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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.