Your weekly disruption
Your weekly thought-provoking exploration into building disruptive capabilities.
Start With Who
Over the last week we looked at playing the sales game which delved into how to maximize sales ACTIVITY. Today we go into greater detail into the fundamental first step: STARTING WITH WHO.
In crafting your smart strategy, you need to think like a detective and start with ‘who’. As in the board game Cluedo, you need to go through a process of deduction to narrow your focus to a smaller set of variables.
Within your smart strategy this involves choosing a profitable niche to target – we call this step ‘decide’. The next step is to begin collecting evidence and establishing a motive by profiling your target market to determine their demographic and psychographic – profile. The final step is to build a list of suspects that match the profile – search.
The biggest mistake salespeople make when developing their sales strategy is to target a very broad, general market. Targeting a broad market may help you develop a large list of suspects, but it will limit your reach and reduce your relevance. In order for your message to get through, get attention and get action, you need to go narrow.
This is when you pull out your magnifying glass, put on your detective hat and go through a process of deduction. Choosing a profitable niche is as much a process of choosing who not to target as it is choosing who to target. You need to rule out at least 95% of your potential market and focus on a specific narrow niche. The easiest way to start this deduction process is to look at your existing client base and apply the Pareto principle.
The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, suggests that 80% of almost anything can be attributed to only 20% of causes. The Pareto Principle was named after the Italian Economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who in 1896 found that 80% of the land in Italy belonged to 20% of the population, and 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pods. In the world of sales, this means that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. The easiest way to grow your business is to focus your strategy on selling to your top 20%. Selling to your top 20% is smart, because just one sale can yield five times the results of an average sale.
Now we are not suggesting that you ignore the bottom 80% or even other niches within your top 20%. If you get leads and enquires from the bottom 80%, then it makes sense to sell to them. They have problems they want solved right now and are ready to make a buying decision.
What we are suggesting is that your proactive sales activity (i.e. your smart strategy) should be focused on a narrow profitable niche. In the way that detectives can work on a number of different cases at one time, if there are other niches within your top 20% that warrant attention, or the one you have chosen isn’t big enough to generate a decent list of suspects, then you can create separate selling campaigns based on these niches.
The next big mistake that salespeople make when developing their sales strategy is to simply define their target market by the industry type and go straight into the list building stage. Simply deciding on a target market is not enough. In order to play smart, you need to be like a detective that’s looking to apprehend a criminal, and get every piece of information available to paint a detailed picture of who they are, where they hang out and how we can catch them.
The profile stage is where we gather the intelligence that will determine the methods we use to approach them, and the message that we use to attract them. In profiling your target niche, it is better to define your market not as an industry (i.e. alcohol), nor a region (i.e. Victoria) but as a person (e.g. Bob Smith Garden State Hotel). Remember, we don’t sell to industries, regions or even companies. We sell to people.
When profiling your target niche, choose a person in that niche that you know well – most likely an existing client. Map out their demographic profile. Their demographics includes things like industry type, company size, head office location, decision maker’s job title, age, gender and profession. The demographic profile will help to develop your list of suspects and help you determine the best methods to use in approaching them.
The next step is to profile their psychographics (psychographics is just a fancy word for problems). In this step, you want to get inside the customers head and brainstorm their wants and aspirations (hot buttons) and fears and frustrations (pain points). When brainstorming their hot buttons and pain points, use the language that they would use to express their problems. Too often we define the customer’s problems from our perspective, not theirs, and our messages miss the mark. By developing the psychological profile in this way, you will be able to craft effective messages that get attention and get action.
Once you have decided who you are going to target and have profiled their demographics and psychographics, you are ready to build your list of suspects. Building your list of suspects is a little more sophisticated than just buying lists from a business directory, although this can be a good starting point. It involves searching for prospects that match your profile. We want more than just the company name, address and phone number. We want the decision maker’s name and any other relevant information that we can find.
It is useful to think of list building as a sales activity in its own right. For some, a weekly activity is to ‘find ten’ or ‘find twenty’ prospects to add to their list. Treating list-building as a dedicated sales activity and an ongoing process will ensure that your sales team will always have quality prospects to approach, and will remove one of the main barriers to proactive sales activity – “I don’t know who to approach.”
We are really proud to announce the launch of the Superior Sales Disruption Podcast.
It is an industry first, that will highlight the stories behind some of the biggest disruptors in FMCG
In the first season, notable guests include James Lane (former Sales Director of Coca Cola), Mark Powell (Sales Director of Lion), John Donlan (Phamacare CEO) & Caroline Waite (Frucor Suntory Sales Director).
First episode will drop next Wednesday (May 1st) and it was a privilege that our media partner Retail World announced this on their platform https://retailworldmagazine.com.au/superior-sales-to-launch-weekly-podcast
If you want your Sales team to Gamify it’s performance please contact us at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
Next week we are going to delve deeper into the elements of Creating The Game.
If you are looking at running a Sales Game workshop either email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org OR dig for more information at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/workshops/
At Superior Sales we build programmes leveraging all the core drivers of capability – organisation, people, process and culture, not just skills. Refer to our white paper at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/whitepaper/
At Superior Sales our capability experts work extensively with companies to equip sales teams, and indeed the whole organisation, to deliver a better customer experience. Please get in touch at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
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