“Less is More”
I was talking to the CEO of an emerging sales company a few days ago, I asked him which customers they focused on, his answer was — “everyone could benefit from our product”.
Most emerging vendors, especially their sales leaders, worry that segmentation might “limit their opportunities”, after all, if we hit everything that moves, surely, we should be able to land more deals, right? Not quite.
It is a well-known fact that emerging vendors with scarce time and resources should focus on the customers that are more likely to buy. Why? Let’s look at it from three different perspectives: marketing, product and sales.
If as a small vendor, we go to market claiming that our solution suits everyone, are customers really going to believe us? How likely are we to really understand our customers if we don’t put ourselves in their feet over and over until we understand their pain points, their industry, their wants and needs? Not very likely, I hope you will agree. If on the contrary, we focus on a specific type of customer with the same set of needs, desires and fit, as we engage with many similar customers we are more likely to understand their world and therefore, articulate a value proposition that will resonate with them; our message will be more credible, we will be able to build rapport and, our campaigns will be more effective.
Selling to different customers is also not great from a product perspective, small vendors are very sensitive to the needs of the few clients they might have and therefore, customers will have an influence on the product and the roadmap. If we end up developing products-based n the needs of wildly different customers, chances are we won’t satisfy either of them as we simply won’t have the resources to build, maintain and support products for those needs.
Finally, selling to different types of customers is not great from a sales perspective either. Focusing on disparate customers will not actually help us understand their world and relate to them, it will be quite difficult to build knowledge, for example, a library of war stories, examples where we have helped similar customers with similar needs in the past, which help build so much credibility with prospects and enable us, salespeople, to progress sales opportunities along the sales funnel. As an emerging vendor, you will want to ensure that when you hire new salespeople, they ramp up quickly, if you are selling to very different types of customers, it will be more difficult to build knowledge and expertise that new salespeople can tap into to accelerate their learning and start delivering results.
There are different techniques for defining the ideal customer. If you have already closed customers, analyse them, think about their common wants and needs and, think about why you fit together, the answer might surprise you and, will surely help you achieve more, with less.