How To Identify Your Target Market With Three Simple Data Points

Part 2

As B2B marketers, business developers, and salespeople, it’s our responsibility to keep the sales pipeline full of prospects. This is no easy feat and takes a lot of hard work. When the flow of word-of-mouth leads and referrals runs dry, where do you go? How do you define your target market and find businesses that can become your future prospects?

Last week, we discussed the 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 Starting Point #1 sounds like a fit for you, go back and read this post.

Maybe you’re just starting out. Or maybe your goal is to grow by breaking into a new segment. If so, Option 2 is for you. Arguably, this route can feel very intimidating. But, if you apply the same three data points we reviewed last week, geography, industry, and size, you can easily conquer identifying your target market.

Here’s how to use geography, industry, and size when you’re starting from scratch.

  1. Geography – can be defined by state, city, county, zip code, or even neighborhood
    • When you’re starting with a clean slate, it is easy to think “everyone is my prospect”. And while that might be the case, it is not an attainable lead generation tactic. You need to have a starting point, or an “A List”. If you put your blinders on and start thinking realistically, geographically, where will your first buyers come from? Often, they come from your own backyard – or neighborhood, county, city, state, etc.
  2. Industry
    • Start by filtering out industries you know you do not want to work inside of – examples include competitors and non-fits. For example, if you’re a business banker, you would want to filter out other banks.
    • Next, brainstorm the industries that are good-fits. This is where you’ll start finding your target industries. For example, if you sell industrial kitchen equipment, you will want to include industries such as restaurants, hotels, senior living facilities, hospitals, etc.
  3. Size – can be defined by employee count, revenue ranges, or physical square-footage
    • This is where you begin zeroing in and really start identifying your target market. There are multiple ways to define the size of a company – depending on your product or service, we suggest using either employee count, annualized revenue, or square-footage – sometimes, a combination of the three. For example, if you sell on-site fueling services, there’s probably a minimum number of gallons you want to fill on each site – you can use employee count to gauge the number of cars on site, which will give you an approximate number of gallons. Or, if you’re a commercial roofer, you would look at square-footage to determine buildings that have roofs that are in the size-range you want to do business with.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or have hundreds of existing customers, you can identify your target market. By using geography, industry, and size, you will be well on your way to your next selling opportunity!

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.  

Dunlap Develops the Future of Business

Written by Audrey Tuttle

The future of the business world ultimately lies within the hands of our current generation of college students, and Dunlap Marketing is doing its part in guiding these individuals to a successful future. Our summer internship program has created an opportunity for these ambitious individuals to work first hand with the leadership team and staff at Dunlap Marketing. The five-year program is moving into its second month of operation this summer, and these five college students could not be happier to continue getting their feet wet within the field.

Our interns have built upon their prior knowledge of business and have gained the skills that are critical to have in your tool box before taking the big step of earning a job after college. They have gained experience in cold calling, lead generation, telemarketing, marketing through social media, data research, B2B operations, and much more. Additionally, through the weekly breakout sessions with Mike Dunlap and Kaitlin Dunlap Cuevas, the interns have gained expertise on the ins and outs of being successful in the work force.

Of course, these statements can only be backed with a fun Q&A with the interns…

What work you have been doing at Dunlap Marketing?

“Making phone calls to capture data, working with other employees on campaigns, acquiring new clients for businesses.” Grant Haney, Texas A&M University, Finance

 “I have had the opportunity to build upon my communication skills through cold-calling and acquiring important information for databases. My other work responsibility has allowed me to expand my creativity as it involves creating and scheduling all social media posts for the company and writing company articles.” Audrey Tuttle, Texas Tech University, Marketing

What skills have you developed while working at Dunlap?

“Through my internship at Dunlap Marketing, I have enhanced my communication skills through phone calls and learned how to be persistent when making sales calls. I have developed a better sense of self-motivation and worked on adapting to whatever campaign I am assigned to.” Grace Mosby, The University of Texas at Austin, Business Major

“Some skills I have developed while working at Dunlap are spreadsheet organization and navigation, phone call communication skills, and more effective time management.” Addi Barrett, Belmont University, Commercial Music/Songwriting

            What exciting things our interns have to say about their internship experience! Don’t worry, we have more responses where that came from! Check out next week’s article for a part two of the intern’s Q&A. You won’t want to miss it.

Six Steps to Redefine Your Target Market

Who is Your New “Best” Customer?

What to do when your current customers are negatively impacted by the economic state and they no longer need or can afford your services

Between oil prices and the pandemic, some businesses have been turned upside down.  Our best customers are no longer our best customers, they have been greatly impacted by either or both of these major economic bombs.  For our businesses to survive, we now have to figure out how to identify a new target market, also known as our best prospects and customers.

We will be discussing in detail the six steps to redefine your target market. Those steps consist of identifying second and third tier prospects and customers, creating your list, researching industry classifications, identifying patterns, researching similar companies that match patterns, and building a list based on research findings.

Let’s start by thinking about who our second or third best customer was prior to the drop in oil prices or the pandemic.  In doing this, focus on who these customers are by identifying what industries they might be in. For example, many of our customers are in different industries and are B2B with us as we perform marketing research services for them.  This exercise is not impactful if all of your best customers are inside the same industry.  Think in terms of “best customers” by different industry types.

My suggestion is to look into your current customer list and flag those second and third tier customers, ideally less impacted by our current state of the economy.  Once flagged, create a list of these accounts and include their address, city, and state.  With this information you are able to research their industry classification.  Document industry classification for each and you might start seeing a pattern of industry segments.  It is helpful but not critical to see patterns.

If you’re starting to see a pattern that you trust; next, think about refining your new target market.  Most common ways to refine include adding annual revenue and/or employee counts into the equation.  Geography might also be helpful.  Once you have captured all the necessary data, your final step will be to match other companies that mirror the final product of your research.

If you do not immediately see a pattern, consider adding more customers to your research list.  Or, you might find that you have a broader profile of customers.  When this is the case, often it becomes helpful to tighten up your requirements by making sure other elements are included in the search.  Often these include annual revenue, number of employees and geography, the same as above.  These elements are important in broad profiles because they allow you to make best efforts at zeroing in on your potential customer a bit more.

The final step is to build a new list of potential prospects based on the research work just done.  There are several list tools available to do this or Dunlap Marketing will be happy to do it for you.  The result is you have a spreadsheet of new prospect companies.  Now its time to reach out and promote the message of who you are and why these prospects should consider your products or services.  At this point you have adjusted your business based on world events, and you are on your way to making new “best” customers.