A business analyst is a highly-trained problem solver. They’re the “big guns” who fix the problem business owners can’t because of time restrictions. The problems are typically internal issues such as poor communication. The analyst typically has to discuss matters with the business owners, team members, and stakeholders to find a resolution that works well for everyone.
Even though business analysts handle the complicated inner workings of a business, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the knowledge to help businesses go to market faster and more efficiently. They have the specific tooling and knowledge, especially if they’re aware of a little thing called PEST analysis.
What does “go-to-market” actually mean?
“Go-to-market” (GTM) is a type of strategy. It’s an outline businesses use to reach the right customers with a competitive advantage. But what does that really mean?
Many businesses don’t target the right customer. They just pick who they think will want their product and throw the entire marketing budget in that direction. But six months later, they’ve barely any profit to show for it, even with a competitive advantage.
The advantage means exactly how it sounds — it’s something the company has that the competition doesn’t. It could be a riveting brand story, more followers social media or, in the simplest form, more money.
No matter the industry, every business owner wants to reach the right customers (the people who are dying to buy their product) and do it better than the competition. But not everyone has the ability to achieve both of these essential feats.
But that’s where the business analyst and their PEST analysis knowledge joins the picture.
PEST analysis: how can it help?
Certain obstacles will proudly stand in your way while you try to get your product out the door. Many can be handled directly by a skilled team and business analyst. But that won’t work for all problems.
PEST analysis focuses on four external factors affecting all businesses. They are…
- Political factors
- Economic factors
- Social factors
- Technological factors
Political factors include policies, bills, regulations, and even laws affecting a business. Economic factors refer to the current economic state, but also bills and laws regarding taxation, interest fees, and employment rates. Social factors are all about your customers; who they are, where they are, and what influences what they buy. And technological factors can hint to technology laws, advancements in technology, and its impact on businesses.
You can’t make a bill go away or stop a recession all on your own. You can’t change the inherent thoughts of millions of people or prevent technology from reaching new limits. You can stand by and watch or learn how these factors affect your GTM strategy.
What you will need
A proper PEST analysis will require plenty of information. Some of it will be technical. Others will be comprised of data and trends from years ago. The more thorough the PEST analysis, the more in-depth and accurate your results can be.
Obviously, this will take time. The kind of time business owners don’t have. If they try, they’ll not only take away from their current tasks, but it’ll take months to finish just the one PEST analysis.
Considering the point of GTM is to get to market quickly and effectively, this doesn’t bode well with the strategy. You don’t want to rush the analysis but you don’t want it to take half the year either.
That’s why it’s best to have a skilled analyst to do this for you. Chances are, the information they gather for the PEST analysis won’t just be applicable for the GTM strategy. It’ll also be necessary for future business plans, marketing plans, and product launches.
The questions to ask
The PEST analysis will provide insight into what laws may slow down progress, the impact of the economy, information about your customers, and the technology to use or avoid. That means it’s best to answer a lot of questions regarding these four categories. It’ll provide a comprehensive overview of these factors and how you can use it to your (competitive) advantage.
Just to give you an example of the type of questions a business analyst may ask for their PEST analysis.
- Are there specific trading policies that will affect your business?
- Also consider international laws and regulations
- Have there been recent changes to these laws?
- What new laws, affecting your business, have recently passed?
- How could future changes to political parties impact your business?
- Have you been affected by tax issues before?
- Will there be any taxation problems affecting your product?
- What unexpected fees could disrupt business or product flow? (I.e non-compliance fees).
- What’s the current economic status?
- How will globalization affect your company/product, if at all?
- Will unemployment rates affect your company?
- How have consumer opinions about your products changed over the last 5 years?
- What are the reasons customers have not bought your product?
- How do people generally feel about your company and/or product?
- How do people purchase your product?
- Has that changed in the past? Why or why not?
- What is your customer’s biggest pain point and how does your product help?
- What technology does your competition use to sell their products?
- Are you keeping up with them? Is it worth the time and money to keep up with them?
- What new technology could negatively impact how you reach customers?
- What new technology could positively impact how you reach customers?
- Do you use 3rd parties for your technological support/solutions?
- How can this hinder progress and your GTM strategy?
Some of these questions won’t have an answer
It may not be relevant to your business. But having them listed can help the business analyst consider alternative questions that are more specific to the company. Also, some questions can be easily answered by business owners or stakeholders and teams. But others, such as the information about customers (social factors) will require research and, if possible, data.
PEST analysis by a business analyst uses both internal information and external data to be the most impactful. But once you have this information, you can address areas of concerns. Perhaps a certain bill will make it more difficult to reach the market. But maybe a new trend in technological developments will make it 5x faster to get your product in front of the customer.
Having this information on hand will definitely improve your GTM strategy. Especially when the PEST analysis is handled by a skilled business analyst.
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