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You’re business is running, you have a great offering and now you’re ready to go after opportunities. Now… where do you start and which market do you go after? Here are a few suggestions (DO’s and DON’Ts) as you move forward.

DO – Evaluate your Sales Funnel for Intelligence
Assuming you have a little sales traction, look at your sales history and where most of your customers or prospects have come from – what are the top industries and segments where you have buyers and how have you reached them? Now ask yourself, with this intelligence, if you have done all you can to gain market share by leveraging your customer base as references and by creating messages that demonstrate you understand the industry and their requirements. The key is to dominate a market segment, gain credibility there, and then go after adjacent or follow-on markets thereafter.

DO – Understand Buyer Types
Using some “Crossing the Chasm” principles, if you know your buyer type, it will tell you where you are before, in, or after the Chasm and what features to push at that point. For example, visionaries and early adopters of technology look for cool new technology and pragmatist buyers look for a more complete offering that is proven. This means within your larger market, you must also understand which buyers are interested in the adoption of your type of offering so your message to them is in alignment with their expectations.

 

DON’T – Just Follow the Money
I have seen companies choose their target markets based on top-down statistics from analyst reports and the Internet. Big opportunity numbers can look great on paper and you may even believe you can grab a significant piece of the pie however, it doesn’t always mean this is the best market to go after. Ask yourself the following questions: does this market want/need your product and is there a strong fit? It pays to do research and have interviews with potential prospects to really know their business, how they buy, what they buy and what is important to them. If you don’t know the answers to these questions before picking a market, the overall value of it may have hidden consequences.

DON’T – Lose Sight of your Focus
It’s hard to say “no” to prospects that have projects dangling in front of you. There’s the bulls eye concept that still holds true today. Your target market is in the middle. Stragglers will come along who take you away from the target asking you to do things that fall outside your core focus. I have seen companies take any project that comes their way and it can drive technical people crazy with new features being added that take your roadmap all over the place. If a project is a little outside your target but, still fits your roadmap – it may make sense to take it. But, if it de-focuses your resources and product people away from delivering solutions or a market you are close to capturing, think twice before saying “yes.”