Speed To Market: Definition, Examples And Importance

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Speed to market (STM) is a business term that refers to the speed at which a company can establish its presence in the market with new products and services. Many businesses use it to evaluate how quickly they can develop new products and make them available to customers. Learning how STM works can allow companies to dominate a market and launch products before their competitors. In this article, we explain what STM is and why it is important, discuss ways in which a company can improve its STM and provide a specific example.

Related: New Product Development Process: Steps, Benefits And Tips

What Is Speed To Market?

Speed to market, or go-to-market speed, defines how fast a company can get a product to market. It is an important strategy and marker of success in business that helps determine whether a company can remain ahead of its competitors. STM allows businesses to assess how quickly they can conceive an idea, develop it and get it to market. It reflects the complete process of product development, including concept, product design, prototype creation, product development and product launch.

A faster STM can give you an opportunity to dominate the market and an advantage in innovation, and it can allow you to reach customers before your competitors do. It can also help you build a reputation as an industry leader.

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Why Is STM Important?

STM is an important strategy for start-ups that quickly want to establish themselves in the market. It can help them compare their product development speed with competitors, empower them to invest in innovation and track their ability to launch products and services faster. Here are a few advantages of adopting an STM strategy:

  • Opportunity to launch new products and services faster and create a monopoly in a market niche

  • Reduced costs and increased revenue margins across all service and product categories

  • Increased efficiencies in buying, sourcing and external and internal product management to improve development productivity

  • More familiarity with the market and faster response to market trends by taking advantage of new opportunities

When companies struggle to achieve desired product development outcomes because of operational silos, talent shortages and complicated processes, adopting an STM strategy can be useful for addressing these challenges.

Related: What Are Product Research Tools? (With Best Practices)

How To Improve STM

The product development cycle includes several steps, from idea generation and prototype creation to product development, testing and launching. A business may take several months to complete the product development process, and an improved STM can help accelerate this process. There are several factors that affect this speed, such as the product or service type, the product's complexity, the industry and the company's marketing strategy. Here are a few effective practices that can help improve a business's STM:

1. Create a strong strategy

Creating a detailed action plan is essential to developing an idea. This includes the material of the product, its prototype, the estimated workflow, potential marketing strategies and its ideal target audience. Consider the potential risks or roadblocks to the product launch process while planning your strategy. Having a comprehensive plan can help you evaluate your key priorities and improve your STM.

Related: What Is Product Management? (With Skills And Duties)

2. Organise your team

Effective team management and convenient task-tracking systems can often speed up the product development process on all levels. You can use advanced technology, such as trackers, planners and management software, to monitor progress. A well-organised workflow can also ensure faster production without compromising product quality.

3. Adopt cross-functional communication

Clear, effective communication between the various departments and teams working on product development can improve STM. Because people work on different parts of the project, having regular meetings to update them on progress is crucial. Encourage your teams to provide daily updates and schedule weekly status meetings. Regular communication helps everyone focus on the goal and meet deadlines.

4. Hire a capable project manager

Project managers are skilled professionals who effectively plan and coordinate the product development process. They set deadlines, monitor progress and conduct regular follow-ups to ensure teams complete their tasks on time. They can also evaluate whether product development teams have the resources they need and help improve team morale.

5. Develop a minimum viable product (MVP)

An MVP is a basic version of a product that you can introduce to evaluate your customers' response before you launch the final product. It is a business experiment to gauge customer interest in the product and assess potential issues with the prototype. An MVP can help you adjust and improve product quality to increase market performance when you launch the final product.

6. Use an effective marketing strategy

Invest in an impactful marketing strategy by leveraging platforms such as press releases, social media, email marketing and a dedicated website to promote the new product or service. You can also provide discounts, coupons and personalised offers to attract potential customers prior to the product launch.

Related: How To Improve Your Sales Skills: A Step-By-Step Guide

7. Consider outsourcing

If the company you work for does not have sufficient resources or is new to the market, it can consider outsourcing some of its work. Outsourcing services can be fast, cost-effective and provide quality work. Activities that a business can outsource include accounting and bookkeeping, marketing, payroll processing, content creation, manufacturing, shipping, customer service, logistics and IT, website and social media management.

8. Expect changes in the process

Since product development is a lengthy process, it may require occasional modification. This includes changing or adding resources, suppliers and team members or adjusting the manufacturing process according to circumstances. Anticipating potential changes in the beginning can help you consider certain factors and enable you to make decisions faster.

Related: What Is A Target Market? (Definition, Importance And Tips)

9. Set weekly goals

Set weekly goals and divide project phases into manageable tasks. Launching a new product requires much time and effort and splitting the project into smaller segments can help a team focus on completing a task before starting a new one. It can also help you and the project teams carry out responsibilities more effectively.

Related: What Is Market Share And How To Increase It In Business

Example Of How STM Works

Here is an example to help you understand how STM works in business:

Problem statement: The senior executives of a manufacturing company would like to grow their revenue and increase the profitability of their product launch operations. The processes they currently use to develop and test their new products lack accuracy and efficiency, leading to significant redesign and re-testing. Their aim is to develop a strong strategy to reduce the time and money they spend on the product development process and accelerate their launch schedule.

Solution: To improve go-to-market speed, they decide to revise their overall product development process. These are the steps they take:

  • Initially, they identify opportunities to increase their capacity and improve their efficiency of developing new product technology.

  • They create an integrated workflow between functional groups to enable a more rapid, consistent and accurate development process.

  • They improve collaboration between teams to increase innovation opportunities for their new product.

This new approach enables the company to improve its screening capability and predict outcomes with more accuracy. It also allows senior executives to identify promising new technologies in less time and implement new methods across several additional product lines, reducing the time for product development by nearly half.

Related: What Are Market Niches? (With Benefits And 10 Examples)

Tips For Greater Go-To-Market Agility

Organisations require a fail-proof sales plan to introduce a new product to the market successfully. The right sales strategy can connect with more customers and attract them with new products and exciting offers. Here are a few tips you can consider for your go-to-market strategy:

  • Resources: Check whether your sales and marketing teams get the content they want when they require it. Ensuring your sales representatives have access to sales collateral on time can help them react more quickly and respond to leads.

  • Customised content: Create customised content that is specific to the industry and appeals to your core audience. This can be much more effective and persuasive than content that tries to attract a broad target.

  • Content hub: Create a centralised content hub that provides your sales team with quick and easy-to-navigate content. You can also provide content that allows sales personnel to personalise it to for specific target groups.

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