Define Your Target Market First...

Marketing and Sales strategies must be built on a fact based foundation.  We are often asked to help companies build marketing and sales plans.  We find that "Gut feels" and "Field war stories" too often are the basis for decisions involving sales coverage, manpower assignments, quota setting, advertising approaches and even new product development.  This needed foundation, built on facts, is a clear understanding of a company's target market.

The target market in its' final form, is a list (or Excel file) of the companies that are most likely to need your products or services.  These companies must be in a geography that is reachable by your sales channels.  If you rely on drawing potential customers to your location or you have a small direct sales force that rely on face to face interactions, your geography will be limited.

In addition to geography, it is important to know what other characteristics can identify companies that will be attracted to your offerings.  Many times, industry and employee size are key characteristics.  Other characteristics may be minority owned businesses or multiple site organizations.  If you can narrow your target market to law firms with 20 or more employees or firms in the medical industry (hospitals, doctors, clinics, etc.) with 5 or more employees, that reside in a three county area, you have a solid starting place for developing a marketing/sales plan.

In my next blog, I'll talk about "how" to identify your target market, how to obtain the specific company information, and finally, but most important, how to turn this data into information to begin making marketing decisions based on facts.