One of the key things that we do at VA Partners when working with clients is help them identify a B2B sales strategy and then develop the plan to attack the market. That being said, when I think about the work we do for clients and where the biggest value is, it is really helping them evolve their B2B sales strategy in real-time, quickly through the incorporation of customer feedback (or lack thereof) into the outbound sales efforts. This can include amongst other things changes in the target market through market validation efforts and changes in pricing strategy to better address the market situation.
Adjusting Your Target Market Focus
For one client in the systematic review space, based on initial indications of interest, we targeted the academic / educational market. What became apparent after a few months of engaging these prospects in meetings was that there was a lot of interest, but they had no budget and the buying cycles were prohibitively long. Once we understood that, we quickly then turned our attention to the contract research market place and are having more success engaging clients that do have budget. This market validation effort is key to success and must be done on an ongoing basis. When launching a new company or a new product there could be a number of potential target markets to address that seem good from the outside. The key is to quickly validate which ones are the best fit for you. In many cases, the only way to do that is to systematically try each one.
For another client that has a tool addressing electrical safety in the workplace we worked with the CEO to narrow down potential target markets quickly. What was interesting about this solution is that there are many for profit companies that profess “safety” first but the reality quickly dawned on us that that is only true if their bottom line is impacted by accidents. Otherwise, the risk of injury and preventing it was not enough to make them consider the tool.
We found out that it was government and institutional prospects that had the most interest. These organization are not profit driven and when they say “safety matters” it really does. These organizations saw the value of minimizing risk as a key driver for the tool. With that being said, we refocussed our efforts to go after a larger swath of this target market.
Reassess Your Pricing Strategy
Secondary to this market validation and target market shift, we also realized that the old pricing model that was developed over 5 years ago was not price competitive in general and it was punitive for smaller clients. After discussions, the CEO decided to make a pricing change to make the solution more accessible for smaller clients while ultimately keep the top end cost for large clients the same.
Being able to adjust your B2B sales strategy quickly is critical to success. You need to be constantly looking at ways to improve your targeting, your messaging and your pricing. Please check out more of our blogs if you are looking for additional information on sales techniques or strategy. For great insight into startup sales and marketing, feel free to sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.