In today’s low growth world, B2B companies need to be looking for those market segments and niches that are growing faster than the overall economy.
‘Going where the growth is’ offers our companies the promise of increasing sales to growing customers that are usually less price focused than customers in low or no growth markets.
So, how do we find these market niches so that we can focus our sales and marketing resources on these higher potential customers and markets?
1. Read and Research
This is the traditional way that our companies and salespeople locate growing markets. By scanning through trade journals, reading the local newspapers and local business journals, attending local association meetings, we can keep abreast of what is happening in our local market and industry. This ‘read and research’ works best when all sales-focused employees are spending time (even 30 minutes a week) following local and industry issues and trends and sharing these insights with one another and their managers.
2. Ask Vendors and Customers
As we meet with vendors and customers, we need to ask them where they are growing. We should ask our vendors in which product lines and industries they are experiencing increasing sales and where they are seeing increasing competition. We should ask our ask customers these same questions. In doing so, we can frame it as a win-win. We are asking about their growth prospects so that we can help them achieve their growth goals more easily.
John, thank you for your business. I wanted to ask you a question. Where in your market are you seeing increased activity and business? We would like to know so that we can work with you to ensure that we have the right products and services to help you succeed in these growing markets.
3. Analyze Our Own Data
The final way to determine growth markets is to look at the reality of what has happened at our company over the last several months.
- Which customers are buying more from us?
- Which markets that we serve are buying more from us?
- With which customers and in which market areas are we seeing increasing margins?
Usually, the answer to these questions from our own data is a better guide to where the growth is than the strategic plan that we may have hashed out in meetings 10 months ago.
By continual reading and research, asking vendors and customers, and analyzing our own data, we can determine where the growth in our business is and will be coming from. Then, we can ‘go where the growth is’ and use our limited sales and market resources where they will click the best.