Sales & Marketing Programs
Market segmentation, target customer identification and needs analysis, sales management, bridging the communication gap between sales and other corporate functions, and developing and driving the forecast, are all key elements to any sales and marketing program.
The assumption in the development of a proactive sales and marketing program is that the company has a strategic plan, or a least a good handle on its relative position in their target markets compared to competition.
This program explores several key elements that need to be addressed when considering a proactive market penetration program.
- Competitive Analysis and SWOT – Most companies want to grow and, unless your targeted market segments are growing at a rapid pace, real corporate growth must come at the expense of competition’s market share. A proactive primary demand development program cannot be developed in the absence of competitive information. When taking inventory of a company’s SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) the listed items in each of these four categories cannot be viewed mutually exclusive of these traits for a company’s competitors.
- Customer Rationalization – The company’s current customers associated with each market segment will be analyzed based on a sales Pareto and with respect to their strategic significance to the segment being served. Not all customers are beneficial to a company. In many cases, the servicing of large numbers of small or non-strategic customers can drain the lifeblood out of a company, diminishing its ability to effectively support a proactive market penetration program.
- The Communication Gap between Sales and Other Corporate Functions – In many cases the sales function does not communicate well with other functions within the organization. Having the sales function implement a market penetration program in an organized and structured manner is one of the real challenges of any organization. While sales can be well intentioned, the sales department usually lacks the passion to both initiate and sustain the real behavior change necessary to coordinate the required corporate initiatives needed to optimize the :Customer Experience”. Methods will be explored to improve communications between sales and other corporate functions.
- Target Customer Identification and Analysis – How are target customers identified, qualified and prioritized? What market research vehicles are available that will allow companies to implement a successful secondary market research program?
- Direct Sales vs. Commissioned Representative – While independent commissioned representatives can be the least expensive way to reach a target market, finding the right family of reps is most challenging. In general, representatives are difficult to manage and rarely are receptive to any type of formal reporting or structured management from the company.
- Customer Needs Analysis – Any primary demand development program most be focused around the satisfaction of customer needs within each marker segment. While one might argue that customer needs are generic, each market segment needs to be evaluated to ensure that any needs specific to a targeted market segment are identified.
Assuming a balanced playing field, customers will make decisions based on their confidence that the company will supply goods and/or services that will meet, or exceed their needs. Having a thorough understanding of the target customer needs and, better yet, measurements with respect to the company’s performance on each of the listed needs will be a great tool for lowering the barriers of resistance that will be presented by the target account. The goal of the target account stakeholders is to make them look good by reducing the risk of their decision. The last thing they want is issues that arise because the company cannot deliver on its promised value proposition.