Wherever business development initiatives aren’t delivering ROI in the form of increased revenue, the problem often boils down to missing the target more often than not.
It is easy to do.
An entire industry has a vested interest in convincing you that getting your name out there amounts to smart business development. Once you make this leap it is tempting to buy the ads, sign up for the sponsorships, get the copy points and colors just right on your website, catalogue every capability…and then wait for the market to beat a path to your door.
If neither time or budget is an issue, and assuming your visibility campaign in some way differentiates you from everyone else — this might work.
But odds are you’ll over spend, waste time and miss connecting with any real targets.
Is Your Strategy Designed To Grow Revenue?
Don’t misunderstand. Broad based visibility campaigns serve a critical purpose in professional service marketing…especially when it comes to seeding an expanding network. But for most lawyers, accountants, consultants and the like, this is not where revenue growth begins.
So if year-after-year you’re pouring an appropriate percentage of gross into efforts intended to generate profitable growth, but year-in-and-year-out growth eludes you, let’s talk about what it takes to identify and connect with targets.
Four Keys to Smart Targeting.
1. Test your definition of the “S” word.
All targets are not created equal. And while broadcasting your story to everyone in the marketplace is a seductive thought, strategic targeting does (at least) three things:
- it defines more than a universe. Hitting the business development bullseye requires the kind of specificity that provides a laser-like focus for all efforts. Lists, markets, even an industry will need to be narrowed (more on this in #2).
- it is based on an identified need or opportunity. Beware the hammer-seeking-a-nail or silver-bullet trap. Even the most creative or eloquent marketing message is of little value if it doesn’t address a need, challenge or problem.
- it factors the economic realities of the market, so that you’re not investing in the pursuit of unprofitable prospects.
2. Think names.
Identifying an industry is better than having no target at all. A specific company name can be a bit more helpful. But when it comes to growing a practice, a person almost always makes the hiring decision. This individual is your ultimate prospect.
While it may be necessary to start at a macro level, smart targeting is about identifying the right individuals and doing whatever it takes to get face-to-face. This is where you should invest in creating visibility.
3. Remember the 3 types of targets
The smart target list includes three categories:
- individuals able to hire you
- individuals who, based on a relationship with one making hiring decisions, will refer or recommend you;
- individuals who will advise (coach) you and/or provide the business intelligence that will insure you connect with the ultimate prospect.
4. Stay focused on the target.
Building professional equity with the right individual(s) requires time, tenacity and vision. If you’ve done the strategic work, don’t talk yourself out of a pursuit prematurely. Resist the temptation of shiny new opportunities to “get your name out there.” Distraction is the cause of complete misses.
It is a safe bet multiple new silver bullets will come along promising great return in exchange for your budget. You can choose to keep writing checks, and hope to end up in the right place at the right time; or, you can begin with intentional target identification — and finally experience a growth in revenue in exchange for your investment.
(I work with professional service providers who want to grow a seven-figure PLUS business. If you’d like to schedule a low key, no obligation discovery call, click here.)