Sales: Targeting the Right Market? 8 Ways to Know
When VARs fret that they aren’t getting enough sales they sometimes doubt the fit of the target market where they’re focusing their lead generation efforts. They wonder if the leads they’re getting are companies large enough to afford the VAR’s solutions. They wonder if there is enough mass interest to make it worth the resources invested for the number of leads generated.
Under it all, their primary concern is that they may be targeting micro-segments that simply aren’t the best fit for their solutions and if they should give up and choose alternative markets to try.
Before you give up on a target market, use these 8 questions to consider if you’ve done your due diligence in reaching it.
- Is your sales and marketing message specific to this target market? This is not the time to use the company elevator pitch. If your message is too general, you’ll reduce the probability that contacts in the target market will respond to you.
- Can you say exactly the same thing to grab the attention of all contacts with a similar title in the target market? If you have to adjust the message every time, the target market may be too broad to be effective. Certainly it will be more time consuming for both sales and marketing. Refine your target market so that you can use one sales and marketing message with all business owners, another for all CFOs, and so on. Now you’re talking in a way they’ll notice.
- How many attempts are you making to contacts in your list? Many VARs’ sales reps give up after three attempts. Any prospect can ignore three calls, three emails, or three letters. Today’s market requires nine attempts to reach a contact. Are you giving up too soon?
- Are you using a campaign approach to reach prospects? Often VARs send one or two emails, run an event with two follow up call attempts, or spend a month commenting in social media. When they don’t see immediate results, they concede. Unless you have name recognition and a hefty advertising budget, it takes time and perseverance to be noticed in a target market. Use long-term campaigns to build awareness in your target market.
- How are you nurturing prospects in this target market? Good lead generation has moved beyond great sales copy. It’s now about nurturing your prospects through their buying process. Use lead generation to educate your target market on the business issues you suspect they have, how to think about the issues differently, and possible ways to solve them.
- How many companies are in the target market? Unless you are looking at a national target market and there are more than 500 companies in your list, it’s probably too large. And, even if you are looking at a national target market, I’d challenge you that you could divide the target market by region. Why do you care about the size? Because the bigger it is, the more diluted and impersonal your message.
- Is your message about them – or you? Product messages are guaranteed to hit the delete barrier. The old sales adage that people like to talk about themselves is especially true in sales and marketing. Focus on your message on their business issue, not your product. Save the product information until you’ve earned their interest.
- How many customers do you already have within the target market? While there are times you’ll want to move into a new target market, often when I hear people abandoning a micro-segment, it’s one they’ve already sold to successfully. They have satisfied, profitable customers. They just can’t seem to get new leads. If that’s your case, you probably need to change something in questions 1-7 as your first step. Try making some adjustments in your sales and marketing approach before moving on. You may discover your prospect list merely hadn’t noticed you yet.