What business are we in and what business are we not in?
- It's the senior executives, like you, who are in the best position to determine how to collectively focus an organization on targets with the greatest return. Just like an archer, the further the target, higher price or longer sales cycle, the more time you need to ensure accuracy with the release of every arrow. Targeting a specific market does not mean you exclude people. Rather, it means you spend your dollars and time on those who best fit your most specific criteria. Continually refining your targeting helps your team continue to be more efficient, effective, and it's the most cost effective method to connect with potential clients and generate sales. For example, your organization's market could be mid-level companies in the Western United States with sales between $250 million and $1 billion in annual revenue. Further refining your market, your target could be organizations that are privately held, less than 10 years old, and exclusively focused on technology. Your detailed targeting is developed by looking at four historical criteria you have access to in looking at past sales and current clients. Momentum. For example, what's the average length of the sales cycle for your offering? Let's say it's 180 days. Price. What's the average deal value? For example, $150,000. Why? What was the number one criteria for the reason you were chosen over your closest competitor? Your solution is easy to implement and simple to train because it's very intuitive. What other factors do your clients have in common? For example, connection with a senior executive who is cutting edge, has influence, and wants to be a market leader or fast follower. Let's carry this through. As you look at where you've had the shortest sales cycle, less than 180 days, and deal size is greater than $150,000, you realize that what those clients have in common is that decisions are made by small groups versus large committees and the organizations are privately held. If this is where your momentum and big deals are, then you've already refined your target and the refinement of messaging will follow. It really comes down to collectively asking your organization. What business are we in, and who is our customer? Or, who is our customer, and what business do they want us to be in? And, what business are we not in, and which customers does that eliminate? It is a bit of chicken and the egg because what you learn about your target market could determine which products you sell and how you innovate moving forward. In our example, we know we're selling to privately held organizations who move fast, are willing to pay for a quick implementation, and appreciate simplicity. That's the business we're in and everything else is a distraction. It's the senior executives who are in the best position to determine how to collectively focus the organization on targets with the greatest return and products with a ready market.