Who’s Your Prospect?

By Richard Fouts | May 4, 2009 | 3 Comments

This blog is for marketing and sales people. While many of the issues we discuss apply to any marketer, we address business leaders in the technology sectors. For example:

I’m surprised by the number of marketers that tell me “everyone is a prospect” for their solution. While it may sound like a good answer, it is in fact the wrong answer. We marketers are casting a wide net in this bad economy in the hopes of keeping the pipeline full. But keep in mind, pipelines are like closets. Most of them unorganized and represent 50% junk. 

A recent study of MarketingProfs confirmed what many of us knew all along: investments in lead generation that focus on fewer segments generate higher quality and conversion rates – than those that focus on volume. And of course, to get to quality you have to hone in on those specific customer segments that align well with your solution, where you have a good story to tell. Sure, you may generate fewer leads, but you’ll generate more qualified leads (and in the end, more deals of the type you want).

One Gartner client that gets this is Lori Bush Shepard, vice president of corporate marketing at Axway.  While Axway sells horizontal solutions in things like application infrastructure and managed file transfer, it is keen on three target markets: pharma, financial services and supply chain.  Axway sells to other verticals but it has made serious investments in these three particular markets.

The argument behind the strategic decision to focus on these three markets is beyond the scope of a blogpost, but let’s just say the numbers at Axway are all good (revenue, margin and profitability are all moving in a positive direction).

For Lori, a tight segmentation strategy (and the lead generation approach that goes with it) has paid off. So what’s your story? If it’s “one size fits all”  you’re going to have a tough time getting above the market noise, made even noiser by social media.

3 Comments
  1. 5 May 2009 at 5:11 pm
    Lori Bush Shepard says:

    I’m delighted with your validation of Axway’s marketing strategy! By no means can I take all the credit, though – our vertical strategy has been developed and finessed by Axway’s global management, marketing and sales teams over several years. Congrats on the new blog – I look forward to following it!

  2. 6 May 2009 at 2:09 pm
    Shannon Williams says:

    Great post, and I think it just highlights rule one for emerging companies: Focus, focus, focus. It is very difficult to boil even a small pond.

    If you’re company is struggling with this, the Chasm Group, is a great place to get consulting support on narrowing down your focus. I used them at a struggling company a few years ago and we were able to find our sweet spot and start getting recurring sales in 2 industry verticals.

  3. 7 May 2009 at 12:43 am
    Richard Fouts says:

    I see you’re a student of Geoffrey Moore… we love that guy.

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