent data is just one piece of the puzzle. 

To fully understand your ideal buyers, combine intent data with direct feedback through surveys, interviews, and other outreach methods. This holistic approach will help you determine which segments of your target audience are most likely to connect with your brand story and offerings, enabling you to tailor your GTM strategy for maximum impact.

  1. Leverage Partner-Led Growth Strategies: 

Buyers now ask, 'Who can I trust to help me solve X?' instead of 'How can I solve X? This shift in mindset makes partner-led growth a powerful strategy for expanding your reach and influence.

To identify who those ideal partners are, start with making a list of companies or individuals that share your target audience and values. These could be complementary products or services, thought leaders, or passionate customers. Remember, no brand exists in a vacuum – you're entering a market with history.

From there, collaborate with these partners and influencers in creating content to get a massive boost in awareness of your brand. 

By collaborating with trusted partners, you can tap into their established authority and expand your audience base. Approach partnerships as mutually beneficial relationships, offering value in return for their support.

  1. Implement Additional People-First GTM Offers and Channels: 

To truly connect with your audience, you need to create offers and channels that allow for direct engagement. Moreover, they need to be in channels that your audience actually engages with. 

In addition to Partner-led growth, there are 6 more avenues you can go:

  • Content-led Growth

  • Event-led Growth

  • Product-led Growth

  • Community-led Growth

  • Member-led Growth

  • Customer-led Growth

You don’t have to invest in all of these at once. In fact, you really shouldn’t. Choose one or two offers and channels to invest in. 

Master those, then add more to the mix. 

No one of these is really “better” than the other, they’re merely different approaches to nurture long-term relationships with your followers. By giving your audience multiple touchpoints and opportunities to engage with your brand, you'll build a loyal community of advocates.

  1. Execute Integrated Revenue Campaigns: 

Once you've developed your offers and channels, it's time to execute integrated revenue campaigns. By that we mean putting the whole strategy into motion, relying on the individual parts of the revenue team (Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success) to handle their part. 

These campaigns should leverage all the work you’ve done to this point and include a combination of tactics and channels to reach and engage your target audience in a holistic, cohesive way. 

This might mean using micro-content (short social media posts, infographics, and snippets) to drive traffic back to your main content pieces (webinars, blogs, whitepapers, podcasts, etc). 

Likewise, you can use paid and earned channels across social and email to ensure your content gets in front of the right people at the right time.

  1. Ensure Customer Success and Management: 

Your job isn't done once the deals start closing. 

That's just the beginning of the next phase of their journey: that of the customer—And to truly put people first, you need to prioritize customer success and management throughout the entire lifecycle.

This includes having the following well-thought-out, documented, and ready-to-implement:

  • A robust onboarding process.

  • Guidance, resources, and support from your CS team.

  • Established KPIs for retention and value (e.g., product usage, engagement, sentiment).

  • Ongoing customer education and training.

If you continuously deliver value and support, you’ll be creating more than a healthy customer base but forming a squad of lifelong brand advocates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Around GTM Strategy:

1. How often should I revisit my GTM strategy?


2. What metrics should I use to measure the success of my GTM efforts?

3. How can I ensure alignment between my GTM strategy and overall business objectives?

4. What role should customer feedback play in refining my GTM approach?


Always Build an Audience First!

Adopting a people-first GTM strategy is an imperative to stay relevant with buyers. 

Creating a holistic GTM plan that serves the entire customer journey will have you well-equipped to build lasting relationships with your target audience but remember, the key to success lies in putting your customers at the heart of every decision and interaction. 

From the initial stages of crafting your GTM strategy to ensuring customer success and management long after the sale, approaching each step from a people-first perspective will make all the difference. 

By embracing this transformative approach, you'll not only foster deeper connections and trust with your customers but also drive sustainable growth for your brand in the long run. 

Tired of Outdated, Company-centric GTM? Join the Club.

Join the movement of marketers who put people first in ClubPF. 

Get access to resources, expert insights, and a community of like-minded professionals revolutionizing GTM strategies. 


Mark Kilens 6 min

People-first GTM: The Go-to-Market Strategy Every Brand Should Be Using

Discover the people-first go-to-market strategy framework every brand should be using. Learn how to prioritize customer needs, refine your ICP, and build lasting relationships for sustainable growth.

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