THE TARGET MARKET PARADOX:
Narrow Focus Fills Pipeline with Better Leads
D id you ever think you might be trying to sell to too many people? I know it sounds odd—as a sales pro, you’re programmed to sell your product to as many people as possible. It’s a fundamental tenet of business growth.
But the fact is, when you try to sell to too many people, you end up with fewer sales and fewer long-term clients.
It’s called the Target Market Paradox—and it’s one of the most common (and most crippling) mistakes in lead generation.
More Prospects Don’t Always Equal More Sales
As a business database and prospecting tools provider, we know a thing or two about the importance of a defined target market.
Because a database can contain tens of thousands of listings, users are immediately challenged by which prospects to target.
Rather than letting loose to sell to every prospect in the database, it is usually best to work with a narrowly defined target market of only the best prospects.
You might ask: Why encourage such a limited approach? The answer is that, far from limiting the client’s business development efforts, a defined target market creates a direct path to more appointments and sales.
To understand why, consider the consequences of casting too wide a net:
- Sales and marketing strategies that lack focus.
- Too many “low-value” prospects (prospects unlikely to agree to an appointment, make a purchase, or renew) clogging up the funnel.
- Limited referral opportunities due to lack of clarity about who you’re selling to.
Here are a few steps to help you create an ideal target market allowing you to pursue leads that are likely to reward you with years of sales.
Look at Your Existing Client Base
To shape your target market, start by looking at the clients you already have.
Are all of your client relationships equally rewarding? What are the demographics and psychographics of your most profitable clients?
Some customers, often the large and unprofitable ones, may be more trouble than they are worth. Others with a respected brand may give you instant credibility.
Use your existing client list as a blueprint—it’s the first step in the process of separating high-value opportunities from low-value time-wasters.
Define Your Ideal Client
Your current client list provides a road map, but you need to dig a little deeper to find your ideal target market.
After all, you’re not looking to sell to your current clients—you already did that. You’re looking for “hidden” prospects, many of whom may not know about you or what you offer.
Once you’ve analyzed your current client demographics, ask yourself the following questions, then use the answers to define your highest-value prospects.
- What common challenges do my clients and prospects face?
- What objectives do they share?
- What other industries or companies might have these same challenges/objectives?
- What’s missing? What industries/companies do I want to sell to that aren’t represented on my client list?
- Why do I want to sell to these companies? Do they really represent my ideal prospect?
The Problem with Everyone
Even if you think you sell to “everyone,” defining your ideal target market is still important.
Imagine you are asked for a referral and told, “I can work with everyone who needs my product.” Who comes to mind? Chances are you’d struggle to come up with anything promising.
What if instead you were asked for “serial entrepreneurs in the technology arena located in your city.” Your mental picture becomes clearer.
And that’s the fundamental point—your target market isn’t just a list of companies. It’s a living template that you use to generate leads and qualify prospects in real time, and that you continuously refine based on what’s working and what isn’t.
It is important to make sure that your business database and prospecting tools provider assist you in defining your target market appropriately and offer the resources that will enable you to identify your high-value local prospects.
Follow these pointers and you’ll see why a narrowly focused target market increases your potential for better leads, more appointments, and rewarding client relationships.
Content contributed by Business Wise, Inc., helping businesses navigate every phase of the new business development process by combining trustworthy business and local contact databases with powerful prospecting tools for the Atlanta, Charlotte and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. To get a snapshot of how many high-value local prospects you may have, visit www.businesswise.com/resources and start the “Target Market Planner.” For more information, contact Vicky Ray Pace, Area Manager—Charlotte Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-554-4112 or visit www.BusinessWise.com.