How To Identify Your Target Market With Three Simple Data Points

Part 1

Wouldn’t it be great if word-of-mouth and referrals were the only leads our businesses ever needed to survive?! Unfortunately, we know that in the business-to-business world, it’s just not feasible for a business to survive only on inbound inquires. As B2B marketers, business developers, and salespeople, we must put in a fair amount of elbow-grease to generate a flow of interest; in other words, it takes a lot of time and effort to ensure our pipelines stay full.

The responsibility of keeping a pipeline full of prospects is no easy feat. There is a world filled with companies that could be your future buyers. Where do you start? How do you identify the businesses that are your target market?

There are two ways to approach this question – the method that will be the best fit for your company depends on your starting point.

  • Starting Point #1: You have a list of current and/or past customers AND you want to continue selling to customers who are similar.
  • Starting Point #2: You are starting from scratch. This means, you do not have a list of current and/or past customers OR you have a list, but you do not want to reach this group, instead, you want to target a new segment.

If you are beginning at Starting Point #1, to identify the businesses that are your target market, you will do an exercise called “mirroring”. In databasing, mirroring is when you use a current database to create a brand-new database with records that have similar qualities – like you’re creating a “mirror image” of the current database.

Essentially, mirroring a database is taking an existing database and making a second that has the same (or very similar) criteria, to include additional records. This is a great way to grow in the same vertical. To create the highest quality mirrored list possible, you need to define three critical data points – geography, industry, and company size.

  1. Geography – can be defined by state, city, county, or zip code
    • Where are these customers located? Is their location a relevant part of their buying process?  
  2. Industry
    • Are there similar industries that your customers fall into? Maybe you have a large portion of customers who are in the manufacturing industry. Look for trends and take note of them.
  3. Size – can be defined by employee count, revenue ranges, or physical square-footage
    • Again, trends are important to note here. Think outside of the box when it comes to the size of your customers. They might vary in the number of employees they have, but maybe their annualized revenues fall into similar ranges.

After you have gathered intel from these three data points, you will have the information needed to create your mirrored list. If you have experience building databases, rock’n’roll! If not, find a trustworthy provider, such as Dunlap Marketing, that can build the database for you. When your database is built, we always suggest going back to scrub it for duplicate records, current clients, etc. Once scrubbing is finished, you will be left with a brand-new list of prospects that fall in your target marketing.

If you want to identify your target market, but you don’t have a current database to use for mirroring, Starting Point #2 is where you’ll begin. Check back next week for a guide on how to identify your target market from scratch.  

How COVID Has Impacted Connecting With Decision Makers

Thoughts from Mike Dunlap, President of Dunlap Marketing

Though very necessary, we all know that hunting for new business is challenging.  And, it became more challenging with the pandemic.  One of the biggest obstacles is the added dynamic based on remote working.  Often with prospecting, getting past the gatekeeper or auto-attendant and to the correct decision-maker is the first big step.  However, with the pandemic, we now frequently find out that the decision-maker is working from home.  Some phone systems are advanced enough to transfer the call to a cellphone or house office; however, other systems are not capable of doing the transfer.

If you agree that prospecting is important and it needs to continue, how do you handle this new layer of challenge?  In our office, we have learned that when you learn the decision-maker is working remotely, about 80% of the time when you ask, you are given a way to connect with the person.  The key is, you have to ask. Yes, it takes more legwork, more time, and a few more call attempts are added to the process. But ultimately, you are able to establish a conversation.

We have also learned that about 50% of the time, we are unaware of being transferred to a remote office.  With all calls we make, one-third of the time the decision-maker is remote, the company is unwilling to provide us with contact information.  In these instances, we become more reliant on voicemail and email communications.  During the pandemic, we find ourselves using voice mail and email as a way to at least get our clients’ names in front of prospects.  The good news is since COVID, we have seen an improvement in prospects responding to voicemails and emails.

Success Story

Two months ago, an account representative for one of our clients sold an account that represents more than 50% of his yearly quota.  It was a huge success.  In reviewing the history of the prospect that included multiple years of tracking, we learned that the decision-maker was working remotely because of COVID.  The best we were able to do was leave voicemail messages for her.  We also followed up with periodic emails. Then, she finally took our call.  The timing became right for her, the appointment was set, and within 45 days the account was sold.

Three Things a Global Pandemic Has Taught Me About Business (And Life in General)

From the perspective of a 30-year-old

Hi, I’m Kaitlin. If you have worked with Dunlap Marketing in the past, chances are we have met. You can often find me at Dunlap Marketing working on business development, project management, and being a “sponge” (learning as much as I can about our business and how to lead a successful company).

You see, I’m 30-years-old and have a unique gig – for the past six years, I have worked for my dad, Mike Dunlap (you guessed it, as in the Dunlap behind Dunlap Marketing). I feel it would be careless of me to not be as “sponge-y” as possible during this time in my career.

