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The impatient guide to lightning-fast target market identification

June 2, 2021

Target market identification can feel like one of the more tedious B2B sales processes. Especially when you’re a dedicated salesperson, any activity which takes you away from the phone can feel like wasted time.

But here’s the bottom line...

If you don’t understand your target market, you can’t sell to your target market.

If you want to have an efficient sales process, you want to spend as much time as possible speaking to the right people. That means understanding your target market, inside out.

Identifying your target market quickly gives you the flexibility to quickly change tack and the freedom to spend more time doing the thing you love - closing deals!

We interviewed Mike Sanchez, who got involved in software sales as an SDR 10 years ago. He since made the transition from in-person to virtual sales, and has witnessed firsthand the impact this has had on target market identification.

Mike’s now the VP of Revenue at GrowthGenie, where he takes a lead role in target market identification and sales strategy.

Over to you, Mike.

The value of fast target market identification

“Why do you need to nail your target market identification?

“Because it will provide you with a seamless route to scalability. It will provide you with the path of least friction. You’ll find more clients, you’ll find better clients.

“It’s no secret that customer retention is more cost-effective than customer acquisition, and if you’re bringing in better customers, you’re generating more revenue.

“It all starts with target market identification.

“What’s the value in identifying your target market quickly?

“Sales teams need to be able to adapt. With businesses moving online, their requirements are changing - meaning their pain points and needs are changing too.

“The modern sales team needs to be able to quickly capitalise on emerging markets. This means quickly identifying new target markets, ideally before your competitors.”

How to identify your target market quickly

These points essentially boil down to understanding your product and understanding your customers. It sounds simple enough, but extreme awareness of these two areas will make targeting much more straightforward.

Here’s how.

Segment your customers

“This is the best way.

“You need to look at your current customer base and determine which types of people they are, and what makes them interested in your product.

“Look at their job titles, locations, companies, industries. All of this information can be used to find trends. You can get a breakdown of exactly which kinds of people are buying into your company.

“Look specifically at inbound customers. If there are inbounds who aren’t currently in your ICP, you’ve just identified a new, untapped, potential customer base.”

Understand your product

“Get to know your product inside out.

“I always recommend that companies use their product internally before they go to market. This gives them a chance to get internal feedback and find some new use cases for their solution.

“I often talk about Basecamp, which was initially an IT service company. They determined there was a huge gap in the market for project management software. They initially used it internally, then when they released it they’d already fixed a lot of the bugs, and they already knew who would benefit from the most useful features.

“This is a great example of a company really understanding their product before they started selling it. You don’t always have to do this before you start selling, but understanding your product is always a good way to determine who your next buyer could be.”

Gather the right customer data

“Here’s one way to slow yourself down.

“Gather a load of B2B data points which you don’t need, and examine them for trends.

“If you consider too many data points, analysis paralysis will slow you down.

“Decide which ones are necessary to segment your audience and analyse them for trends.

“This will also help you when it comes to selling. It’s much easier to run hyper-personalised sales campaigns when you’ve segmented your target market with specific data points.”

Hang out where your clients are

“You need to figure out where your buyers are spending their time. Which online communities are they a part of? Figure this out and join them. You’ll be able to find like-minded people in these groups who could also be good fit customers.

“Look for people with certain pain points and obstacles. You might find some use cases for your solution that you weren’t aware of.

“It’s also a great way to establish yourself in a marketplace.

“The social proof part of any marketing process is a huge component. If you’re posting on LinkedIn and social groups, you’re establishing yourself in that field.

“B2B sales is company to company, but it’s still really people buying from people. Establishing yourself as a trustworthy and knowledgeable person will help you build more positive relationships.”

Building your ICP (ideal customer profile)

Once you’ve got a good idea of your target market, it’s worth building an ideal customer profile. This is basically a description of your perfect customer.

We’d recommend building several of these representing each of your potential markets.

“I like to build ICPs based on pain points. This is the most important distinguishing factor when I look at our customer groups. It means we’re able to offer our solution from the same angle when speaking to people facing the same problem.

“After this, I’ll look at the prospect’s company. Different companies will have different ways of operating and different goals. This information could change the way that you approach an account.

“Finally, I’ll look at any sales triggers and intent data that might be relevant, these can help you make a more timely and relevant approach.”

Salespeople, trust your gut!

Mike left us with a bit of sales wisdom.

“At the beginning you mentioned how salespeople want to spend as much time emailing and cold calling as possible, which is true.

“The 5 year mark is a landmark for new businesses. Once you reach it you have around a 95% survival rate. Sales teams need to generate as much revenue in the first 5 years, because this is the most precarious time. You’re competing against the clock.

“You have to generate sales as quickly as possible, and that means transitioning to new target markets as new products and processes emerge. If your gut is telling you to spend as much time selling as possible, you should trust it.”

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