The East Woods are under quarantine and the USDA is busily searching for the dreaded Asian long horned beetle. This invasive pest is wiping out ash, maple, and birch trees and could cause havoc in the environment as well as the dependent industries. Thus, we have 5 forest inspectors out back looking at every single tree in the woods for signs of this dreaded pest. The good news is that the boundary of the bugs’ excursions is well defined, and they are making progress at eradicating it.
Having this clearly scribed area to target is key to their ultimate success. Similarly businesses need definite lines of where to prospect for business and where to avoid wasting time and resources. Any fuzziness on this can lead to a host of problems such as:
- Sales frustrated by poor quality leads
- Marketing spending lots and getting little in return
- Product development unhappy with requests for special features outside of current offerings
- Competition is unusually tough and tends to win more that you
So to minimize these problems, targeting the products and services at the right types of people is often the bedrock upon many other activities can build. Here are a couple areas that can help.
- Instead of looking at markets and companies, think about individual customers and their specific situations. What exactly are they struggling with today?
- Once you identify some problems that your offerings can fully satisfy, then be sure there are enough of those folks to satisfy your expected sales volumes.
- Be frank about your strengths and weaknesses against your competition. We all want domination but honestly communicating this to the folks in the field can go a long way towards finding the right customers.
- Finally make your boundaries black and white for target vs non-target customers. You can always move the boundary or allow a certain amount of missionary work, but vague boundaries can promote some of the problems above.
So be like the USDA and draw your target maps with bold lines. And then you can scour every tree in the forest and be sure it is effort well spent and likely to have a positive impact.