June 30, 2022

GTM and Lead Generation: Why you're going at it the wrong way

GTM vs Lead Generation

Lead generation vs Go to market strategy. What’s the difference? Are they one and the same? Before we get into that, let's start with a small story.

The Story

Leadle: Basically we help B2B startups with GTM, market validation and lead generation.

SaaS Founder X: Oh nice..we have it all figured out. We're just looking for some lead generation to help scale our campaign, get closures etc.

Leadle: That’s great. How did you arrive at your ICP and how did you finalise your value proposition?

SaaS Founder X: Our investors actually gave us a bunch of introductions and we also tapped into our own network and interviewed them.

Leadle Founder: That's great but there's a difference between going through known contacts and validating in real-time scenarios.

SaaS Founder X: Ehh we're pretty sure that it'll work though.

Most new founders take this approach. You can't really fault them as they are doing what they think is best for their company. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.

Analogy 1

Here's an example: Say there's a car advertisement that says its mileage is 22 km per litre*. Notice the star. So the ICP of known contacts is like an equivalent to that. But a cold outreach scenario on the other hand is when you actually drive the car in real life to see the mileage. Is it really 22 km per litre?

You could have the BEST sales team in the world and the BEST lead generation strategy, but without a solid Go-To-Market plan, it won’t work long-term.

So what is GTM and how is it different from lead generation? Why is it so important? What outcome should you be gunning for in a successful GTM strategy? Let’s get into it!


GTM or a Go-To-Market strategy is a strategic plan that positions your service or product for launch while helping you with customer discovery and market development.  It’s a step-by-step plan that early-stage companies follow to achieve a competitive advantage and finally identify their ICP and validate their key assumptions.

Most B2B startups directly jump into lead generation without considering validation. They do this because they have to show investors some traction and outcome over a short period of time. The entire B2B SaaS space is aggressive, to say the least. You can't really blame them for feeling strongly about getting results the quickest way possible. That being said, it would be much better if GTM discovery and validation is done first before jumping into Lead Generation as it is a necessary investment to make.

I love giving analogies... so here's another one.

Analogy 2

It's like administering vaccines without proper trials. Sounds scary right? That's exactly how it is with GTM and lead generation. Before you start jabbing people with vaccines you need to test it first to see if it is working properly. Sales at the end of the day is not art. It's science. And science involves experimenting. That experiment is your Go-To-Market strategy.

GTM: How To

So how does one go about making a solid GTM strategy? Here’s a tried and true step-by-step process that Leadle follows.

Step 1: Define the problem

First and foremost while coming up with a GTM strategy, one must define the problem. Along with defining the problem, the solution and what benefit the customer will get should also be established. At this stage, this is only an assumption.

Step 2: ICP value proposition

Come up with an assumed ICP value proposition for the previously defined problem.

Step 3: Messaging & Discovery Outreach

Now you start the messaging and discovery outreach. This is your first touchpoint with potential customers to see if they are a good fit for your product or service and vice versa.

Step 4: Fix discovery calls

Don't try to pitch and sell. Approach it from a discovery POV and ask probing questions that validate your assumptions.

Step 5: Validate ICP and VP

As the final step in making a successful GTM strategy, you would have to validate your ICP, value proposition and positioning.

Lead generation on the other hand is a subset of GTM. It's a tactical process that helps you tackle the top to the middle of the sales funnel and also helps you tap into your ICP to generate high-quality leads for your product or service.

Analogy 3

Still not convinced you need a GTM strategy? You could just directly start generating leads for your product right? Hmm not really. That’s like putting on your underwear on top of your pants. It just doesn’t work. Unless you’re superman… but hey, superman is fiction.

So, before you scale your outreach, ensure your GTM strategy is validated in real-time and not just through feedback from known contacts as it really helps you achieve market validation. Right after market validation, lead generation helps you scale the process and generate revenue while maximizing growth.


Then the last question. What is the outcome of a successfully run GTM strategy and lead generation? The primary objective of an efficient GTM strategy is to achieve product-market fit by zeroing in on the ideal target audience, channels, messaging, pricing and branding.

On the other hand, the primary objective of lead generation is to establish repeatability in terms of qualified meetings with prospects that match your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Now that you know the difference between the two, go out there and come up with an awesome GTM strategy!  If you need any advice as to how you can go about achieving this for your company, drop a comment to let us know and we'll get in touch with you!

If you want to know more about why scaling up with a solid GTM strategy is important now more than ever, check out our other blog!

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