Being as relevant as possible to potential clients is a core component of business development. No matter how compelling your proposition, if you don’t take the time to think about what a specific person might be interested in, then you’re not likely to be winning new business with your dream brands anytime soon.
Taking new business to the next level requires you to know how and when to engage a singular contact, rather than selling everything to anyone who will listen. So how do you do that?
Firstly, understand who your key audience segment is
When it comes to identifying the right type of people to be speaking to in an organisation, it is easy to begin reeling off a long list of job titles that could potentially buy your services. If you’re a research agency it might be marketing director or head of data, whereas for a digital agency, it might be head of digital or CTO.
To better define who your key audience is, and who is most likely to buy and work with you, it’s important to take this a step further. A good place to start is to think about your current clients. Thinking about who you currently work with on projects, who engaged you initially and who you report into should highlight which individuals you should be targeting.
Secondly, once you’ve identified the type of role you’re best placed to target, you should begin to consider the job title in depth
To really get into your target’s shoes, you need to ask yourself some questions about their role. This could include looking at their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to get an idea of what they say about themselves. From there you can dive a bit deeper, think about what they do on a day-to-day basis, who they report into, the pressures in their job role and where they would need any external help. All of these will help you understand their job, what they’re going through and how and why they might need your services.
Thirdly, look at your proposition and how it can flex and change to meet the demands of your ideal audience
Break your proposition down by mapping out everything you do and think about what is most relevant to them. For example, there may be case studies, processes or thought leadership that might be particularly relevant to the prospects role or current challenges. The key is to think how your agency will answer the prospects’ needs. Don’t simply say what you’ve done and hope it fits with them. Do some research into their role and what they’d like to hear about and you’ll probably find you get more traction, better leads and more fruitful conversations…not bad eh?
Lastly, practise this across the sales process
The process isn’t only applicable to drumming up new business. It will also give you a helping hand when it comes to developing your existing accounts. By understanding the individual on the other side of the table you’ll have an extra edge in any business meeting. Understanding the context of the meeting from both agency and client side by thinking about questions such as what their day has been like, their recent business activity and their role at the company might give you an idea of how you should approach the meeting. By doing this you’re likely to build a better rapport, trust with that individual and ultimately have a better relationship.
Peter Barton, account manager, The Future Factory