Uncovering Your “Best-odds” SMB Sales Prospects

Uncovering Your "Best-odds" SMB Sales ProspectsAs a seller in the SMB market space, you want to target groups
of companies where you have the best opportunity to get business
in the door. You cannot afford to waste time pursuing all the companies
in your territory. Rather, you want to identify the groups of companies
that will require the least amount of times and money to get the
highest return for your lead generation efforts. Those are called
your “best odds” target markets.

It is just as important to understand where you do not have a good
market fit as it is to understand where you do have a good fit.
Sellers often neglect to define their “best-odds” opportunities,
costing them valuable time in their sales process. Knowing your
“best-odds” characteristics makes it simple to target only those
companies you believe need your offerings and to quality leads as
they come in the door.

Examples of “best-odds” target market characteristic might include:

  • Year to year revenue growth, i.e. 11-17%
  • Specific annual company revenue attainment, i.e. $300-750M
  • Industry
  • Number of employees
  • Location of the company
  • Type of supply or distribution channel
  • Attitude or culture of the organization
  • IT install base – hardware, software or services
  • Competitive alignment
  • Solution alignment

Based on the “best-odds” characteristic, you can determine where
to find the companies that match what you are looking for. Since
a contact list determines 40% of a seller’s success, it is important
to have a good list. Very often companies have prospect lists that
marketing has purchased for its marketing campaigns. If you have
a marketing department, make it your first stop for a good list.
If not, use Google, Hoovers, LinkedIn or other on-line tools to
build a list based on your criteria.

Some alternative ways to develop good lists:

  • Pick-up business cards when you attend an event
  • Call an association aligned with your target market and purchase
    their list – or join and gain access to member names for free
  • Research industry articles online for possible contact names
  • Explore competitors’ websites for their customers’ names
  • Watch what companies your customer contacts move to when they
    take new jobs
  • Analyze job sites such as Monster.com for openings of positions
    you sell to, or in the department you sell to, such as IT

Once you have an initial list you can further refine your “best-odds”
target market to identify top accounts to target within the segment
based on characteristics such as:

  • A specific business initiative
  • Supplier diversity objectives
  • Cultural fit with your company
  • Size of the organization
  • Propensity to purchase services such as your own, or to use
    outside providers

With such a specialized list you can develop custom messages for use
across the refined group. These highly customized messages will quickly
catch attention where there is a need an improve your probability
of getting in the door with a higher percentage of SMB companies.

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