Jay BreakstoneCEO & Founder
It doesn’t matter how innovative your solution may be, the way its sold and consumed by your customer will not only define its entry into this world but, more importantly, its overall success. Our company, Liqid, came out of stealth earlier this year, but even more important than making our entrance was that we began building our go-to-market (GTM) strategy long before that exciting moment.
Thankfully we had the ability to preemptively refine our sales strategy due to the collective wisdom of Liqid’s uniquely experienced executive team. We’ve struck what I believe is the right balance for a company of our size and stage, and this will make all the difference in delivering a technology platform and customer experience that allows Liqid to continue focusing on our mission while giving us the breathing room to scale and still keep customers happy.
In the datacenter market, hyperconverged solutions have firmly taken hold, moving from an emerging technology several years ago to the mainstream solution it is today. These types of infrastructures are managed through various software-defined applications that are shaping the landscape of the up-and-coming composable infrastructure market, which is where my company currently plays.
Gartner predicts composable infrastructure represents the next evolution of datacenter architecture. Obviously, I couldn’t agree more (I may be a bit biased), but with any new and emerging technology, the way that technology is used, and ultimately consumed by customers, may or may not match how its predecessor technologies were used and consumed by its customers. A go-to-market strategy (whether it be OEM, channel, or direct) that may have proved successful in the past doesn’t immediately correlate to success for your new solution. More importantly, understanding the implications of the go-to-market option you choose for your overall team building strategy is paramount. This warrants deeper analysis and reflection, buy-in from your investors and board of directors, and most importantly, customer feedback.
A great new white paper from Neuralytix that talks more about the evolution from hyperconverged to composable is available on our website for those that want to get a deeper understanding of datacenter trends that are unfolding before us. As illustrated in the paper, formal standards for composable infrastructure are yet to be adopted, but we know the time is right to offer something truly definitive in terms of architectural innovation. At the same time, we’ll be helping draw the contours of this future space, which brings me back to the topic of this discussion: Go-to-market.
Getting management aligned on market segments and the specific tactical focus for each one is a challenge worth revisiting regularly. This is critical for long-term strategic achievements in your sales and marketing strategies. The collective wisdom of your leadership team should be fully exploited, understanding that a balance needs to be met between internal resource constraints and growth objectives. Every executive has their own worldview and valuable experience; keep in mind the goals of your VP of Sales may differ from that of your VP of Finance. Factoring in sometimes divergent viewpoints is essential – and well worth the patience.
How will you deliver?
It’s no surprise that there are numerous paths to market when delivering an enterprise information technology solution like ours. Do we become the OEM? If so, should we focus on a direct to customer business model or does it make more sense to leverage the channel to deliver the goods? An OEM-assist model is another option worth serious consideration. OEMs have established channels and large customer bases that are always an attractive option over trying to build them organically. However, while each of these options provide their own distinct advantages, each also come with some drawbacks worth considering.
My team is in agreement that an OEM-assist model with several globally dominant partners, in an ideal world, would make a fantastic go-to-market strategy. Notice my use of the word “ideal.” That decision comes with risks: Put your eggs in the first multi-million-dollar OEM basket and you may not have the resources to allow for scalability in order to take advantage of other opportunities that present themselves with the second and third OEM partner. This places the organization in a high-risk scenario, where one customer can make or break your business – never a place you want to find your company, regardless of its growth stage.
In my next entry, I’ll talk about how we are angling to strike the balance between what’s “ideal” vs. “achievable,” positioning ourselves to take advantage of strategic OEM opportunities while diversifying our customer base to reduce risk and provide predictable cash flow. I’ll also discuss how we’re positioning ourselves for future growth by building flexibility into our GTM strategy. Check in early next week to read more.