It has been a heck of a year. And you cannot help but wonder what is next? As CEO, you need the ability to see danger or opportunity; you need market radar. What does that mean exactly? To simplify, market radar is a digitized segmentation analysis capability. Digitize just means setting up a process to extract useful information from data. And then distributing it to those who can use it to make great decisions and grow revenue. This article breaks down digitized market listening into 4 easy steps.
1) Determine the firmographics of the target company
The standard method here is to analyze revenue, number of employees, industry and create a fit score. This by itself is an old school approach to account segmentation. Even before the last year, it did not provide enough intelligence to make great decisions. It certainly falls short today.
Go beyond this in your segmentation analysis. Consider how well your solution will integrate with what a company already has implemented. If your product works with a CRM, you need to know if they have Salesforce or Dynamics. If you sell marketing tools, knowing which Adobe products they have will be helpful. Same thing goes for supply chain services and several more use cases.
Another best practice is to create a hierarchy of accounts. This tells you which parts of a corporation your company is selling to. And which they are not. This holistic approach alone can bear upsell, and cross-sell revenue.
2) Understand what your buyers are doing
60-70% of a sales cycle happens before the influencer or buyer wants to talk to a salesperson. The great news is you can get insight into that previously unseen part of the sales cycle. You can now see spikes in online activity that matter to you. Even in today’s remote environment, you can map the activity to a target company with 85% accuracy. To capture this information, you can use two sources.
- Leverage digital or internet data to know if targets are reading about services your business provides. Are they are searching for information about a problem you can solve?
- Understanding if a trigger has occurred can also open them to a conversation with your team. A trigger is typically a change in their company or change in leadership. This advanced market listening can be found through social listening, web scraping and other real time sources.
The intelligence in this step can trump the other categories. A company showing intent but not ‘fit’ could be a new entrant to your market. Or your fit scoring could be wrong. Either way, if they show intent, your team needs to get in touch with them right away.
Combining the intelligence from these two steps will give valuable insight. It will tell you who is likely to purchase soon. It will tell you which customers are at risk, which customers are likely to add services. It gives you a way to plan for various revenue scenarios over the next 6-12 months.
You may not be able to accurately forecast the future. But you will be able to understand the present and quickly adapt to changing conditions.
3) Use case segmentation
You now have a target market, or as some call it a SAM (serviceable addressable market). This can be leveraged to size your sales force and to help allocate dollars and people. It is also used to unify the sales and marketing go to market approach.
However, salespeople do not sell to a target market. Salespeople sell to people. For segmentation that drives actual conversations, you need to drill into a use case. We recently worked with a healthcare vendor that helps doctors losing patients to providers in big cities. Our client identifies providers 25-100 miles outside a major city. This allows a targeted value proposition to be delivered the right persona. It also enables marketing and sales to create a specific campaign to a targeted audience.
By developing 4-8 use cases you will align sales and marketing. They will align on the A tier targets, the message and size the opportunity. And by stack ranking all the use cases you will allocate resources more effectively.
4) Acknowledge the process is on-going.
These other steps are worthless as a once-a-year exercise. We entered the last year in an environment that was already rapidly changing. These changes were due to digitization, connectivity, mobility, consumerization of business and the power of computing. But the pace of change is even more accelerated now. And with the continual emergence of new technologies, more acceleration is on the horizon.
Since you need to make great decisions every day, you need the latest intelligence. Especially when it comes to segmentation analysis. The goal is to make this process scalable, and up to date. Build in several feedback loops to improve the model over time as well. This allows you to document and operationalize the collection of data, data sources, and the modeling processes.
The last critical item is to determine how the account segmentation information will be distributed and used. For example, our client, a medical device company, recently deployed segmentation through an online portal. 45 reps used it and were able to accurately target accounts and quickly build account plans. The company’s PE investor was could not have been happier with the newly implemented process.
When you arm your team with the right information and processes, you have the foundation to:
- Quickly adapt to changing market conditions
- Dynamically assign sales to focus on the right prospects
- Identify customers that are at risk for downsells, or targets for upsell or cross sell
- Make great decisions and grow revenue.
There are a lot of options when it comes to data. But with the right team, you can review what is essential. There is one thing to keep in mind though. The key is to start using the market signals all around you. And then put a process in place that will improve your market radar over time.