I’ve noticed something interesting about small-to-medium businesses across industries: Many are not very specific when describing their target client. This is a major sales roadblock, especially for B2B companies. You have to precisely define who your ideal client is and what they care about before you can engage them in a sales conversation.
Who Is Your Target Client?
Let’s say you’re at a networking event. You meet someone who asks what business you’re in, and you answer, “Healthcare.” That’s incredibly broad and vague, and it likely won’t lead to a sales conversation. In fact, that might be the end of the conversation.
Now imagine answering, “We sell critical solutions for wound care to hospitals and medical systems in the U.S.” Now the person you just met will know immediately if the two of you have business to discuss.
As you define who your target market is, it is helpful to zero in on the company’s characteristics: Location, annual revenue, number of employees and what they do. Once you define your market segment, potential clients can more easily identify you as a potential vendor, and your marketing team can better focus their efforts.
“I have a client who sells integrated risk management solutions to U.S. healthcare firms under 500 employees that need to demonstrate ongoing security compliance across their supply chain.” Now, that’s specific.
Who Is the Buyer?
Your market segment is defined. Now you have to define the buyer within that segment. Who are you selling to? Is it the technologists, the finance person or the CEO (in a smaller company)? Who are the influencers – the ones who can swing a decision for or against your product or service? How can you target your approach to the Chief Technology Officer, Chief Sales Officer or Chief Operation Officer?
Next, describe each buyer persona so your pitch is even more precise. What does the buyer care about, and what’s their biggest pain point? Survey-based buyer persona tools can help you answer these questions so you know how to engage with your potential buyer.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a terrific platform for homing in on buyer persona attributes. Use it to figure out who does what at a specific company so you can determine the right person to approach. (You can also study the attributes of current clients and use Sales Navigator to find other companies who “look like” them.)
How Will You Engage Them?
The next step is figuring out your sales engagement strategy. Should you email or call them? Should you ask for an introduction to them? Should you invite them to an event? Should you attend an event where you know they will be?
Figure out this final piece, and your sales team will know how to start the sales conversation.
Track and Prioritize Conversations
Once you define who your target market is, who the buyer is and how to engage them, it’s important to track progress in your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Potential clients need to be “touched” seven to nine times before they are ready to respond and engage with you. Your CRM will help ensure you are reaching out to everyone on a regular basis, and it will allow you to prioritize your sales team’s time.
In Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll wrote an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat that goes something like this:
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
When it comes to sales, it matters a lot that you understand how to find the right clients. You have to be precise about who your target client is, who the buyer is, and what matters the most to them. Do this so that when you give your business pitch, you will be telling the right story to the right person at the right time.
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Sometimes, you need a guide to find the right path forward.
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