This topic, from the list of Top 10 areas of improvement from the VP of Sales study for the semiconductor and component industries, is an aggregation of a number of like responses and included identifying new opportunities within current markets and identifying new markets where current success can be duplicated. I combined them together as both relate to taking advantage of information in a current CRM system to create new opportunities.

Effectively Identify New Market Opportunities

In an earlier blog, Improve Win/Loss Ratio, I discussed the Miller Heiman technique of ranking prospective accounts by key attributes derived from your most successful customers. This technique is ideal for identifying new opportunities (accounts) within current markets as well as identifying new markets. Having this ranking system within your CRM allows consistency of use and the ability to gain feedback and continually improve your ranking system. Once key attributes have been determined for what makes up an ideal customer and/or market for your product or service, these attributes can be utilized as references for search criteria for new customers or markets.

There are a number of services that can be utilized to search companies by attributes such as Hoovers, One Source, InsideView and social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Examples of search criteria can include company revenue, number of employees, growth rates, end markets, and competitors. The resultant list is ranked and a priority list developed. Done properly, the highest ranked customers will provide the greatest opportunities for success.

These same techniques are carried over to market analysis. What are the key attributes of markets you are successful in? Are they new markets with little competition or mature markets with high competition? Are they markets experiencing high growth or steady decline? Markets experiencing a growth in the number of suppliers or supplier mergers? Coupled with your known value propositions (why you win), your account profiles, and market profiles, you can more easily identify markets where you may be successful.

CRM usage is critical in measuring your success in individual markets and you should have market segment as a field in your opportunity tracking. Another CRM strength is tracking history: this allows you to understand your current success and how you got there. Is there a particular event that triggered higher market acceptance? How long did it take to gain market acceptance and generate revenue? These and numerous other criteria can help set expectations, model growth vs. time, and provide important point data such as trigger events. As I highlight to my customers, these are tools/techniques used to help provide better information for which decisions can be made and are not cure-alls. In the end, success, as with most things in life, is determined by effort and diligence to the task. Best of luck!

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