Published by : Eric Dionne
Selling products and services in markets that are stagnating or highly influenced by seasonal cycles may lead us to believe that there are no more growth opportunities. However, it is essential to "think outside the box" to allow expansion into new markets that you had not initially considered, especially if those in which you are established are saturated.
Here are some tips to help you identify and succeed in new markets.
I was a representative for a company that was selling, among other things, high-precision GPS. However, in this field, winter was a slow time of year and I had to find a way to increase our sales despite the season.
I took time to think:
- Who else, besides my current clients, would need what I have to offer?
- How does my product help my current clients? What problems does it solve for them?
- What are the benefits for my current clients from using my product?
- Which life can my product change apart from the typical customers in our industry?
I thought of the workers who work in large-scale landscaping, such as in municipal parks, for example. I knew they had to work with extremely precise architectural plans of vegetation. Although my main clients were mostly surveyors or civil engineering contractors, I thought my GPS could be very profitable for large park landscaping.
I was already used to consulting public tenders when I jumped at the opportunity to call a person who had just landed a contract in the winter for a park landscaping project. I asked him: Do you currently face issues with your work?
After listening carefully to my prospect, I targeted his needs more precisely and planned a demonstration of the product adapted to his intended use. I then closed my first sale in this field, followed by several others during the same winter and spring. All these sales involved different people who would not have thought, until I approached them, that my product could have helped to facilitate their work and bring them very significant productivity gains.
Having a strong knowledge of your product
Above all, it is about understanding the full range of functionalities of your product. At this stage, it may be useful to make a list of each of them and describe the uses for which these functions can be used. It is likely that your marketing department has already done this work to some extent.
Typically, target customers are those who would need everything our product has to offer. However, a customer could use only one or two features of the product, but reap very significant benefits. In other words, even if people only use one percent of the product's capacities, the product has positive effects on 100% of their work.
If we take a computer as an example, we know it is an essential tool for most workers today. However, its use varies depending on who is using it. For example, some use it mainly for research, others for video editing and others for developing applications with very specific software. A product can therefore be purchased for its entire offer, or for certain specific functions that interest the buyer.
Targeting potential clienteles
Here comes into play your ability to observe and to question yourself about the environment. You must be able to imagine your product in the hands of someone who is not in a typical market segment. Do you know of any problems to be solved that are specific to other industries?
Go back to your list where you have formed function-use associations. Are there any needs that could be met by what is on your list? If the answer is yes, you probably found a potential market to develop.
To help you answer this question, here is a list of questions to ask yourself about your target clientele:
- What are its needs?
- What are its expectations of the product?
- What are the best ways to reach this clientele?
- What marketing strategies should you use to achieve it?
You are now ready to develop a strategic sales plan aligned with all of these considerations.
Adjusting your offer appropriately
Once you have identified new markets to develop, be sure to adapt your offer so that it is aligned with the needs of the segment. You must also adjust your sales process so that it is appropriate for the customers you want to reach.
If, for instance, your product usually requires a full day of training to understand its functions, the format and duration will have to be modified to meet the specific needs of your customers. Some will only use certain features, and it will be useful to plan the training and integration of these new resources within their organization. This way, these new users will find it easier to understand how your product helps solve their problems. It will also be important to personalize the promotional tools for the industry in which the product will be introduced.
Cover photo credit: fr.freepik.com