Situation: A company has strong technology and good top customers. However, the CEO is concerned that the company is too dependent on a few large clients. She wants to increase business among mid-tier clients. How do you expand the sales funnel?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Get very crisp in identifying who your core customer is and focus on them near term. Look at what you offer that your competition can’t match and create appealing offers for new clients.
- Simplify and clearly define your market position.
- Here’s an example: First to market with the best, smallest, fastest solution.
- This clearly defines who you are. Focus the company on delivering this.
- In each high potential market find one company to whom you can offer a significant advantage.
- Their current market position might be number 2, 3 or 4. Offer them a solution to gain an advantage on #1 and shift the playing field. This is a win-win for both you and them.
- Horizontal business expansion could be the best near-term strategy. This lets each vertical market solve their own problems of technology direction, logistics, etc. Seek customers who have the resources to manage this in their respective market places.
- Tailor contract minimums and pricing according to customer order commitments. Be willing to sacrifice price and some margin for committed purchases that match your timelines and resources.
- Buyers often overstate their anticipated needs because they don’t want to be caught with short supply.
- You can meet and promise lower prices for higher volumes because they rarely order them. However, combine this commitment with higher prices for the lower volumes that they are more likely to order.
- Look across markets and focus on promising targets.
- Use a call center to queue up prospecting telephone calls.
- Have sales people conduct scripted qualification calls with prospects by telephone.
- Only send sales people out to talk to qualified prospects. This saves travel expense and increases the productivity of in-person sales calls.