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Published:Sep 13, 2021

How To Plan a Go-to-Market Strategy For a New Software Product

This post is part of a series where we document our journey of building a new product, 7pace For GitHub in real-time. We share our experiences and what we have learned along the way. Here’s how it all started.

We are software engineers, and we like to code all day.

But when you launch a product, you need to do more than writing the best code on the planet. You must make sure the software reaches the right audience.

That means answering the question: Why do people want your stuff?

That’s why we’re sharing how we came up with our go-to-market (GTM) strategy for our new product, 7pace for GitHub.

Specifically, we’ll focus on our target audience and unique positioning — the foundation of any marketing message.

Why?

If your software doesn’t solve a problem for or meet the needs of a specific audience, or if you can’t communicate why they should use your product, you may leave out many potential customers who can benefit from your solution.

In this article, we’ll show you how we connect the dots between our audience, product, and mission to create a powerful and cohesive marketing message.

How To Plan a Go-to-Market Strategy For a New Software Product

Defining the Target Audience For 7pace For GitHub

First thing first, who’s using our new product? Are they different from our existing Azure DevOps users?

While we’re still speaking to software engineers, we had to figure out how to appeal to a subset of this audience with a new product extension.

To speak to this segment, we must articulate how the features in the new product solve problems specific to GitHub users. We need to differentiate the product while adding to the overarching benefits of using a time tracker.

We tap into our experience to create a product that’s useful for other developers.

This is how it got started: We created a time tracking application for ourselves, used it internally, and realized that it was well-received by colleagues outside of the company. So we created an extension for Azure DevOps.

Then, we saw that other software engineers using other platforms experience the same challenges with time tracking, which led us to build 7pace For GitHub.

GitHub is becoming popular among venture capital (VC) and enterprise users. For instance, 90% of Fortune 500 companies are using GitHub. Meanwhile, developers also use the platform for various purposes (e.g., contributing to open-source software.)

And 7pace For GitHub will address the time-tracking challenges for all these users.

What Problem Are We Solving For Our Target Audience?

Now we know who our audience is, we need to show how we solve their challenges. We also need to connect our product with our audience’s sentiments about time-tracking.

For most developers, time-tracking is frustrating.

Even though we have so many time-recording applications on the market, most people still have an outdated mindset and follow archaic processes that don’t benefit the developers.

Today’s time recording tools are tedious and error-prone. They turn time-tracking into yet another chore that requires attention and effort. They add more work to the developers’ plate instead of helping them become more effective or successful.

But it doesn’t mean that software engineers shouldn’t be tracking their time.

On the contrary, we believe that tracking time and making the data accessible is key to managing our time more efficiently and planning projects more accurately — another challenge many developers face.

Professional developers have to answer questions such as, “When will it be ready?” “Can you tell me how much time it will take?” Or “what will be the cost or effort?”

Of course, you can draw from experience and gut feelings. But how can you tell what you come up with is indeed accurate if you aren’t tracking your time?

So it goes back to the first challenge — most time-tracking apps are tedious, complicated, and time-consuming. As a result, time-tracking isn’t something developers do automatically and intuitively.

And if they aren’t tracking time in a way that benefits them, they don’t have the data to make accurate estimates and decisions.

How We Solve Time-Tracking Challenges For Our Target Audience

Now that we have set the stage by understanding our target audience’s challenges and frustrations, we must articulate how 7pace for GitHub can solve the problem.

We solve the time-tracking challenge differently by putting time-tracking in the background of everything that you do, so you don’t have to pay attention to it or remember to do it.

We make time-tracking “just happen.” like how a smartwatch tracks your heart rate. Then, you can pull up the data when you need it and see the results.

You can use the solution whether you’re working in an enterprise environment, a freelancer juggling projects from different clients, or a private coder contributing to open source software.

7pace helps you gather data without any extra work, so you have the information to improve your work and plan more accurately.

Articulating the Value Proposition of 7pace For GitHub

Next, we must answer the question: So what? Why should our target audience choose 7pace For GitHub over other time recording apps in the market?

Our users don’t have to worry about remembering or writing down what they have done because 7pace dynamically connects their time with each work item on GitHub.

You can go back to your work log any time and see what you have worked on. The time you have spent is always associated with a task on GitHub.

As such, 7pace gives you the most direct way to track time.

You don’t need to make more than a couple of clicks nor do any complicated configuration. You log into GitHub, track your time right where you work, and see the results directly.

How 7pace is Different From Other Time Recording Applications

7pace For GitHub is a developer-centric solution.

It’s very different from other time-recording applications, which are owned by employers.

Instead, 7pace is built for the person doing the work, not those managing the work. The software engineers own their accounts and data on 7pace no matter what they work on or who they work for.

Our users can see everything they work on, not just a specific project for a particular client or company. They can also see the work they do on Azure DevOps on the same dashboard if they choose to connect to the platform.

They can see all their projects and how they spend their time all in one place — whether the activities are private or associated with a particular company.

Then, users can decide what information they share about which project and with whom. For example, if a manager asks how much time a task would take, a developer can grant the manager access to specific timesheets and projects on 7pace to inform the estimation process.

Since you own the data, you have complete control over how you report your time.

Another differentiation point ties back to our philosophy. We don’t consider time recording a system on its own because time-tracking itself doesn’t offer any benefits.

We aren’t building a system just for time recording. 7pace sits on top of all the tools developers use. All you need to do is to click on a single button, and you’re connected to GitHub. We don’t ask more questions. You simply log in with your GitHub or Azure DevOps credentials, track time, and see your data.

Driving Home the Message

To create a powerful message, we must connect the benefits and features of the product to our mission and vision.

We believe that time recording should be personal.

7pace makes it possible by allowing developers to connect their accounts to where the work happens and see how they spend their time.

Most importantly, you own your data.

Your account and data follow you wherever you go. No matter what systems you’re connected to, what organizations you’re working for, or what open source projects you’re contributing to.

When we connect the features of our software to the benefits, then tie it all together by linking to our mission and vision, we create a cohesive marketing message that appeals to our target audience.

And this is how we set the foundation for our GTM strategy.

But an air-tight GTM strategy won’t do us any good if the product doesn’t hit the market on time and with the right features that our audience wants.

In this series, we also discuss how we estimate our timeline when building something entirely new, how we balance staffing decisions, and how we build a beta audience.

What to find out how it all goes down as we take this project across the finish line?

We’ll be sharing new posts and teardowns of our product development process. We’ll post insights and lessons along the way—join us to see what happens.

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