Your next job is to determine precisely where you can have the biggest impact and where the maximum return on investment will be for you, your product and your business. Remember your time and effort is as much an investment as any financial input. Break this down into the following sections:
1. Prospect list (with sub-sectors if possible)
- Revenue potential
- Appropriate timing
- Cultural/Business/Strategic fit
The combination of these will help prioritise prospects, enabling you to truly focus on the buyers that are going to be most receptive, have active challenges and can generate the most revenue for you.
This is your initial stab at which companies you might be able to sell to. In some companies this may have already been defined for you, in which case feel free to skip to the next section. However in a lot of cases this list may be incomplete, may be out of date, may be missing key pieces of information or may simply not exist, in which case it is important you start here. In all cases, your company or your predecessor may not have had the advantage of this guide to help them formulate this list and so it would be worth your time applying your newfound knowledge to creating that list yourself.
Having already determined your sector and sub-sector, as well as a handful of major players, it is now time to determine precisely which companies you could target.
The next section will help you prioritise those targets so for the time being, focus on just getting these lists together.
Include a list of 25 companies per sub-sector, plus a list of innovators trying to break in to the market. Determine whom the top people are at each company, determine the rough financials and areas of operation (customer type, product and geographic) alongside any other key people that might be relevant to you.
Don’t be afraid to actually do this by talking to people.
Case Study: Where is the Return On Investment
For your prospect list, I recommend using a straightforward grid to begin with. Once you have all your information you can start putting together more detailed information but for now, use this as your working grid. Once you have determined your priorities based on this grid, you can expand.
Use the following headings and complete your grid based on your research:
- Sector (this should be consistent)
- Sub-sector (if applicable)
- Key Senior Staff
- Key Target Staff
See it doesn’t need to be complicated. The aim here is for you to learn as much as possible about your prospective customers and organise your thoughts.
This is where the real heavy lifting comes in. Put as much effort in here as possible. You won’t be able to do this perfectly and there is a lot of art involved (as opposed to strict science) but by the end of this section you want to have a feel for where your time and effort is best spent.
For each company, you need to determine the following factors and rate them on a simple scale, 1-5:
1.Revenue potential: if you successfully sold your product to this company, how much money would it make you on day 1, day 366 and day 731? The more money you make for your company, the higher the score. Only you can decide what ‘a lot of money is’ and only you can determine what timeframe is acceptable.
2.Appropriate time: Is it possible to judge if now is the right time for the company to buy? If so, do it.
3.Availability: How easy is it to get your foot in the door? Do you already have contacts there or is there an area of the business already working with you in some way? Are they avid bloggers? Do they present at seminars or sponsor industry events? Are they active in industry associations? If yes to all of the above, then it is likely you will have an easier time approaching them.
4. Cultural/Business/Strategic fit: This is a tough one to judge and a lot of the time you can only get an understanding of this once you have had some exposure to the company and people around it. This is why it is important to get out of the building and talk to people.
5. Track-record: Do they have other suppliers out there already? How long are their relationships? Do they actively invest?
Now score each company on each of your lists and prioritise based on the totals. Check to make sure it is sane (which it should be).
Now for the final step: defining your approach
So you know the market, you know the players and you know whom you want to approach. What do you need to determine before you actually do it? We discuss outreach in detail in the next section, but first we need to focus on a step just before that: how your approach is going to be constructed.
For your top prospects, you need to determine:
Add your answers to the information you have already gathered and then produce a one-page document per prospective customer. This is your go-to sheet on the customer that you can refer to at any point. As you work through the rest of your process, remember that any additional information you discover must be reflected in this document.
You have one final task before going out to approach your buyer. Try to identify who the secondary stakeholders will be. I define these as individuals who will not have a stake in the day-to-day of what you will be offering but will be involved somewhere in the approval and buying process. These may include legal counsel, finance directors, technical support teams, information security managers, data privacy controllers amongst others. You will more than likely have to talk to and get approval from each of these individuals at a later point in your deal so trying to understand who they are now will save you time and effort later. Even just understanding that they have people fulfilling these roles enables you to more effectively plan later on. This will be key when it comes to ‘deleveraging’ the deal for your buyer later.
Now you are ready to pitch.
Check out our Go-To-Market Advantage Plan for a quick reference guide on this, then move on to the next step in your sales process - outreach. Alternatively, contact us and we'll figure it out together.