Identifying target industries can be an intimidating task if you don't perform extensive analysis and research that gives quantifiable reasons to support and drive your lead generation process. Ask yourself whether the businesses within this industry are ones you may have worked with before, or perhaps you have researched them in the past and discounted them for reasons that are now irrelevant?
Ensure you take stock of ground you may have already covered. The sales landscape is one that constantly changes and therefore your strategy to approach a variety of industries should reflect that.
Qualifying & Quantifying
To be able to successfully assess whether you have the ability to add value to the industry it may be helpful to assess what you can deliver as a supplier.
- Does this sector have a newly emerging need for your product or service?
- Study core industries that will be secure clients when you close sales with them.
- Reflect on any past business or clients within that industry; what was successful as well as what wasn't to enable you to re-target.
- Is there any topical news within that sector that indicates investment or growth which would create opportunities for your sales team to exploit?
- Who are the sector market leaders and why? Are there any lessons from their approach you can utilise?
- Gather enough data to enable you to correlate sector activity with ones you currently sell to, or other similar areas and compare peaks and troughs and what the reason is (seasonality, consumer requirement etc.)
Next, you might need to decide on how many industries you want to try to break into. Choosing more than one is doable, if resource allows, but don't overstretch your team. Focused campaigns often gain better results than unstructured efforts and this is no coincidence.
Trend AnalysisOnce you have identified the industry or industries that you are going to try to break into, utilise your initial research (bulleted above) to target them at the correct time. This could involve considering when their financial year end is, to either get a piece of remaining budget or to contact the company before they've set budgets without involving your organisation.
Another point to consider on timing is to ensure you know and understand where the highs and lows are in different markets. Using your researched data, you can map the times for key purchasing and ensure that lead generation happens around relevant times for each specific industry.
Don't miss out. Know your industries and their key purchase times. Make sure that lead generation happens when people are buying.
Analysis, as with every step of the lead generation process, is important. You can't expect to excel within sales if you don't take stock occasionally. Communicating which contact routes are working in certain industries will influence future decisions as well as potentially being the key to acquiring even more leads, so is definitely worth the time and effort.
Similarly to location and business targeting, there is only ever so much research that can be done. Mathematically, the odds of receiving more business the more industries you prospect are indeed higher, but a strategic approach is a more effective method.
Tangible InsightsKnowing your ideal clients and which industries you can work within are key to prospecting high quality leads and not wasting time with irrelevant ones. Once you have identified this, you can specify location and businesses with more knowledge, enabling more productive selling and lead generation.
When looking to create leads within new industries you should:
- Reassess your past efforts in the industry before launching your product or service into a new business. This will enable you to see whether they are worth approaching or how to alter the angle you take when contacting them.
- Perform extensive industry, competitors and market research. Similarly to business and location targeting, rate the industries according to size, turnover and potential (i.e. any significant investments or growth that are tipped to occur in the sector).
- Utilise media and social to access the decision makers within those industries to get a feel for the requirement for your product or service.