This is article #3 in a three part series aimed at helping companies of all types and sizes find new customers in new markets. The focus today is on Launching a successful sales & marketing campaign in new markets.
The previous two articles were:
- Identifying attractive new markets to explore: what works & why, and
- How to Identify the best prospective customers in new markets.
Take the time to read articles #1 & #2 before reading this article by going to my Manufacturing Line Blog at AllBusiness.com, http://www.allbusiness.com/manufacturing-services/4967954-1.html.
The reason your company should learn this approach is that finding new customers in new markets is a major element of any sustainable business growth strategy. However, many companies struggle with how to do this successfully and as a result they keep mining the same markets and the same customers, even if neither are profitable anymore.
Integrating Marketing & Sales Efforts
During the last 30 years of working with companies of all sizes on profitable growth and innovation, I have been amazed at how often marketing and sales functions fail to work together seamlessly. One reason for this is that many marketing groups are more interested in advertising and PR than they are in supporting practical approaches to finding new markets and new customers.
On the sales side, I have seen many sales teams functioning more as order takers than as hunters for broader market opportunities and new customers. One reason for this is that sales people typically get little support in terms of developing workable sales plans, particularly evident is a lack of market knowledge.
Many growing and successful companies have learned to integrate marketing and sales functions as two parts of a team focused at profitable sales growth. Regardless of how many people in your company are responsible for sales and marketing, the first step in integrating marketing and sales is to form a small team made of of both groups and develop a plan.
The Role of Marketing
Review the example I used in article #1, Identifying attractive new markets to explore. In this case study we used basic industrial marketing techniques to evaluate the current customers the company served in an effort to understand which markets appeared to be the most profitable and that matched up best. The existing “Most Valuable Markets” were identified, along with adjacent markets that were thought might represent new markets. These markets are:
Existing Markets with NAICS codes:
- 333132 Oil & Gas Field Equipment
- 335221 Household Cooking Appliances
- 333294 Food Processing Equipment
Adjacent Markets with NAICS codes we identified for each were:
- 333131 Mining Machinery Manufacturing or 333120 Construction Machinery
- 335222 Refrigerator & Freezer Equipment or 335224 Laundry Equipment
- 333295 Semiconductor Machinery Manufacturing
These markets all represent opportunities for sales growth. The role of Marketing is to do the following:
- Research existing and adjacent markets to find trends, market leaders, best practices, competitors and barriers to entry that might impede a plan to go after these markets
- Develop a one-page marketing strategy for each market to raise awareness of the company in each existing or new market
- Educate the sales team on the findings and the marketing strategies for each market
- Start the process to buy the most current listings of companies in each target NAICS code from Dunn & Bradstreet or another source that will provide electronic listings that can be sorted by geographical location and size
The Role of Sales
The sales team can start with the Most Valuable Customer (MVC) analysis we discussed in article #2, How to Identify the best prospective customers in new markets. The sales team should identify the characteristics of your current MVCs to use in an effort to find more customers like them. Some of these characteristics could be the following:
- Size: Total Sales & Number of Employees
- Single vs. Multiple Plants (identify how many)
- Ownership Structure: Family-Owned, Privately Held, Part of a Larger Company, Publicly Traded, etc.
- Core Values
- Low Volume to Niche Markets or High Volume to Many Markets
- NAICS or SIC codes
- Geographic Location
The sales team also should review the NAICS company data that the Marketing team developed and pick the best geographic locations for a sales effort to find new customers. This is typically where the greatest number of potential customers are located, but there could be other factors as well. Lastly, the team should segment the NAICS company listings using the MVC characteristics data they developed. This will be the target prospecting list and the goal is to find new customers like your MVCs.