While I was lying in bed last night, I could not stop thinking about how I want to be a “sponge” now more than ever. We each have our own perspective on how COVID-19 has affected our personal jobs, the businesses we work for, and the economy in general. I hope I can learn from what I’ve seen Dunlap Marketing, our customers, our prospects, our country, and our world go through these past few months – and what we will continue going through for the foreseeable future.

At this point, the pandemic has taught me THREE things about business:

  • People are good – For me, it’s easy to get sucked into negative media coverage that portrays people as “not good”. However, I find reassurance when I remember this batch of “not good” people are the minority. The majority of people in our communities are kind, loving, and thoughtful. In business, it is also important to keep in mind the notion that “people are good”. Remember, now more than ever, we all have lives outside of work. If you have a coworker, client, or vendor who is taking out a bad mood on you, try to approach the situation with grace. You do not know what is happening in their personal life. We all handle stress, uncertainty, and personal issues differently. More times than not, people are good – inside and outside the business world.  
  • The importance of a solid foundation – We have all watched companies, big and small, go through layoffs, struggle to keep the lights on, and some even making the tough decision to permanently close their doors. The Coronavirus does not discriminate – all businesses are experiencing impacts from its wrath. One similarity I’ve noticed in businesses who are withstanding the virus is: they have a strong foundation. The foundation I’m referring to are the leaders who have not only structured their organizations in a way that allows them to stay afloat during such miserable economic times, but who are also able to make tough, yet necessary decisions.

“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.”

Gordon B. Hinckley

  • It is okay to fall back on the basics – The basics are different for each of us. They are what feels comfortable, even during times of discomfort. In my personal life, the basics are: getting a full night’s sleep, prioritizing exercise, and spending time with my family. At work, the basics look a little differently, but provide an equal amount of comfort. Dunlap Marketing’s basics are: keeping our sales funnel full, providing high-quality appointments to our customers, and maintaining a safe, healthy work environment for our employees. These basics, along with a strong foundation, are what have provided Dunlap Marketing the opportunity not only to continue serving our clients, but also to stay in business. What are the basics in your job and at your company?

To close out, I will leave you with an action item. What is something you have learned during the pandemic? Drop your thoughts in the comments – I looking forward to the opportunity to learn from you, as well!

Dunlap Develops the Future of Business Pt2

Written by Audrey Tuttle

Last week we started the exciting piece covering our intern’s reflection on their time so far at Dunlap Marketing. Of course, we understand that one part would simply not be enough to cover the fun Q&A with our fantastic group of interns, so here we present the second part…

What is your favorite thing about working at Dunlap?

“My favorite thing about working at Dunlap Marketing is the breakout sessions that we have once a week. Some of my favorite topics have been professionalism and budgeting. These two concepts are so important because they will both be key in ensuring our success in the real world after college, but also can be carried over to my personal life!” Grace Mosby, The University of Texas at Austin, Business Major

“I have absolutely loved gaining work experience from a very intellectual leadership team. They have created a great culture and friendly work environment here at Dunlap Marketing. I really look forward to coming to the office every day and learning more from them.” Audrey Tuttle, Texas Tech University, Marketing

How has your experience been working with the leadership team at Dunlap?

“Kaitlin and Mike are both incredibly encouraging, which has helped me to feel comfortable and has been really motivating! Their care for the work and for the people at Dunlap Marketing is contagious.” Allison Holleb, Washington University in St. Louis, Psychological and Brain Sciences/Political Science

“Mike and Kaitlin have been so great to work with, they are very helpful and accommodating. Any time I have a question, they are quick to help, and are great with keeping me busy and challenged with my work. I am so grateful for the opportunity they gave me.” Grant Haney, Texas A&M University, Finance

Is there anything that you have learned here that will be beneficial in your future within the business world? If so, what is it?

“At Dunlap, I have learned a lot about setting individual and realistic professional goals for both short and long periods of time. I think this will help me a lot in the business world by preparing me to set expectations for myself and others that are attainable and push me to work harder at the same time.” Addi Barrett, Belmont University, Commercial Music/Songwriting

“The biggest thing that I have learned at Dunlap Marketing is the importance of continually seeking out opportunities to learn from those around you, whether it’s from people within your own organization or from people you meet through networking!” Allison Holleb, Washington University in St. Louis, Psychological and Brain Sciences/Political Science

These students learn a lot within the classrooms of their renown universities, but there is only so much you can learn in the classroom setting. It takes hands on experience in the work force to truly grasp the knowledge of the corporate world. The Dunlap Marketing team thoroughly enjoys watching this bright group of students excel at putting their classroom knowledge to the test in real-life work experiences. We are proud to be part of our interns continued growth and anxiously await to see the impact they will have on the business world.