If you get to know your valuable customers – identifying and aligning their traits with your own “sweet spot” – you can provide exactly what your customers want, when they want it. The difference is in knowing your target market in better detail.
There are all sorts of ways of finding out the specifics of target customers, from sending around a free questionnaire using Survey Monkey, to reading reports from third party research firms, or spending time mining the wealth of information on companies and individuals that exists online.
These solutions are all fairly time intensive and most sales people want to spend their time selling to a list of pre-qualified prospects rather than conducting this type of time consuming research. If that’s the case, you could hire a fully qualified consultant who will do the job for you.
Whichever route you choose, the same questions need to be asked in order to review the potential you have in any given market, and therefore how much time is worth investing in it.
Why size your market?
It is essential to understand your most lucrative sectors and, within those sectors, which companies are most valuable to you. This will help you to prioritise the most worthy prospects, and also highlight how your existing customer base compares to your target market.
To identify your existing customer base, or industry penetration, start by listing the current companies with which you currently operate, for each industry – this is your customer list. Compare that to the total industry universe to calculate your percentage within it.
The target list that you generated is likely to be overwhelmingly extensive, so for a more productive approach, prioritise the top 80 companies within each industry and work closely with that list as your most relevant or likely targets. This is a good place to start and will keep you focused.
This will help to shed light on your existing campaigns, whether or not they are heading in the right direction, how successful they are and help you to adjust if necessary to drive marketing initiatives into the right segments.
Quantifying market penetration and expansion opportunities along with making sound investment decisions are the factors that drive sales and marketing performance. Determining your current penetration also helps to answer questions about the potential of your target market. It could look at how many of your prospects are already being targeted as well as how many prospects you might gain by expanding your target market.
Getting your head around segmentation
Every one of your customers likes to feel valued, which comes down to how well you know them. By analysing the demographics of your market segmentation, you can identify your customers and their attributes, which will boost their responsiveness to you in conducting closely tailored campaigns.
Demographics to consider include:
The more detailed your statistical data, the better you can tailor your sales plan to specific companies and organisations.
Not only that but becoming more aware of how your clients exist and operate puts you in a better position to strengthen your relationship with them. Better knowledge will increase your alignment with your customer’s way of thinking, and you can use triggers – significant events in their world – to give your salesperson valid reasons to keep in contact.
For example, if you design and install corporate gyms, which have been proven to boost employee productivity by 33%, that is not going to interest a recruitment company of only four members of staff. However, they might like to know about a networking event where they will meet lots of fresh, new talent who they can add to their books and offer their clients.
By understanding the qualities of your best customers and markets, you can develop a marketing strategy that targets areas to maximise success.
Why you should analyse change – always!
Customer bases change over time, which makes strategic planning an ever-evolving process. This means that you need to continually monitor your market and its aspirations, alongside your competition and the performance of your sales and marketing campaigns. You need to assess where you have been deriving your business and turnover rates from in the various segments of your business and compare it to where you should be deriving it from now and in the near future.
Sales techniques should always be driven by your potential market. By knowing and staying up-to-date on what your customers want, you’ll know not only what to give them but when to give it to them and in what form to deliver it. By securing knowledge about exactly who you are selling to, and how your product or service will fit perfectly into their business needs, you can inform and entice them as part of a highly tuned sales plan which works. But there is only one way to get to that point and that is by defining your target universe and exactly where your company will have the best chance of success.
About the author
Karim Iskandar is vice-president international of OneSource Information Services, a company that provides sales and marketing professionals with actionable insight from business information. OneSource consolidates content from over 50 world-class suppliers, new media, and social networking sources. UK customers include: O2, HSBC, Ernst & Young, Eversheds, Penna Consulting, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and AXA PPP Healthcare. For more information, visit http://www.onesource.com.