Get smart about your go-to-market strategy. Pick the right customers and position your brand to win will help your organization gain profitable market share without overspending in the process:
- Set the right strategy. What “slices” of the market do you want to target? Who are the right customers? What product and/or services do they need, and how does your offerings set you apart from the competition? Don’t try to chase your whole marketplace. Be focused on your ideal market slices.
- Base your decisions on facts. Understand which market segments are growing, which are cooling, and which have already peaked. This is not to say you can only chase growing market segments, but it does alter the strategies needed to win market share.
- Start with the business climate in which you are operating (e.g., demographics, per capita income, government regulations, research and development, economic cycles, etc.), and then dig into the changes, expectations and needs of customers. Since they are the ones who will be buying your products and services, find out what criteria they use to select solutions. Ask best customers about the competition and find out where your competitors excel and where there are opportunities to improve.
- Analyze where you are best-in-class. What do you do similar to your competitors, and where you need to improve?
All this comes together to create the context behind crafting your go-to-market strategy to identify which market slices you will pursue, the right customers to target, your ideal product market fit and your market differentiation.
Build a compelling story. You don’t have to be totally differentiated from your competition. The key is identifying things you currently do (or could expand) that would create more value for your customers. You need a story that explains to prospects why your solution is the right choice for their needs. Back up your story with proof (data, facts) that you really can deliver that additional value. Customers will listen.
Build your go-to-market strategy. This strategy will help you define which customers to target and connect with before a request for proposal hits the street. This is when they will be the most open to meeting with you and talking to you. You need to get in early and deep to create an advantage to win the project.
Think like the customer. What is the same, and what is different from the customer’s other needs? What is the business purpose your solution serves? Who are the key people who need to be included in the decision (Buyer personas)? What is something the customer has struggled to get others to fully focus on?
Find out what the customer wants and why it is so important. What value do you bring that the competition does not? Value, by definition, is something that a person is willing to spend extra to obtain. See if you can find something the customer values that your organization can deliver better than anybody else. Find ways to stand out and add value for your customers and build your strategy to win around that value proposition.
Align your time with your strategy. Build organizational capacity that’s centered on a key focus, such as spending time with customers in advance. Everyone is busy, so even when you do a good job of targeting specific customers, a lot of other things will be vying for their attention. The tactical things take time away from the strategic moves that are needed to put yourselves in a winning position.
Work Smarter Not Harder
You need to research markets, existing and potential customers as well as competitors more carefully. Failure to pay attention to changes in legacy markets or new opportunities could cost companies their existences. Understanding client behaviors―what makes them tick, how they make decisions, how they buy work ―has become a critical element in today’s business dealings.
So why throw millions of dollars away trying to win bids and customers? Chasing work is a necessary yet expensive proposition, but the organizations that are smart about their strategies are generally the most successful and profitable. Creating clear strategies about how you go to market, picking the right customers and positioning yourself to be competitive will help set up your organization to gain profitable market share.
Source: Cynthia Cechini Paul. “Don’t Waste Money Chasing Opportunities: Create a Winning Business Development”. FMICorp. September 2023. https://fmicorp.com/insights/quarterly-articles/dont-waste-money-chasing-opportunities-create-a-winning-business-development-strategy