During the university, I have learned across different subjects or pretty much in every book about marketing, how vital it is to segment your market. These are lessons I used to know in order to pass an exam or pass a subject, but once you are in the big game you see the importance and the good results of a good market segmentation. Segmentation will help combining individual customers into larger buying units been more cost effective and manageable.
Some of the startups we work with, have innovative and never seen B2B technological solutions. However, we all know how volatile and unpredictable this market is, and new competitor may turn up tomorrow. Thus, startups are desperately looking how to gain market share and start making relationships with customers as soon as possible in order to avoid or minimize the threat of new competitors (Porter's 5 Forces). Up to this point, they may face two different approaches: The machine gun approach or the sharp shooter sniper approach.
(My apologies beforehand for not using the most “peaceful” of the examples:)
In the machine gun approach you are armed with a fully-automatic firearm of outbound email marketing and telemarketing programs that are shoot towards many general emails or contact centers of many companies. Like shooting with a machinegun, after spreading thousands of bullets you will hardly hit anybody.
In the sharp shooter approach, good preparation is a must. The Sniper has to; study the objective, study all the environmental details (vegetation, altitude, wind speed…), choose the appropriate tool for accomplishing the objective and be 100% effective hitting all of its targets.
Such a deep and detailed segmentation is needed when approaching the market.
Before starting the segmentation, is vital to understand the objective of the project. The aim of the sharp shooter approach is to be precise and lethal, create an output from every contact we do with the segment we have identified.
But to achieve this, as we mentioned before:
Preparation is a must
First thing we must fully understand is about ourselves. It is said that Navy SEAL sniper training is the toughest one to be passed. It needs years to know what a man or a woman is made of. Less than the 20% pass the training. If this sounds tough, remember that only the 8% of the startups are likely to succeed. So, preparation must be even deeper. We need to understand the value we have and the need we solve in the market, not only to be lethal, but also if we want to survive. The more we know ourselves, the easier we may know who would like us.
After completing this, we can easily identify the drivers of our research and understand who would be our perfect customer. Drivers can be quantitative; companies with more than 20M€ revenue, companies who have more than 200 employees, companies who invest more than the 15% of their revenue in technology … Or qualitative: Segments with the higher risks of work accidents, the most technological segments... Some data may be easier to find than other, but all of it must be available through internal or external data sources.
If we managed to find all the data, the output we have is a list of companies within one or several different groups which comply with the drivers that make them perfect customers for us. Now we are more likely to create output from every contact we do. Do not hesitate to download this lead transfer report. It can help you a lot!
Personalization makes the difference
Knowing the characteristics of every segment or every company gives the chance of being more effective and more trust worthy than the typical (mistake) of “tell me, what your company does and what are your needs”. Moreover, although contacting with the appropriate interlocutor may be more difficult than the always-available and omnipresent “info@”, it will be for sure much more fruitful and also help to your Customer Experience
One good news; this is not rigid. Sometimes some segments would prove to be not as fruitful as expected. This will allow the sales-rep to prioritize other accounts and optimize their efforts.
Sometimes it will need more time and sometimes it will start straight away, but as we see with every project we do, the good results are more likely to happen with this sharp-shooter approach.
In line with the “non-peaceful” examples I have been using during this article, I cannot think in any other better person than Sun Tzu to cite as a conclusion:
“Every battle is won before it is fought” / “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
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