When sales managers and marketers have broad — or very few parameters — to define their target universe, it’s extremely easy to get excited about the size of their market.
Examples of broad market parameters include:
- Small-to-medium sized businesses in the Northeast
- Companies with less than 1,000 employees in the U.S.
A lot of companies are going to meet these parameters. Consequently, the market universe will be huge. The common response for a lot of sales and marketing leaders is, “Look at all of the opportunity!” They see the potential revenue associated with such a large market, but they fail to realize the obstacles associated with actually penetrating such a market.
Focus on the Most Critical Sales and Marketing Aspects
Trying to extend your brand message to a large universe of companies, engaging the key decision-making contacts, and then converting qualified prospects into customers can be a little like trying to boil the ocean. A lot of marketing activity may not create much heat.
The key to success is to segment your market into smaller and more manageable sub-segments of the larger universe. This will enable you to focus your limited marketing resources to create more market “heat” quicker.
9 Steps That Will Help Refine Your Market Segments
These nine steps allow you to zero in on a tighter and more defined market. This will result in increasing the velocity of new qualified prospects going into the funnel and accelerating new opportunities through the sales process.
1. Review current customer base and identify those that you’d want more of.
- Who are your best customers?
- Where has your solution made the biggest impact?
- Which of your customers offer your most compelling case studies and best references?
2. Look for common characteristics that these customers share.
- Are they in the same industry?
- Did they have similar problems you helped them solve?
- Are they similar in size?
3. Apply the characteristic variables you identified to your entire market universe to build a subset of target companies that look like your best customers.
Then build a database of these companies that include the key decision-makers and their contact information. This will take some time and research, but it will be worth it.
4. Research to identify insights about these target companies and decision-makers.
- What’s going on in the industry they share?
- Do they belong to the same associations?
- Are their current events in the news that are impacting their businesses?
- Does your solution relate to these insights?
5. Create marketing content that shares your unique perspective and leverages your knowledge of these insights.
Content could be in the form of blog articles, case studies, whitepapers, eBooks, and webinars. Often you may find it’s possible to repurpose existing content by customizing it for a different and more specific audience.
6. Deploy inbound marketing tactics and functionality that leverages your customized content.
It will help your target prospects find you and facilitate their conversion from a website visitor to a qualified lead.
7. Research individual companies on your target list to identify a specific valid business reason (VBR) for them to want to talk with you.
- Go to their website.
- Read their press releases.
- Look for their executives’ quotes in the news.
If you look hard enough, you can discover what their business problems are. Can your solution help them address their challenges? Create a message statement that clearly communicates what you do and how you can help them.
8. Create an outbound prospecting sequence that’s built around your messaging statement and leverages the custom content you’ve created to engage these target contacts.
Your sequence should include a mix of emails, phone calls and social media interaction. Don’t just send one email or leave one voice mail message. Your prospecting sequence should include multiple touch points over a period of several weeks, so you give you prospect plenty of opportunity to understand and respond to your messaging.
Repeat this process for another marketing segment.
These steps will help you attack your large market universe in a more manageable way. A way that will “heat up” and produce meaningful results much quicker than trying to boil the ocean.