March 12, 2024

Building a high-performing GTM team: A five-step guide for cybersecurity startups

There has been an acknowledged skills gap in the cybersecurity industry for the last few years. The shortage of candidates has led to gaps in knowledge, increased workloads and burnout – backed by research that says seven in 10 organisations have been impacted by the lack of skills in the industry. This has also had an impact on GTM teams. Especially in light of the upheaval in the post-Covid market with a mass of redundancies around GTM jobs and the rush to now fill those roles.

With just as an important role to play as engineers, go-to-market teams are vital in the crowded and highly competitive cybersecurity space. A winning GTM team will develop and optimise your cybersecurity go-to-market strategy. Your GTM team is responsible for driving growth, building brand awareness and ultimately building the foundation for your organisation’s success.

We have created a five-step guide that specifically looks at building GTM teams. It acknowledges the importance of hiring for GTM jobs and getting the right candidates into those GTM roles. The guide also provides strategies and insights for cybersecurity startups to assemble, manage and empower GTM teams that will boost success.

1)  Defining GTM roles

The first place to start with go-to-market recruitment is defining exactly what you want. Looking at your GTM team structure, define which roles you need, clearly define what the role encompasses, and detail their responsibilities. This gives you a solid foundation from which to build out your recruitment strategy.

It’s good to bear in mind that cybersecurity companies have unique needs when it comes to sales and marketing and when you’re defining the roles, ensure these needs are taken into account.

Typical GTM roles required for successful cybersecurity startups include:

  • Directors, VPs, and C-Suite Executives
  • GTM Managers
  • Business/Sales Development Reps
  • BDR/SDR Managers
  • Account Managers / New Business Account Executives
  • Pre-Sales Engineers
  • Customer Success Managers
  • Channel / Alliance Sales Managers
  • Product Marketers / Marketing Managers
GTM teams - defining GTM roles

In addition, always consider your GTM roles in the context of the bigger picture of not just the GTM team, but your organisation. Make sure there is strong alignment between your GTM roles and your overall business objectives. If this is a challenge for your business, enlist the help of cybersecurity sales and marketing recruitment specialists that will not only understand your business but the wider industry as well.

2) Assembling and managing effective GTM teams

The second step is a continuation of your first step; it is taking a deep dive into your ideal GTM team to understand the key components of it. Importantly, you need to identify the core skills and competencies needed for your GTM roles – not just in terms of experience and education but also cultural fit. Do you value initiative? Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset? Innovation focused?

The ideal successful GTM mix should incorporate:

  • Market strategy:Develop and execute product launches, analyse trends and competition, define value proposition.
  • Digital marketing and channel expertise:Leverage digital channels, develop targeted campaigns, and manage distribution partners.
  • Communication and customer focus:Clearly articulate product value and develop deep customer understanding.
  • Sales enablement:Equip the sales team for success with tools and knowledge.
  • Pricing strategy: Implement effective pricing strategies.
  • Leadership and problem solving:Lead teams, solve GTM challenges, and inspire collaboration.
  • Presentation and negotiation skills:Craft compelling presentations and negotiate effectively.————-
  • Data-driven decision making:Utilise data to measure success and make informed GTM adjustments.
  • Project management: Execute and manage projects, ensure deadlines are met.
  • Agile methodology and adaptability:Embrace agility to rapidly adapt to market shifts.
  • Cross-functional collaboration:Work seamlessly with sales, marketing, product, and support teams.

Once you’ve identified these core skills and competencies, either with your in-house recruitment teams or using the help of specialist GTM recruiters, you can develop your overarching strategy for recruiting for these GTM jobs, identifying the right talent and hiring your GTM team.

3) Recruiting, retaining and empowering GTM professionals

It is not just go-to-market recruitment that can be challenging for cybersecurity businesses but also retaining your top talent once you have them embedded in your GTM team.

The first thing to consider is compensation and benefits – that is no surprise. Both must be more than competitive to attract the right talent. But even high salaries won’t keep talent engaged if they are unhappy.

Looking at the longer term, you must offer opportunities for growth and career development for GTM employees – with ongoing training programmes. This also includes empowering your GTM teams with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the cybersecurity landscape, in addition to training.

Your company culture plays an important part too – with candidates often saying culture is more of a deciding factor than salary. As standard, your organisation should create a positive, supporting environment that values diversity, inclusivity, wellbeing and the all-important work life balance.

GTM jobs - recruitment and retention

4) Nurturing cross-functional collaboration and optimising GTM team performance for business growth

Your GTM team won’t function in isolation. Just as you considered your GTM roles in the broader context of both team and business, your GTM team has to collaborate with all other departments in order to develop and roll out your growth strategy – as well as align themselves to your organisational objectives. From engineering to product development, there should be a shared vision between departments, achieved through communication channels, knowledge sharing and co-operation.

Your GTM team will also play a pivotal role in providing insights and metrics around your product, how it is used and perceived that will guide both future product development and current decision making.

Leveraging this cross-functional collaboration will enable you to drive innovation and accelerate growth, capitalising on diverse perspectives and expertise.

Go-to-market teams collaboration

5) Cultivating an internal culture of growth, innovation, and learning

Cultural impact on recruitment, retention and overall employee health should never be underestimated. Creating the right culture is an ongoing endeavour that will have a positive impact on your organisation and staff – especially when that environment encourages creativity, collaboration and empowerment.

As a starting point, the right culture should be supportive and encourage feedback and reflection – where every member of your GTM team, and indeed your entire organisation, feels empowered and listened to. Training is important for all roles as well, not just GTM roles. Investment in training and development provides your staff with a mechanism to improve their skills, ultimately for the good of your business.

Looking at your GTM team specifically, your culture should be one that encourages a mindset of continuous improvement and innovation, promoting agility and responsiveness to market dynamics.

GTM roles - culture innovation learning

What’s next?

Building a high-performing GTM team is crucial for cybersecurity start-ups looking to thrive in a highly competitive market. While not without its challenges, it can be done. Using the strategies outlined in this guide as a starting point, you can create an environment that drives success, attracts top talent and positions them for long-term growth in the industry.

And if you’d like help with any of the above steps, or with cybersecurity recruitment in general, we are here to help. We have an in-depth knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the cybersecurity industry, what GTM teams need and how to fill those GTM roles. We can assist in building your ideal GTM team – whatever that may look like.

Take a look at how we operate, or get in touch with us to discuss your cybersecurity go-to-market recruitment requirements.